Harding Park to host 2020 PGA Championship
SAN FRANCISCO – The PGA of America, the PGA TOUR and the City and County of San Francisco announced a partnership in July 2014 that brings the 2020 PGA Championship and The Presidents Cup 2025 to TPC Harding Park, a municipal course owned by the City and County of San Francisco. The announcement builds upon a strengthening relationship between the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR and furthers the TOUR’s 20-year partnership with the City and County of San Francisco that began with the rebuilding of TPC Harding Park in 2002-03.
The announcement was made at San Francisco’s City Hall, bringing together governmental officials, including San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, and representatives of two of the game’s leading organizations: PGA of America President Ted Bishop and PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. The partnership also includes a continued commitment to The First Tee of San Francisco, which is located at TPC Harding Park, by both the PGA TOUR and the PGA of America.
“TPC Harding Park is a world-class facility and San Francisco is a mecca of the best sports, cultural and entertainment events the world has to offer, so today’s exciting announcement only serves to further the City’s stature in that respect, and is a wonderful extension of our long-standing partnership with the PGA TOUR,” said Lee. “San Franciscans should be thrilled – and proud – to know they will be hosting both a major championship in the PGA Championship, a preeminent, international team event in The Presidents Cup. Our city will shine in all respects, I have no doubt, as we welcome fans, players and an international television audience with open arms.”
2020 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
The PGA Championship in 2020 will mark the first major championship to be held at a TPC property and the first PGA Championship to be staged in San Francisco. In 2020, the PGA Championship – perennially featuring golf’s strongest and deepest international lineup of any major championship – will make its fifth appearance in California, following Hillcrest Country Club (1929), Pebble Beach Golf Links (1977) and Riviera Country Club (1983, ’95). TPC Harding Park will be the second municipally owned golf course to host the PGA Championship. The only other PGA Championship to be conducted at a municipal golf facility was the 1974 Championship at Tanglewood Golf Club in Clemmons, North Carolina.
“The PGA of America is proud to be taking its major championship in 2020 to the City of San Francisco, home to one of the premier venues that embraces public golf along with the skill to stage some of the game’s greatest events,” said Bishop. “It is exciting to be sharing today’s announcement with the PGA TOUR and the City of San Francisco. Together, we look to grow the game among new audiences and present the finest championships for the greatest players in the world.”
The PGA Championship is one of four premier golf events conducted by the PGA of America. Others include the Ryder Cup, the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which brings together the winners of golf’s four major championships.
TPC Harding Park – a history
Situated on a gently rolling peninsula surrounded by the shores of Lake Merced in San Francisco’s southwest corner, TPC Harding Park has reclaimed its stature as one of the top public golf properties in the United States. Formerly Harding Park Golf Club, the course opened for play in 1925 after a design by noted architects Willie Watson and Sam Whiting, who also oversaw the construction of the Olympic Club. Officials named the course after President Warren G. Harding; the 29th President of the United States was an avid golfer who died at the Palace Hotel in 1923 during a visit to San Francisco.
The course became immediately popular and gained national notoriety when the United States Golf Association selected the par-70 course to host the U.S. Public Links Championship in 1937, which again was played at Harding Park in 1956. In between, professional golf arrived at Harding Park, with Byron Nelson winning the 1944 San Francisco Victory Open. In 1959, Mason Rudolph won the Golden Gate Championship at Harding Park, edging Dow Finsterwald and Bob Goalby. The PGA TOUR made Harding Park a TOUR stop in 1961 when it added the Lucky International to its tournament schedule; the event was played from 1961 to 1968 (there was no tournament in 1967).
While its signature event was the San Francisco City Championship, which attracted the best amateurs from California, a slow deterioration of the course began as it went from a jewel in the Bay Area to nothing more than what some described as a clover patch by the 1980s. A San Francisco Chronicle story described the course: “Weeds, clusters of daisies and splotches of dirt came to characterize this once-pristine layout.”
Enter Frank “Sandy” Tatum, who had played in the San Francisco City Championship while attending Stanford University and stayed in the Bay Area, spending his career there as an attorney. Tatum had gained stature in the golf industry, serving as president of the USGA. Tatum became instrumental in turning Harding Park’s fortunes around, receiving assistance from local government leaders. As part of the renovation process, Tatum eventually turned to the PGA TOUR and the International Federation of PGA Tours, the governing body for the World Golf Championships. Under the direction of PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, the International Federation named Harding Park the site of the 2005 World Golf Championships-American Express Championship (now known as the Cadillac Championship).
In advance of the event, Harding Park underwent a 15-month renovation project that expanded the course from 6,743 yards to around 7,200 yards. The course reopened on Aug. 22, 2003, and the World Golf Championships event was held in October 2005. As Tatum envisioned, TPC Harding Park is also the site of The First Tee of San Francisco, which now reaches more than 80,000 young people annually through chapter programs and elementary schools.
The course was added to the PGA TOUR’s prestigious TPC Network of clubs in November 2010. Joining such properties as TPC Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS Championship and TPC Boston, host of the Deutsche Bank Championship, TPC Harding Park became the 32nd club in the TPC Network. Entering a partnership between the PGA TOUR and the City of San Francisco, TPC Harding Park is operating under no management fees; thus, allowing both the city and the TOUR to give back to local communities through charitable donations.