After a couple years away from the area, it was really good to see Tiger Woods and the AT&T National golf tournament back at Congressional Country Club.
Woods loves the golf course and it showed as the host won the tournament for the second time at the historic venue.
The media loves the tournament because it puts the Washington, D.C., area on the PGA map and it gives us something different to cover in the summer besides baseball and offseason football.
The local economy loves it because the event generates robust levels of revenue for local businesses. Not only that, but the organizers have donated funds to more that 100 local charities.
The one group that is not so enamored with the tournament anymore is that large portion of Congressional’s membership. When the tournament first came to Washington in 2007, more than 90 percent of the membership voted for it. After seeing how the staging of the tournament caused significant disruption to the services they pay more than $100,000 for, the renewal vote was far more contentious. I remember being told by a member how Woods had to fly to Washington to attend a club meeting and personally lobby for the tournament to continue. The last vote in 2008 will carry the tournament through 2014, but beyond that, the event’s future at the club and in Washington is uncertain.
TPC Potomac at Avenel Farms and Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va., are local contenders to replace Congressional, but it is well-documented how much Woods wants the tournament at Congressional. Aronimink Golf Club outside of Philadelphia, which held the tournament for the last two years while Congressional was staging the 2011 U.S. Open, is a viable option as well, but Woods has opened learning centers at two D.C. schools and has plans for others. He is vested here and likes the military feel of the nation’s capital.
Walking the course with thousands of fans and seeing the clubhouse overrun with corporate activity, I can see how some members would feel uneasy about not getting to use their club over an important part of the summer. However, I think Tiger has had a significant impact in this area because of Congressional Country Club and I would hate to see his tournament leave.
Club members wanting their facility back versus Woods wanting that same facility to help continue his work in the Washington, D.C., area. How do you vote and why?