PGA Tour Extends Boston Contract


PGA TourNORTON, Mass. -- Brad Faxon never doubted that the Deutsche Bank Championship would return to the TPC of Boston.
'I'm really psyched. This is huge for me,' Faxon, who lives 31 minutes away in Barrington, R.I., said Sunday after the tournament's sponsors committed to the course for two more years. 'I don't know what it would be like not to have a tournament' in the area.
Golf has its American roots in New England, from the first U.S. Open, in Newport, R.I., in 1895, to the first Ryder Cup, at the Worcester Country Club in 1927. Francis Ouimet's victory in the 1913 Open at The Country Club in Brookline and the American victory in the '99 Ryder Cup there are among the sport's most heralded moments.
The PGA made a regular stop in Massachusetts from 1965-98 at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton. But when the tour pulled out in '98 for financial reasons, that left the Greater Hartford Open, now known as the Buick Championship, as New England's only tour stop.
'I think we all knew that it was a golf-starved area, and we didn't realize how starved until last year,' said Seth Waugh, the chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank Americas. 'I remember last year, handing out the check - and I'm a suit that nobody cares about - it's raining, the tournament is over, and there are guys on the top of the grandstands yelling 'four more years.'
'People care. Here, you're welcomed, as opposed to other markets where you're an afterthought, or even an inconvenience.'
The decision has been expected for weeks, but Waugh said he wanted to make sure the players were satisfied with the changes made to the course since last year. After the first edition, golfers complained that the greens were severely sloped and the fairways too wide in some spots, too narrow in others.
Over the winter, greens were shaved and renovated and the landing areas redistributed to reward good shots instead of punish them. Reaction from the players has been positive.
'We asked for input last year and reacted to it; we delivered what we said we were going to deliver,' Waugh said. 'We wanted a chance to respond to what we heard. So this year we really did not consider any (other site). We wanted the TPC of Boston, and the staff here has done an unbelievable job.'
Tournament director Jay Monahan noted that the golfers have plenty of choices where to play, so his goal has been to give them reasons to come to this Arnold Palmer-designed course near Boston. To that end, they offer special activities at the clubhouse daycare for the players' kids; tickets to Red Sox and Patriots games; a trip for the spouses to Newport and concerts by Hootie and the Blowfish and Clay Walker.
The next question: Will Tiger Woods continue to play in the event that donated $1.5 million to charities last year - a record for a first-year event - primarily the Tiger Woods Foundation?
'He's certainly been a part of this decision today. ... I know he's been thrilled with everything he's seen out here to date,' Monahan said. 'I would expect that given what we are all doing for his foundation that this is something that will be on his calendar for years to come.'
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