Houston mayor wants 2019 Houston Open to return inside city limits
PGA Tour

Houston mayor wants 2019 Houston Open to return inside city limits

During the Houston Open, played the week before the Masters for the final time in 2018, there naturally was a lot of talk about the future health of the tournament.

The Houston Golf Association plunked down a lot of money they didn't really have to ensure the tournament could be played and remain on the PGA Tour schedule with an expected purse without having a title sponsor to underwrite most of the tournament expenses.

Then there was the reality 2018 was the last year Golf Club of Houston in Humble was contracted to host the tournament. The expectation was the club, which didn't announce an extension tournament week, was planning to pass on hosting in the future.

There was also talk Houston's mayor, Sylvester Turner, was serious on acting on an expressed desire to bring the Houston Open, which began in 1946, back inside the city limits. Houston Business Journal reports a plan has now been put forth for the city's Memorial Park Golf Course to host the PGA Tour stop in 2019 and beyond.

"This move would place the tournament on centerstage in downtown Houston, creating a central location for the city to rally around," the proposal reads. "Houston Proud Partners of the Houston Open would have the opportunity to collaborate with the Houston Golf Association on this historic move and make a lasting statement that would be seen for generations."

Realistically, Memorial Park would need a seven-figure upgrade to get it up to PGA Tour and modern design standards, so a temporary home may be needed for 2019, with Memorial Park hosting in 2020. Memorial Park last hosted the event in 1963. Golf Club of Houston hosted since 2003.

Of course, all this assumes the Houston Open will remain on the schedule. It's unclear what the PGA Tour would do if the Houston Golf Association is unable to acquire a title sponsor, which runs in the $8 million to $12 million range, depending on the event and purse. The PGA Tour is planning on announcing its 2018-19 schedule during The Players Championship in two weeks, and it should include an earmarked slot for Houston.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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