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SBD/August 11, 2014/Events and AttractionsPrint All
The PGA of America intends to return to Valhalla Golf Club for "some of its marquee events in the future" after calling this weekend's PGA Championship a "major success," according to Justin Sokeland of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. The event, which Rory McIlroy won by one stroke over Phil Mickelson, saw "record ticket sales and attendance." That prompted PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua to say, "We have every intention to come back here with our championships. I would say it's as close to a certainty as there is. I almost can't imagine a scenario where we wouldn't bring something back." PGA of America President Ted Bishop added, "There is no question that we'll be back here again with the Senior PGA, another PGA Championship and in all likelihood down the road, another Ryder Cup." Sokeland notes the "first available slot for a return to Valhalla" for the PGA Championship would be in '21, while future sites for the Senior PGA Championship "are already scheduled through 2018." The next available Ryder Cup that could be played at the course would be in '28. Valhalla, which is owned by the PGA of America, is one of seven courses "to host three or more PGA Championships." Bevacqua said, "We've set records in ticket sales and the crowds have been terrific. We are very happy with the way things are going. You also need a city that gets it, and wants it. We've got that with the city of Louisville" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 8/11).
DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN: GOLF WORLD's Geoff Shackelford notes yesterday's final round finished in the dark after play was suspended 100 minutes due to rain, and "behind the scenes, frustration had been building over the PGA's decision to keep Sunday's starting times at 8:25am despite a forecast calling for afternoon storms." PGA of America Chief Championship Officer Kerry Haigh indicated that "no consideration was given to moving up the times because Sunday's forecast was the same as Saturday's, when little rain fell." However, there was the thought that an "epic tournament was tainted" by the decision (GOLF WORLD MONDAY, 8/11). GOLF DIGEST's Sam Weinman gave the PGA of America a "bogey" for the move. He wrote it was not that the organization "risked a Monday finish by declining to move up the tee times with dicey weather in the forecast." It instead was that the event "was decided in virtual darkness." Weinman: "The 18th hole was a fiasco, with McIlroy hitting into the group ahead in the interest of expedience, and then needing to navigate a difficult two-putt from 33 feet without the benefit of sight" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 8/10). However, in N.Y., Bill Fields notes it is "not rare for a golf tournament, even a major championship, to be in a race to beat darkness in the final round." This is "especially true in the last couple of decades" as majors have been "eager to extend the broadcasts of their events into prime time to try to attract maximum ratings" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/11).
WHAT A TOURNAMENT: USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes the "wild and most unusual ending to the tournament will be remembered for as long as people recall these things, but it should never for a moment overshadow the wonderful drama of Sunday's golf itself" (USA TODAY, 8/11). In N.Y., Bill Pennington notes the first three majors of the year "had been notable for their lack of drama." But yesterday's final round "was a taut battle more like a heavyweight prizefight." Four men -- McIlroy, Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson -- "climbed into the ring and exchanged birdies at a sizzling pace in close quarters" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/11).
The USTA and the local ownership group of Memphis's Racquet Club have bought the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships from San Jose-based Sharks Sports & Entertainment and "will keep the city's long-running professional tournament in Memphis," according to Phil Stukenborg of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. The deal was approved by the ATP this summer. USTA Chief Professional Officer David Brewer, who also is the U.S. Open Tournament Dir, said that the sale "was completed two weeks ago." Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The USTA will be the majority owner of the Memphis event, which is held in February. The organization also is the majority owner "of two other U.S. events: the BB&T Open in Atlanta and the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati" -- both part of the Emirates U.S. Open Series. Brewer would not give out the USTA's "percent stake in the tournament." He said that the USTA "became interested in exploring ownership of the U.S. Indoor 'to help, in some way, keep this tournament in the United States and, more importantly, keep it in the market it's been all these years.'" Stukenborg noted Memphis is "one of 11 U.S. tournaments ... on the men's worldwide circuit of 64 events." Brewer said that the "search for a tournament director is underway, and could be announced by the end of the month." A title sponsor is also being sought (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 8/10).