Notes Future Bright for Harding Monty Makes Move


SAN FRANCISCO -- Given the overwhelming praise of Harding Park, it won't be long before San Francisco's fabled municipal golf course gets another premier tournament.
Still to be determined is whether that means men, women or seniors.
``We know the USGA was already interested in Harding after we got it rebuilt,'' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Sunday. ``Looking at some of their different championships, I've got to believe the PGA of America would have some interest after this week. We want to sit down with all the interested parties and talk about the best possible schedule.''
Harding Park brought out that rare phenomenon on the PGA Tour: Hardly any complaints.
The 7,060-yard course more than held its own, although the 18th hole was questionable. There was enough room for hospitality and some 20,000 fans who were shuttled in from spots around Lake Merced.
As for the scoring?
Tiger Woods and John Daly finished at 10-under 270.
``These are the best players in the world, and we can barely crack double digits under par,'' Woods said.
Finchem said the key was to stage tournaments that would raise money for The First Tee and to continue repaying the city for the $16 million renovation. A steady diet of championships would mean Harding Park stays in pristine shape, although residents would not be able to play as much in the weeks leading up to a tournament.
``If I owned this place -- if this is my baby, but it was not for profit -- I would want some texture to the communication of this place,'' Finchem said. ``That would be being interested in having the best women play, the best seniors, and being interested in getting these guys back. That would round out the field.''
The wild card is how much Harding could handle.
The American Express Championship was a 71-man field, and it is unclear if the municipal course could handle a 156 players for a U.S. Women's Open, for example. The practice range is limited.
Either way, Harding Park is on the map.
``The way the golf course has played and the way the players reacted to it, I've got to believe if you're an organization putting on a tournament, you're going to be interested in taking a look,'' Finchem said.
John Daly's tee shot on No. 6 went AWOL for a few minutes, puzzling marshals as to where it had landed. The gallery finally pitched in and pointed out Daly's ball was plainly near the fairway -- just the wrong fairway.
Daly's ball had landed near on adjacent No. 2. He went on to bogey No. 6,
Colin Montgomerie had his chances to win on U.S. soil for the first time until he missed birdie putts of 15 feet on the 14th hole, 6 feet on the 15th and 10 feet on the 16th.
With a bogey on the final hole, he wound up two shots behind.
The consolation prize was more progress.
Montgomerie surpassed Michael Campbell atop the European Order of Merit, and collected enough Ryder Cup points that he likely won't have to be a captain's pick like he was in 2004.
``I had a goal at the start of the week, and I had to try and overtake Michael Campbell, and also get some more Ryder Cup points, which I achieved,'' Montgomerie said.
His main goal was to win, and he was pleased with his effort.
``I played great on the back nine, got nothing out of it,'' he said. ``Disappointing, really, but never mind. I'd have taken third before we came, so that's OK. I'm coming away very positive, and I can take it on next week to Madrid.''
Tiger Woods won for the ninth time in California, and his third in the northern part of the state. He won twice at Pebble Beach (one of those a U.S. Open). The last victory in the Bay Area? ``Probably the (NCAA) regionals my sophomore year, and I won the Stanford Collegiate,'' he said. This one paid $1.3 million. ... Woods, John Daly and Sergio Garcia were the only players to break par all four days at Harding Park. ... One attraction for fans in attendance was a charity putting strip mocked up to look like San Francisco's twisting Lombard Street, often referred to as the most crooked street in the world. Proceeds for ``The Lombard Longshot'' went to the Tiger Woods Foundation.
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