The six-year pact starts next year, when the Honda opens what will be a four-event Florida tour swing. The deal gives the oft-moved tournament a home through 2012; its been at six courses since 1995.
We know that the tournament has moved several times, said American Honda vice president Richard Colliver, who lauded Mirasols effort as a host. We made the decision. We felt that if we were going to stay in golf, we needed to go to a resort where we could have a permanent home.
This years Honda Classic opens Thursday at Mirasols Sunrise course, which has hosted the event since 2004. Logistically, the pending move should be easy: PGA Nationals entrance is directly across from Mirasol.
The Sunrise course'replete with plenty of large, sloping greens'has been oft-criticized by players. Despite a $5.5 million purse, only four of the top 22 players in this weeks world golf ranking are in this weeks Honda field, none higher than No. 8 David Toms.
The Champion course at PGA National hosted the 1983 Ryder Cup and the 1987 PGA Championship, plus the Senior PGA Championship 28 times. It was designed by Tom and George Fazio and opened in 1981, then redesigned by Jack Nicklaus in 1990 and further renovated by Nicklaus Design in 2002.
Were very pleased with being able to bring the best players in the world back to this particular venue, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said.
Nicklaus said some extra length will have to be added before next years event, to, he said, accommodate the modern-day golf ball.
All I have to do is make sure its a good challenge, Nicklaus said.
Besides the course design, the Nicklaus family will have a large role in the administration of the Honda starting in 2007. Barbara Nicklaus, Jacks wife, was introduced Tuesday as the chairperson of the newly created Childrens Healthcare Charity, which will operate the event once it moves to PGA National.
The founding of the new organization followed the tragedy the Nicklaus family endured March 1, 2005, when 17-month-old Jake Walter Nicklaus drowned in a hot tub.
We feel like were now in a position to do some wonderful things for healthcare for children in the community, and do something in Jakes name, Barbara Nicklaus said.
Next years Honda Classic will be March 1-4, taking the schedule spot traditionally held by Doral. Starting in 2007, Doral will host the CA Championship'a World Golf Championship event'the last week of March.
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