The HP Byron Nelson Championship is “getting a new home in southern Dallas” after tournament officials “agreed to move the PGA Tour event to the Trinity Forest golf course in 2019,” according to a front-page piece by Bill Nichols of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The tournament is “contracted with Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving through 2018,” and the event has been played there since ’83. Landing the 10-year contract “is critical to the Trinity Forest project, which involves the city of Dallas, future Nelson title sponsor AT&T, Southern Methodist University and the First Tee of Greater Dallas.” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said that although the contract “states that the tournament must relocate to Dallas by 2019, it could be sooner.” Rawlings “envisions the Trinity Forest course as a sort of Cowboys Stadium of golf.” Salesmanship Club of Dallas President Charley Spradley, whose group oversees the tourney, said that Nelson officials “have not discussed breaking the Four Seasons contract.” Losing the tournament “will strike a blow to Irving,” as the Nelson “accounts for tens of millions of dollars in economic impact each year” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/15). Nichols noted the Trinity Forest idea “was hatched on the belief that a bold championship course created by one of the world’s top design teams will lure the big-name players who have skipped the tournament since Byron Nelson died in 2006.” Golfer and Dallas native Justin Leonard said, “That’s the only way, honestly, to keep the tournament going. Not just to improve it, but to keep it going, because it’s a struggle with that golf course.” Golfer Bob Estes: “The golf course probably keeps some players from not playing the Byron Nelson. ... But building a new golf course and taking it away from the Four Seasons isn’t necessarily going to guarantee you the best field on tour” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/12).
THE FUTURE IS NOW: Tournament officials yesterday said that the Nelson “will maintain the same position on the PGA Tour schedule in 2014.” In Dallas, Nichols & Townsend note the Nelson “benefited from the European Tour’s BMW Championship being switched a week later this year.” Not conflicting with the European Tour’s “flagship event added some big international names to the field” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/15). But in Ft. Worth, John Henry notes just six "of the top 25 golfers in the world" are scheduled to play in this week event, with No. 7 Louis Oosthuizen the highest-ranked player with a tee time (Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/15). GOLFCHANNEL.com’s John Hawkins noted the Nelson “used to be one [of] the true hotspots on the PGA Tour.” There were “huge crowds, great weather -- the first big gathering of top-tier players after” The Masters. But now “those days are gone.” Hawkins: “The biggest name in this year’s field is probably John Daly, which is saying something” (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 5/13).
Two companies are "each hoping to launch a spring marathon in New York City, one as soon as 2015," according to Kevin Helliker of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. However, the marathons "they envision are different." One would "wind through the streets of Brooklyn, the other through Manhattan." But approval for "such a race will rest largely in the hands of the next mayor." N.Y. under Mayor Michael Bloomberg has "rejected proposals for any serious alternative" to the ING N.Y. Marathon. Competitor Group President & CEO Scott Dickey said, "We think there's room for another marathon in Manhattan, in the spring." He added that San Diego-based Competitor has "tabled until after the mayoral election any proposal for a Manhattan marathon." New York City Runs Founder Steve Lastoe a few months ago "submitted to the city a bid for a 2014 marathon through the streets of Brooklyn that would accept at least 10,000 runners." While that bid "failed to win approval, Lastoe foresees approval in time for a 2015 race, in part because he said he has received support from" NYRR President & CEO Mary Wittenberg, whose company runs the ING N.Y. Marathon. City approval of "two new large marathons seems unlikely, potentially creating a rivalry between the two bidders." Lastoe said, "I'm worried that Competitor Group might get there before me" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/15).
PROCEED WITH CAUTION: In N.Y., Lynn Zinser notes the Brooklyn Half Marathon will "host about 25,000 competitors this weekend." NYRR officials have been working with the N.Y. Police Dept. to "ramp up security, including a new, stringent bag check procedure, additional police officers along the course, secure runners-only areas and family reunion zones." Bomb-sniffing dogs will "be out in force." The event will "draw its biggest field by a large margin." The race two years ago "drew 7,000 runners" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/15).
Maryland Jockey Club President Tom Chuckas said that the Preakness Stakes infield is "as popular as it's been in decades, with 'Infieldfest' ticket sales up 9 percent compared with this point last year," according to Wesley Case of the Baltimore SUN. Chuckas and others "credit the success to changing the infield's culture from free-for-all drink-a-thon to something resembling an outdoor music festival with of-the-moment talent." Back in '08, the Preakness infield was infamous for "passed-out partiers, the chucking of full beer cans into crowds and of course, the 'Running of the Urinals,'" where drunken infielders ran down a row of portable toilets. For Preakness organizers, it was "the tipping point." Chuckas said, "It's still the people's party, but it's a different kind of party." Besides attendance increasing, Chuckas has noticed a "demographic shift in the infield" since '09. He said that it has "changed from a college-aged group that 'basically didn't want to spend any money' to a slightly older crowd he describes as 'upscale.'" The tamer infield also "meant fewer arrests." Baltimore Police Dept. Dir of Public Affairs Anthony Guglielmi last year said the Preakness was "a much classier event." He reported that "one person was arrested and nine were ejected, primarily for excessive drinking and disorderly conduct." In '08, "126 people were ejected and six were arrested." Now, the "music has become such a draw that the Maryland Jockey Club doesn't market the event with controversial slogans or mascots." Chuckas said, "The brand is beginning to carry the event by itself" (Baltimore SUN, 5/14).