As the PGA Tour sprinted back into Texas last week, the geographic nomenclature of professional golf’s schedule kicked back into high gear. The Texas Two-Step, the West Coast Swing, the Mark Rolfing Grand Hawaiian Tour, the Spring (formerly Florida) Swing. Okay, three of those are real.
While the game connects people worldwide, the passion of its regionalization is what makes each golf fan crazy. Who produces the best players? Which region promotes the most all-around skill? What state has the most great courses? Which grass is better to putt on? (The answer to that last question is bentgrass, of course.)
As golf’s best slide from Dallas to Fort Worth, the burning question is what area of the country is not properly represented each year on the PGA Tour? In no particular order...
Michigan – The Buick Open ceased operations in 2009 after a nearly half-century run on Tour. With its demise, a great golf state has lacked consistent professional attention. The PGA of America has hosted four different majors in the last decade in the state, including the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. The Detroit suburbs have some incredible, tradition-rich clubs, but it’s the Lake Michigan coastline that provides some stunning opportunities. If not for access and fan base, places like Arcadia Bluffs or Crystal Downs would turn heads.
Wisconsin – Erin Hills is about to join Whistling Straits as a major championship venue. Like the Buick Open, the regular Tour stop in Milwaukee ended in 2009 after a 42-year run. It was an abrupt end to much of the Midwest flavor on the schedule. The state continues to show an ability to host big events. Would a sponsor flock to the ability to make it work again annually?
Nashville – It may be the best city in America not hosting a PGA Tour event (though there is a Web.com Tour event). The golf is great, with plenty of wonderful venues to choose from. (The Golf Club of Tennessee is perfect, and members would welcome it, but isn’t ideally located for Tour event traffic.) The growth of the city, its cultural scene and organizational support all provide the infrastructure for a good event. This seems like a place that should be at the top of any expansion list.
Pacific Northwest – How can we get pros to Bandon for a tournament? It needs to happen! Shockingly, the state of Washington doesn’t have a top 100 golf course, although Chambers Bay has major clout now, albeit with some controversy. It may be more about the views than the quality of the tournament, but the geography is gorgeous.
Denver and Philadelphia were left off because of the revolving nature of the BMW Championship. Kudos to the Western Golf Association for rotating the tournament to great cities that can showcase a great event.
The Other Winner
Each week I offer up one golfer whose performance may have gone unnoticed in the world of golf
Alvaro Quiros – Yes, he won, which makes it hard to ignore, but it felt like so much more. I tweeted this out when I stumbled across the Spaniard’s live appearance during the first-round telecast of The Rocco Forte Open last Thursday: He had fallen out of the top 700 in the world after once being a top 25 player. He vaulted nearly 500 spots with the triumph in Italy.
More importantly, he got his status and swagger back. Relegated back to the Challenge Tour, the man who won five times between 2008 and 2011 has survived the depths of despair. His length is almost unmatched and his personality is strong. The win was huge. Good for him.