Cancel the Corporate Hobnobbing.

Next Year Aronimink Will Go Back to Hosting Weddings.

The Philadelphia area doesn’t have great luck when it comes to professional golf events.  You’d think a sports friendly area of this size would have no trouble playing home to a regular tour stop, but for any number of reasons, that hasn’t been the case.  It’s hard to build an event from scratch these days.  At the very least you need a great course and a great date, and that’s something a Philadelphia event has never had the pleasure of getting.  From the LPGA Championship to the epic failure that was the SEI Pennsylvania Classic the area seems destined to play a lot of golf, but not watch it at its highest level.  Even the 2013 United States Open at Merion could be a swan song, unless they decide to roll back the golf ball.

The end for the AT&T National’s two-year run at Aronimink will likely be a quiet one.  Tiger Woods announced today that he will not play the event closely tied to his charitable foundation, and that’s likely the biggest bump in media the event will get from here on out.  The declining influence of Woods among his fellow pros and the 4th of July date already chipped away at this field, and now it is without its main draw.  Dustin Johnson is nice, but even in his diminished state, I’m sure people would rather say, “Do you want to go watch Tiger?”

Last year at Aronimink was the first time I ever saw Tiger play in person, and it wasn’t much of a sight.  He shoddily played a few holes while I tried to grab glimpses through the 10-deep galleries.  I imagine this year, you’ll be able to follow any pro you’d like over there and have a nice view.  I hope there aren’t too many, “where are the Philly sports fans” stories, because like I said this event really isn’t a fair gauge, even with Tiger playing.  The course can not stand on its own, despite the fact it mostly got raves in its inaugural run.

If I was the people at Aronimink, I’d set about making the course as difficult as possible.  If the heat sticks around and they can dodge a few downpours, the place should be able to play as fast as they’d like it to.  I think they could set it up harder than Congressional, and that’s not an exaggeration.  Justin Rose won last year at 10-under par, and while the scoring was more densely packed than it was at the US Open, if Aronimink skips out on some easy pins, a winning score in the 6 to 8 under range is not out of the question.  I think the ultimate goal for the course was to showcase for a possible PGA Championship, or something similar, so I think they should point everything toward that in their final year with this regular tour event.

It is a shame that Tiger won’t be playing, but I guess we should really be upset that Rory won’t be in attendance.  Somehow his win last week has ended the discussion of parity in golf.  Prepare for him to win at least 6 of the next 8 majors.  It’s a foregone conclusion, along with Phil’s career being over, American golf withering on the vine, and any other extreme conclusion that can be drawn.

So, I guess if you have tickets for the AT&T, I hope you already secured your guests.  It might be a little harder to get people to pass up the fireworks now that Tiger and his walking boot are staying home.

***

Quiz of the Day:  Famous Bow-ties.  Category:  Not Ken Rosenthal.  My Score: 20/32.  

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8 thoughts on “Cancel the Corporate Hobnobbing.

  1. The only good thing about this news is Tiger won’t tease people by playing.

    Last year the fans showed up at the crack of dawn because Tiger couldn’t break gosh darn par. And by the time his round was over the fans had enough golf for the day and thought, “Why would I want to watch any more of this?”

    They failed to realize the other players could actually play and how good the tournament actually was.

    With Woods out from the start maybe people will, you know, actually watch the tournament and follow the leaders.

    It was incredible to watch the event last year and see no one following Rose, who ultimately won by 14 shots. This is all coming from someone who hearts Tiger. At some point though you need to realize there may be a point when it’s better for the game to not have him there.

    I really hope Rory wins 6 of the next 8 because I love seeing someone go out and win a major instead of backing into it.

    The best part abour Rory McIlroy is how Irish people actually think he’s one of their own even though he’s from Northern Ireland. Wake up people, Norther Ireland is not like being from Northern Pennsylvania. It’s a different country than Ireland and has its own government. So keep waving a green, white and orange flag and rocking that shamrock tattoo on your calf in support of McIlroy because there’s a good chance you’re as clueless about golf as you are about the country you think McIlroy represents.

  2. I think you’re all right. It’s an important distinction. I even heard that someone offered Rory an Irish flag after he finished and he wouldn’t take it. I’m sure it’s a touchy issue for him to navigate, especially since a lot of people are clueless.

    I think Tiger missing AT&T is probably good for the real golf fan. They’ll get a great look at whoever they want, and the course.

    It’s not great, maybe, for big picture, because I’m sure attendance will be down, and things like that don’t bode well for a tournament ever coming back here.

    Of course, I also think there isn’t really a course around here that fits hosting an annual event.

    • someone did try to hand him a flag and they were wearing a giant dr. seuss-like cat in the hat hat. He rejected it.

      The only course in the area that comes to mind is Wilmington. Everything about the place is perfect. They have room for gallaries, corporate tents, locker rooms, practice area, and it’s pretty accessible, Outside of the that I would say the really good courses in the Philadelphia area are old and can’t accomodate a Tour event.

      Weird idea…
      What if the Tour set up a rotation of courses in the Philadelphia area? They could go Aronomink, Wilmington, Course X and Y.

      I think it’d be kind of interesting to see the variety of courses in the area and show how many good courses we have.

      Feel free to rip the idea.

      • I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but I think it’s a huge longshot. A rotation might be the only way to make it work though, because the courses worth playing (in my opinion) would never want an annual event tying up their course. I can’t imagine Wilmington tolerating that.

        But, Wilmington would work, Aronimink, I think Philly Cricket could work, Waynesborough, it depends how far you want to stretch. Saucon Valley could work. Obviously, Merion would have no interest. If it actually got in the works, though, maybe some other places would want to stretch it out a few hundred yards to get in the mix.

        They shift around that NYC tournament (Lib National, Ridgewood, I think they’re playing Plainfield this year?) but that’s a big event. It’d take a huge sponsor and a commitment from the tour to give them a good event to make it work.

  3. oh right, the seniors.

    well, maybe if we all throw in 20 bucks we can bring jim colbert back to chester valley.

  4. Revenue wise, I know there was a massive jump when Woods announced he’d be attending the Barclays last year.

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