Sources close to the PGA of America indicated to Golf.com that the 2020 PGA Championship is headed to TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. Those same sources said that an official announcement on the status of the event would come on July 2.
Tom Smith, General Manager and Director of Golf at TPC Harding Park, would neither confirm nor deny the news. “I wish I could comment,” said Smith, “but I have to refer you to Ty Votaw (Executive Vice President and Chief Global Communications Officer of the PGA Tour). However, I can tell that as a PGA professional, it would be great to have the PGA Championship come here.”
TPC Harding Park is the only city-owned public course managed by the PGA Tour, which financed part of the course’s recent upgrades, but when reached via phone, Votaw declined to comment on whether the Tour would have needed to approve its use by the PGA of America for the PGA Championship.
It’s no secret that the PGA of America is seeking suitable West Coast venues, and now that the USGA has re-upped with Torrey Pines, that eliminates one logical site, given the rivalry that exists between the two governing bodies. TPC Harding Park is no stranger to hosting significant tournaments. In 2005, Tiger Woods edged John Daly for a playoff win at the WGC-American Express Championship. Four years later, he led the U.S. to a Presidents Cup victory here. More recently, Harding Park has played host to the Champions Tour season-ender, the Charles Schwab Cup in 2010, 2011 and 2013. The captain of that 2009 Presidents Cup team, Fred Couples, grabbed a six-shot triumph in the 2013 Schwab event.
Situated in the heart of San Francisco, in sight of the vaunted Olympic Club, this venerable 1925 muni sports fairways hemmed in by frequent fog and cypress trees, lush rough and a wild closer (the 15th during the Presidents Cup), a 475-yard par-4 that opens with a bite-off-as-much-as-you-can-chew drive over a lake, followed by an uphill smash to a rollicking three-tier green. While some contend that too many holes look and play alike at TPC Harding Park and that facilities aren’t quite top-tier, there’s no denying that the handsome setting and mild weather would be welcome relief for players and fans, who usually swelter at many PGA Championship destinations. Couple that with new (April 2014) bent grass greens, new bunker sand and other changes, and perhaps TPC Harding Park will make a stellar major venue.