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Wednesday
Nov082017

Olympic Club's Lucrative Flip To PGA/Ryder Cup Rota Member: $15 Million Projected Windfall

The San Francisco Chronicle's Ron Kroichick considers the Olympic Club's grabbing of a PGA and Ryder Cup, suggesting there were lingering tensions with the USGA over repair costs in 2012 and in revenue anticipated for a possible 2027 U.S. Open, which is now headed to Pebble Beach.

He writes:

One logical explanation for the Olympic Club’s change of heart: money. Olympic could earn a projected $15 million from hosting the Ryder Cup and PGA Championship, according to one source. Another U.S. Open probably would have generated between $2 million and $3 million.

The windfall is expected to help finance an extensive renovation of Olympic’s clubhouse, which hasn’t had major improvements in 23 years.

Kroichick also says Olympic Club officials didn't like the terms they were offered.

This reflected a larger issue: Olympic Club officials believed they weren’t offered financial terms comparable to other traditional U.S. Open venues.

None of the principals involved would address these differences on the record, but tension apparently spilled into negotiations over the past year for the 2027 U.S. Open.

As he notes, this likely opens up faster returns to other west coast venues like Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines or maybe even Chambers Bay, all of which garner higher ratings due to time zone differences allowing for more viewers to watch the U.S. Open in prime time.

Not noted by Kroichick but certainly something else to consider if you're wondering why the obsession over Olympic Club, which has slipped architecturally in recent years.

The USGA announced another return to Pebble Beach in 2027 once Olympic Club negotiations stalled: it's the first year of their next television contract.

For the PGA of America, landing Olympic Club adds a second west coast venue to its schedule, a vital chip when the organization starts talking--any day now--to networks about its expiring television contract (after 2019 PGA).

Either way, let's hope Olympic Club figures out how to get some of the character back in its decidedly-modern looking bunkers: 

#8 #olympicrd2

A post shared by Willy Wilcox (@wavegodwilcox1) on Aug 9, 2017 at 12:36pm PDT

 

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Reader Comments (22)

Hire Crenshaw and Coore or Gil Hanse for a little facelift !
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTop100Man
0.00% chance they get that number.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterRyder Cup
I'm beginning to think my club should offer to host a PGA and Ryder Cup. A suburban Flynn track at 6400 yds could be an entertaining spectacle.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBertie Wooster
Looking at some 990 Tax Filings it would appear that in 2013 Medinah grossed about $12.5M on the Ryder Cup and their income was $6.5M higher than a typical year. I would bet they covered some other Non-Ryder Cup expenses that year that lowered the net profit.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterPABoy
I don't blame the USGA for not wanting to return to the OC. Oakmont and Pinehurst have significantly enhanced their courses - Olympic is going the wrong direction with (a) a bunker project that turned out to be a disaster: and (b) a tree PLANTING project.

The course needs to be restored and it needs a true professional to take over. There are a lot of folks who wish Gil, Bill or up and coming Willie Watson admirer will come in and restore the club and this historic property in golf.

Would the PGA approve of one of these guys coming in?
I believe Olympic has produced the weakest group of major champions of any venue...someone has probably done the research, and I could be very well wrong.

But the Simpson "brothers"....Scott and Webb, are not what anyone would call household names.

My memories of the course are Payne hitting into a divot down the stretch, the 18th green debacle one year and Fuyrk's snap hook on 16.

All negative!
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterManku
They can send it to Merion for their scheduled work. Must share
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterGolfFan
Would rather host the PGA Champ and Ryder Cup than the US Open at this point. Ryder Cup is hands down the best event in golf-
Please - no more US Opens at Olympic Club! Watching paint dry is more compelling. If I have to watch another overcast round there with Johnny Miller drawing arrows showing the wind direction, I'll scream.

