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Home / Articles / Columnists / Sports Feature /  What's Wrong With Us?
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Monday, March 2,2020

What's Wrong With Us?

By Mark Tudino  

So, despite the recent national warming trends, we here in South Florida are still a destination for snowbirds – or coldbirds – who want to get away for a few days. And when they visit, many of those folks will tote their golf clubs with them – and why not? Quick quiz: Care to guess which state has the most golf courses? Yep, it’s us, with a whopping 1562 courses, far ahead of California, Texas and Michigan (?) Yet when it comes to the best players in the world plying their trade in our backyard, we are out of bounds. Strictly a two-shot penalty when it comes to playing a PGA tour stop in Dade or Broward counties.

 

But why is that? We have an abundance of great courses, more than enough money to sponsor said event (not an insignificant fact) and scores of golf fans, both locally and of the visitor type, who would patronize the tournament. Time was the run-up to the Masters, usually played in early April, always began with a visit to Doral; didn’t matter who the title sponsor was (over the years it was shared by Eastern Airlines, Ryder Truck, and even as a stand-alone WGC championship event). People would flock to the complex in west Dade to see the best in the world ply their trade. The list of champions reads like a PGA Tour Hall of Fame honor roll: Nicklaus, Trevino, Casper, Norman, Faldo, Woods; Jack and Tiger were multiple winners. So we have great tracks, moneyed sponsors, and people who will attend, but it’s not just a Dade County issue; Broward, with a population of nearly two million people, and with plenty of tremendous golf courses, last hosted a tournament back in 2009. So what’s the problem?

Two theories abound: First, the PGA Tour is money-hungry and jumped at the chance to move its dates to Mexico for its WGC tournament. Don’t kid yourself, the Tour values its dates much like the NFL does when it awards Super Bowls to cities, or when the IOC used to pit countries against one another for Olympic venues (when that mattered) and went with the highest bidder. Maybe Mexico just made them an offer they couldn’t refuse – leaving an area with over four million people without a professional PGA tournament for the first time in nearly 50 years. The second theory is far more controversial and harder to prove: When a certain occupant of the White House assumed ownership of Doral, it became a radioactive property, in that the tour would not want to associate itself with a questionable brand which could damage its long-term image. That, plus alleged statements attributed to said occupant, who bragged he could make more money by renting out the rooms and villas to guests, rather than allowing PGA VIPs to stay for free. Who knows if any of that was actually a factor, but what is known is that PGA tour fans in South Florida now have to schlep to Palm Beach Gardens to see the world’s best tee up, and that stinks. Somebody definitely hit one out of bounds with that turn of events – it’s just too bad we can’t get another shot at that prize.

Fore – left!

 

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