Tiger Woods tournament to be in Bethesda in alternate years -- Gazette.Net


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The Quicken Loans National will be held at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda in 2016, 2018 and 2020 but move to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va., in 2015, officials said this week.

Montgomery County officials are glad the event will remain at Congressional in alternate years and hopeful TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm can host the tournament in 2017 and 2019. Tournament organizers still are working on landing a site for those years.

The event has been at Congressional since 2007, except for 2010 and 2011 when it moved to the Aronimink Golf Club near Philadelphia while Congressional prepared for and hosted the 2011 U.S. Open. While Montgomery would like to keep the Quicken Loans National in the county, seeing it move to a Virginia course for at least one year does not sting since it is not an economic development competition, said Steven A. Silverman, director of the county’s Department of Economic Development.

“It’s not like it’s a company moving and we can offer incentives for it to stay,” Silverman said. “This is a matter solely in the hands of Congressional members. It’s not an issue within our control.”

Some Congressional members have complained that the tournament cuts too much into their use of the country club. Tournament organizers thought voting on a proposal to hold the event at Congressional for three consecutive years was doomed to fail, so they proposed the compromise plan. That proposal passed by a wide margin, as voting ended Sunday.

In another development that could cloud this year’s event — slated for June 23-29 at Congressional — Woods had a successful microdiscectomy Monday for a pinched nerve. He will miss next week’s Masters Tournament and could be out until “sometime this summer,” according to a news release.

Officials with the Quicken Loans National are not yet ruling out that Woods, who missed last year’s local tournament with an injury, won’t compete at Congressional. “It is too soon to speculate on his schedule for the rest of the year,” Emily Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Tiger Woods Foundation, said on Tuesday.

Woods is slated to begin “intensive rehabilitation and soft-tissue treatment” by next week. Depending on his recovery time, he could begin chipping and putting in three weeks, though getting back to tournament play would not be likely until the summer, the release says.

“It’s tough right now, but I’m absolutely optimistic about the future,” Woods said in a statement. “There are a couple records by two outstanding individuals and players that I hope one day to break. As I’ve said many times, Sam [Snead] and Jack [Nicklaus] reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine.”

Woods is second all-time in PGA Tour wins with 79, three behind Snead. He is also second in major championships with 14, four behind Nicklaus.

Attendance higher when Woods plays

Attendance at the Congressional event has been significantly higher when he plays. In the three tournaments at Congressional that he has participated in, attendance averaged some 156,500. That included the storm-ravaged year of 2012, when no spectators were allowed for one day.

In the two tournaments Woods did not play at Congressional, the average was about 127,000. When the tournament moved to Aronimink, attendance was about 193,000 in 2010 when Woods participated and 150,000 in 2011 when he did not.

“It would be disappointing if Tiger does not play,” Silverman said. “There is no question [Woods playing] has an impact on attendance. But even if he does not play, we will still have an extraordinary tournament.”

TPC Potomac was a regular stop on the PGA Tour for more than a decade and last hosted the Booz Allen Classic in 2006. RTJ has hosted the Presidents Cup four times, with the last time in 2005.

“We are excited to keep our tournament in the D.C. area and to be playing at these great golf courses,” Woods said. “Congressional Country Club and Robert Trent Jones Golf Club will continue to challenge our strong fields while supporting the local community.”

The Congressional event saw its highest weeklong attendance in 2009 of about 194,000 spectators, generating an estimated $29.1 million in direct and indirect spending in the county, according to a study commissioned by the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development.

Last year, with Woods out, about 147,000 people attended, the second most for the event when it was held in Bethesda. Woods won the event in 2009 and 2012. Last year, former Wake Forest All-American Bill Haas won the tournament.

Rick Brown, a Congressional member and proprietor of the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, supported keeping the tournament at Congressional. He is working on possibly hosting an event for golfers at his venue during this year’s tournament.

“It’s a great event that is worthwhile for Congressional and the community,” said Brown, also a principal with B&B Realty Investments in Bethesda.

The event was formerly called the AT&T National with its sponsorship through 2014, but leaders of the telecommunications giant agreed to take a lesser role this year as founding sponsor. Detroit-based Quicken Loans is one of the country’s largest retail mortgage lenders and title sponsor of NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Michigan and Phoenix this year.

The tournament raises funds for the Tiger Woods Foundation and other charities. The foundation operates two Tiger Woods Learning Centers in Washington, D.C., and one at the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Va.



kshay@gazette.net