Harding In 2009 And Never Again?

Ron Kroichick updates the latest at Harding Park, with between-the-lines implications all over the place.

The Tour informally proposed bringing the Presidents Cup to Harding in 2009, a possibility previously reported in this space. City officials are amenable to the Presidents Cup, as long as the Tour provides assurances it will meet the other terms of its contract with San Francisco.

That deal calls for five tournaments in 15 years, starting on Jan. 1, 2005. Those tournaments, according to the contract, "shall include" the Tour Championship, the NEC Invitational or the American Express Championship. Woods outlasted John Daly to win the AMEX at Harding in October 2005.

Here's the catch: As also reported here previously, the Tour has commitments to hold these tournaments elsewhere through 2010 (the AMEX has morphed into the CA Championship and will be played annually near Miami). So, predictably, Tour officials are scrambling and suggesting other events for Harding Park.

Okay, but here's where it gets fun. 

City Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, whose District 7 includes Harding, insisted he is not worried. But Elsbernd also sounded weary of what he called "this negotiation dance."

"One important thing to remember is we as a city do have a contract with them, so something has to give," Elsbernd said. "At some point, the Tour will have to meet its responsibilities under the contract, because we have met ours. ...

"They have suggested they're in a little bind, and they've made commitments on those tournaments in other spots. We've said, 'Why are we the one with whom you have to break a commitment?' "

So is the Tour offering the Presidents Cup in hopes of getting the other events waved, with the idea being that the President's Cup is just that special? Sure sounds like it.