Woods, PGA bring Tour back to Washington

February 28, 2007|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN REPORTER

The nation's capital will again hold a PGA Tour event, with the game's biggest star as its host.

Through his California-based foundation, Tiger Woods will attach his name to a full-field tournament for the first time in his legendary career. The event will be played July 5-8 at a Washington-area club, most likely Congressional Country Club in Bethesda.

Further details, such as the tournament's title sponsor, purse and charitable beneficiaries, are expected to be announced next Wednesday at a news conference in Washington, which Woods and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem plan to attend.

"After an extensive search, we are very excited about our partnership with the Tiger Woods Foundation to bring a PGA Tour event back to our nation's capital over the 4th of July holiday celebration," Finchem said in a statement released yesterday.

Ben Brundred Jr., who as president of Congressional brought the Kemper Open there in 1980 and served as chairman of the tournament after its move to the TPC at Avenel in 1987, said in a telephone interview last night that Woods' event seems likely headed to Congressional and later to Avenel.

Asked whether he thought the members would approve hosting Woods' event, Brundred said: "I suspect they would. Every time we took a vote in the past [regarding a PGA Tour or USGA event] it would be 70 percent for it. The antis got louder and louder. We just didn't want to have one every year."

Congressional is scheduled to host the U.S. Amateur in 2009 and the U.S. Open in 2011, which means that Woods' event would be there only until nearby Avenel is finished being renovated or another venue becomes available. Avenel is expected to undergo major renovations this summer.

Next week's news conference will be in stark contrast to the announcement made last year that the PGA Tour had relegated the Booz Allen Classic to the late fall. Booz Allen Hamilton, the title sponsor, subsequently withdrew its sponsorship and the event was removed from the schedule.

This event replaces The International, which announced earlier this month it would not continue a 21-year run on the tour at Castle Pines Golf Club outside Denver because it was losing too much money. That began speculation of the tour's return to Washington.

It isn't clear whether Woods would play in the inaugural event because his wife, Elin, is due to deliver their first child this summer. The tournament comes three weeks after the U.S. Open and two weeks before the British Open.

Woods, who has hosted a limited-field PGA Tour event since 1999, said in a statement that this event is about more than golf.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to expand awareness and interest in the work we're doing for millions of kids across the country," Woods said. "I'm grateful the PGA Tour selected us as partners and am very excited my foundation will host another amazing event, this time in our nation's capital. I'm delighted to think of all the young people this will help us reach."

don.markus@baltsun.com

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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