Love having some majors on the west coast, but there must be at least 5 courses in Northern California that would produce better competition. Show some love to Portland or even SoCal.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterAl B. Tross
Al B. - name five more US Open worthy courses in Northern California that are realistically capable of hosting a US Open and would not require serious design concessions. They just don't exist.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKC
@ KC I can't even think of one and I'm from the area.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon
The Olympic Club is well known as the Giant/More Favored player killer. Hogan, Palmer (bigger collapse than Norman in '96), Watson, Stewart, and Furyk. Palmer did lose to Billy Casper in a playoff, but coughed up a 7-stroke lead on the final 9 of regulation play. Scott Simpson specialized in U.S. Open grinds, bad breaks are all part of U.S. Open play and Payne lost the Open twice to Lee Janzen and Furyk played awful down the stretch, snap-hooking a rescue club from the tee on 16, poor club choice going into 17 (a 220 yard 4-iron uphill in heavy sea air and cold fog) and had sand/gap wedge into 18 and missed the green. The OC as a "short" yardage course, has played as one of the more difficult Open venues. Only 4 players finished under par in the 5 Opens and Olympic still holds the record for highest 36-hole Open cut at +15 in 1955.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterThe BO'C Rule
Probably no architectural improvements in the offing there under current club leadership (i.e., the GM who is the former superintendent). The recent bunker project ("steeper and deeper", like powder days for skiers) and tree plantings suggest that unfortunately Olympic is choosing a different path than many other Golden Age courses.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKevin part deux
KC -

I'll name five worthy and that arguably offer more compelling golf: Pebble Beach, SFGC, Cal Club, Cypress, MPCC. Strategy trumps length in terms of intrigue/viewability. If Merion was worthy within the confines of their limited acreage then these too must be considered capable should the USGA choose to forego incremental hospitality revenue on occasion - although I'd guess only two of these clubs would entertain hosting.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered Commenterbouje
@bouhe - do you really believe that a US Open could be held at SFGC?
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKevin part deux
I actually find The Olympic Club to be quite reflective of San Francisco itself.

San Francisco has to be one of the filthiest towns in the US (i.e. trash everywhere) along with some of the worst managed street infrastructure anywhere (i.e. impossible streets where an off road SUV is a requirement!). Not to mention fast developing shanty towns here and there will countless homeless (i.e. been to 16th street lately east of Mission or Duboce?). The list goes on and on. To put it mildly, it's clusterfuck... And the residents pay some of the highest taxes for this!

But hey ... there's this Golden Gate bridge, the Giants. Google, SalesForce, and Twitter are here too. Maybe a few other things.

Let's take a sneak peek at Olympic...

The Olympic Club has "nice" trees with rolling terrain and wide corridors. It has history galore it claims to appreciate but completely ignores it by choice. Underneath that facade, you have a defaced Championship course now with artificially small greens, grotesque bunkering and more trees going in along with silly flower beds here and there... Let's not forget the ridiculous debt on the books!

Like I said ... a clear reflection of this upside down town and ... appropriate.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterOCVenue
@OCVenue, have you been to San Francisco or do you just read the newz? Much better quality of life than many global cities.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered Commenterfeenmsheen
@feenmsheen, I live nearby and put up with the SF nonsense every single day and yes ... I've played Olympic recently.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterOCVenue
According to AP's Doug Ferguson, it was the first in a series of announcements over the next month that fills out the PGA of America’s schedule for its biggest events over the next decade.

The PGA Championship still has openings for 2024 through 2027, with Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla., taking one of those spots. A return to Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky also is expected, along with a return to Quail Hollow in North Carolina and possibly Aronimink outside Philadelphia.
11.8.2017 | Unregistered CommenterPG
Seems to me the PGA is slowly but surely winning its battle with the USGA over prime locations, using the Ryder Cup as a very attractive negotiating stick. Could Pebble be next?
11.9.2017 | Unregistered CommenterSari
What about Sam Whiting's fun Sonoma GC after a restore?
My family has been in Northern California for over 270 years, and as a true "bay area kid who fondly call San Francisco THE CITY" , I will say that @OCVenue has hit it right on the head!!! Northern California- between the Sierra Club, and the growing need for more "sanctuary space" is now a developing golf wasteland. The once great venues have been re-treaded as Resort layouts completely- Pebble, Olympic, Harding Park, etc,, are just shells of what they once were(look good on television though). Public golf in NorCal is an joke at best. Central and Southern California. I learned to play here in the bay area in 1957- the years have not been kind to California, unless you are on an expense account and want over priced former real top 100 courses on your have played list. In my business career I spent 10 years living in Chicagoland, and as a true golf junkie I can say that in a 35 mile radius of downtown Chicago there are more quality public venues, and superior tour ready private layouts, than exixt in all of CA, OR, and WA combined,
11.9.2017 | Unregistered CommenterD Sanguinetti

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