Kroichick on Harding's Future

harding 18.jpgRon Kroichick in the SF Chronicle sheds more light on the rapidly deteriorating Harding Park situation.  

You may recall that earlier this week the Chronicle reported that the cost to redo the place ended up closer to $23 million, raising numerous questions and also hurting the chances of future muni-rejuvenation projects.

Kroichick writes: 

The Tour's contract with the city includes a provision in which it can back out if the course is not deemed in suitable shape. The city also needs to keep Harding in good condition so it can lure coveted non-resident players, who pay anywhere from $82 to $138 to roam the fairways alongside Lake Merced.

Whoa! $138 for a muni?

Macaulay acknowledged his concern about maintaining the course. Tour officials told him they believe Harding needs a gardening crew of 32 to 34, but that's unrealistic given Rec & Park's obvious financial constraints. Macaulay's staff numbers 24, though fewer than 20 are currently working full-time.

An 18 hole country club staff on the big size would be in the 22-25 range. 32-34 for Harding and Fleming?

What a city!

The next event will occur no earlier than 2008, and it will not be the AMEX (now the CA Championship in Miami) or the Tour Championship (tied to Atlanta). The Bridgestone Invitational also is a longshot, despite last week's speculation; the Tour apparently is committed to keeping that event in Akron, Ohio, through 2010. Maybe the Match Play Championship comes here in '08, or the Presidents Cup in '09.

In other words, Harding had a nice run with the PGA Tour. It's only hope now is a USGA event or LPGA major. 

But more importantly, what's going to happen on a daily basis for the people who matter?