We played TPC Harding Park last week – and now its set to host the WGC Match Play, Presidents Cup and 2020 US PGA Championship!
The PGA Tour have finally come to their senses and introduced a better format for the 2015 WGC Match Play event to be held at Harding Park GC in San Francisco.
Australia’s Jason Day won the lucrative World Golf Championship event earlier this year after his stunning victory over France’s Victor Dubuisson, but next year’s event will have a new format and a new venue.
The WGC Match Play event has traditionally seen 64 of the world’s best players compete in knockout format which can mean some of the world’s best players are catching an early flight home, often after just one round. It has led several of the world’s best players skipping the event – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott all opted not to play in 2014.
To the sounds of people shouting “It’s about time!”, the PGA Tour have decided that a new format is needed to make sure all the world’s best players are part of the field.
From 2015, the new format will see the 64-man field broken up into 16 groups of four with each player assured of playing three matches within his group on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The top player from each group (16 in total) will proceed through to the knock-out stage which will be played out on the weekend.
The tournament will also have a new venue. Next year’s WGC Match Play will be played at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco and will be played in April, the week before The Players Championship.
In addition to the announcement that TPC Harding Park will be hosting the WGC Match Play event, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem also announced that the course will host the 2020 US PGA Championship and the 2025 Presidents Cup!
Presidents Cup venue are usually only chosen three to four years ahead of time, so all this announcement is very surprising. There were also rumours that US PGA Championship organisers were considering an international venue for 2020 to breathe some life into the least recognised major golf championship with royal Melbourne widely tipped to be in contention.
The latest news have obviously squashed those rumours and one has wonder just what is going on behind the scenes with so tournaments announced for this venue all at once.
I was lucky enough to play TPC Harding Park on a recent trip to the US. The course is known to be enveloped in fog during the summer months and it was no different last week.
The course is in stunning condition (I haven’t played one in this sort of nick for a long time) and the newly renovated greens and bunkers are simply superb.
But compared to Royal Melbourne it is not in the same league. It is visually stunning but there isn’t the same strategy and interest that several of the Melbourne sandbelt courses have.
The final three or four holes at Harding Park may be exciting for match play golf but across four days of a major championship, it will be very much a target-style golf event that will come down to whoever uses their short stick the best. Leave your shot making ability at home.