PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tiger Woods could be bringing professional golf back to the Philadelphia area.
Members at Aronimink Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia are to vote Oct. 15 on whether to accept a proposal to host Woods’ AT&T National for two years, in 2010 and 2011, while Congressional Country Club undergoes renovation for the 2011 U.S. Open.
The vote comes after nearly a year of discussions between Aronimink board members and officials from the tournament and the Tiger Woods Foundation, which benefits from the event.
“It looks very favorable right now,” said Greg McLaughlin, the tournament director and executive director of the foundation. “They keep telling me everyone is excited about it, so I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll receive a favorable report.”
The AT&T National will be played at Congressional in 2009. The greens at the Bethesda, Md.-club are to be renovated in 2010 and the U.S. Open will be played there the following year.
One Aronimink official was excited about the prospect of hosting Woods’ event, which will be the first professional golf in the Philadelphia area since the Senior PGA Championship was played there in 2003.
“The club has had an interest, over the decades, of hosting professional golf,” Aronimink general manager Dick Naumann said. “It has been five years. So, the thought was, we should start looking for something.
“This came around, and it’s kind of a perfect fit.”
Aronimink members will be presented with the tournament proposal next week and then vote, in a show of hands, whether to accept the event for two years.
Naumann is guardedly optimistic about the upcoming membership vote.
“We’ve got a lot of members here and they all, I am sure, have their own personal feelings on it,” Naumann said. “Most of the conversations I’ve been a part of have been positive, but we won’t know until we get the show of hands.”
Aronimink, annually ranked as one of the top courses in the country, has hosted high-profile events in the past.
“Obviously, it’s a great sports town,” McLaughlin said of Philadelphia. “It’s a Donald Ross course, and so many Tour players love the old golf courses that are very traditional.”
The club in Newtown Square was the site of the 1962 PGA Championship won by Gary Player and host to the 2003 Senior PGA won by John Jacobs. It also hosted the U.S. Amateur in 1977 and the U.S. Junior Amateur in 1997.
Should the club get the event, the 7,100-yard, par-70 layout, could be lengthened to over 7,200 yards with the addition of a few new tees, Naumann said.
Philadelphia had a PGA Tour event from 1963 to 1980, and the Tour returned to the area in 2000. But that event, which was to alternate between eastern and western Pennsylvania ended in 2002.
Aronimink was to host the 1993 PGA Championship, but withdrew because it didn’t have any minority members at the time.
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.