I couldn’t help but get excited yesterday afternoon when several reports came out saying the WGC Match Play will be heading to Austin Country Club starting in 2016, with several of these reports saying Austin will be the host for at least two years.
I’m a born and raised Texan, so anytime there’s news about big time PGA Tour events coming to Texas I get excited. Austin, Texas is a great place to host an event of this magnitude and if they can lock down multiple years into the future it would tremendous for the state along with Texas golf in general.
The WGC Match Play has been bouncing around since 1999, with TPC Harding Park in San Francisco playing host coming up at the end of April this year. It will be the sixth course hosting the event in the 16 years it’s been held.
To me, it sounds like the event needs to find a permanent golf course for the future.
Perfect Time For a “Texas Swing”
With Dell reportedly in talks to become the title sponsor of the event in 2016, it begs the question: Why can’t this become a permanent fixture in Austin for many years to come?
An even better question in my mind is why can’t the PGA Tour establish a “Texas Swing” and hold five tournaments in a row all in Texas? They already have a “West Coast Swing” along with a “Florida Swing”, so there’s no reason why Texas can’t get a piece of the action.
I know it would be challenge because you’d have to move several tournaments around to accommodate five events in a row in Texas. But here’s what I’m thinking based on the 2014-2015 schedule:
- Masters: April 9-12
- RBC Heritage: April 16-19
- Wells Fargo: April 23-26
- THE PLAYERS: April 30 – May 3
- Shell Houston Open: May 7 – 10
- Valero Texas Open: May 14 – 17
- WGC Dell Match Play: May 21 – 24
- Crown Plaza: May 28 – 31
- Byron Nelson: June 4 – 7
- The Memorial: June 11 – 14
- U.S. Open: June 18 – 21
Here’s my thought process on the schedule:
A lot of the players love the RBC Heritage right after The Masters. We’ll go ahead and keep Harbour Town in that spot. Next, move the Wells Fargo to the week after RBC Heritage. That would give the top players a week off after The Masters but they’ll be back in action at Wells Fargo. They’ll take a quick flight down the road to TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS.
After TPC Sawgrass is wrapped up, it will give the guys two weeks until the WGC Dell Match Play. Sandwich the Shell Houston Open and Valero Texas Open the two weeks prior to the newly formed WGC Dell Match Play in Austin. Right after the last putt drops on Sunday at the WGC Dell Match Play, the guys can jump on a quick flight to the Dallas area for the final two weeks of the Texas Swing, playing the Crown Plaza and Byron Nelson.
Here’s where it gets interesting. It’s also the spot in the schedule where we’re most likely to hear rich, pampered PGA Tour pros start complaining. Nobody is going to say no to Jack Nicklaus when invited to the Memorial. That means the top players in the world would have to play Muirfield Village and then head to the U.S. Open. We have to keep the U.S. Open on fathers day weekend, so we can’t move that.
I would make the argument that Jack and the Muirfield Village staff can get the golf course into U.S. Open conditions. It’s already a tough course and will only prepare them for what they’ll face the following week at the U.S. Open. It makes perfect sense!
AT&T Texas Swing
Here’s my last idea. Why not sign up a corporate sponsor to kick in $1,000,000 a year for five years and hold a “mini” Fed Ex Cup type race right in the middle of the season? AT&T is headquartered in Dallas. Valero is in San Antonio. Southwest Airlines is in Texas. Exxon is in Texas.
There’s many Fortune 500 companies in Texas that would love to have their name mentioned on TV for five weeks in a row. Then Jim Nantz can roll the CEO up into the booth in the middle of coverage and we can listen to them tell us how great of an opportunity it is to give back to the community.
In My Dreams
I know this is all a pipe dream and will never happen. There’s several high profile tournaments that I moved to different dates based on my hypothetical schedule above. The biggest challenge would be moving The Players, Memorial and Wells Fargo to different dates compared to where they normally fall on the schedule.
Well hey, I know I am a Texas golf homer. I’m a huge advocate of any and all things Texas so I would love to see this happen.
What do you think? Let us know below or his us up on Twitter @Front9Back9.