Ron Kroichick reports that the PGA Tour "is on track to officially take over operations of Harding this summer."
The Rec & Park commission approved a proposal last week to hand clubhouse and golf management to the tour. The two sides still must negotiate a contract, but that's expected to occur well before Aug. 22, when the city's agreement expires with Kemper Sports, the current management company.
It requires no sixth sense to spot the PGA Tour's motive: keeping Harding in tournament condition. The tour's contract with the city calls for four more events in the coming years, including the Schwab Cup Championship (Champions Tour) in November, and tour officials were well beyond frustrated with course maintenance leading to the Presidents Cup.
The city stands to benefit financially, because the tour has agreed to waive the standard management fee (Kemper Sports received $192,000 annually). The city expects to save about $250,000 in all per year, according to Rec & Park spokesman Elton Pon.
No decision has been made yet, but the tour also figures to change the course's name - probably to TPC Harding Park, to align it with other tour-run venues in an attempt to generate more revenue for the city.
It's unknown whether the management change will affect green fees, though Rec & Park's budget proposal for the next fiscal year (2010-11) includes a 2.9 percent increase in resident rates and a $20 increase in non-resident rates.