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Golf's majors snub Florida

Golfers on the PGA, LPGA and Champions tours are in major swing mode. LPGA members are in Sunningdale, England, this week for the Women's British Open. Champions Tour members were in Scotland last weekend for the Senior British Open and are in Colorado Springs this week for the U.S. Senior Open. Padraig Harrington won the British Open on July 20 in England and the PGA Championship is next week in Michigan. One place the tours won't be is Florida. The state is just fine for early season or fall tournaments, but when it comes to hosting a major, Florida's courses fall short.

The biggest tournaments in Florida are the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, a World Golf Championship at Doral in Miami and the LPGA's ADT Championship in West Palm Beach.

There are five possible majors that can be played in Florida: the PGA Championship, Senior PGA Championship, U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Women's Open.

The Senior PGA had a rich history in Florida until 2001. It dated to 1940, including 1945-62 at Dunedin Country Club. It has since been staged at various courses in seven states.

The last time a PGA or LPGA major was played in Florida was the 1987 PGA Championship. While the PGA of America, which is based in Palm Beach Gardens, wouldn't comment on Florida's lack of a major, it did offer its requirements: "The PGA requires that prospective host courses be of the highest quality and condition and that they be adequately prepared to provide a challenging test to determine the world's best golfer … ''

PGA Tour member and Tampa native Woody Austin doesn't see any reason why Florida can't host.

"There are plenty of good courses in Florida,'' he said Wednesday from the WGC's Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. "I don't really know of too many around Tampa as far as hosting a PGA Championship, but there are plenty of good courses in Florida that could.''

The U.S. Golf Association wouldn't comment either. The U.S. Women's Open was held in Pensacola in 1969, but it hasn't returned to Florida since. The U.S. Open, played annually in June, has never been contested in Florida, and with sites picked through 2015, Florida is still left behind the ropes.

Rodney Page can be reached at page@sptimes.com, golf@sptimes.com and (727) 893-8810.

LPGA and PGA majors in Florida

1969 U.S. Women's Open

Scenic Hills Golf Club in Pensacola. Donna Caponi won by one shot over Peggy Wilson to secure the first of her 24 victories and four majors. She won the 1970 Open in Muskogee, Okla., becoming the second woman to repeat as champion since Mickey Wright in 1958-59. 1971 PGA Championship

PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens. This was a unique year because the PGA Championship was the first major of the season instead of the last and was held in February. It returned to the No. 4 spot on the calendar in 1972 and has stayed there every since. Jack Nicklaus (7-under 281) beat Billy Casper by two shots. 1987 PGA Championship

PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens. It was played in August, it was hot and a fungus damaged the greens and made them spotty and bumpy. Larry Nelson won in a playoff over Lanny Wadkins to become the 15th multiple winner of the tournament. His four-round total of 1-under 287 was the highest winning score in PGA Championship history.

Future PGA Championship sites
2009: Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minn.

2010: Whistling Straits, Sheboygan, Wis.

2011: Atlanta Athletic Club, Duluth, Ga.

2012: Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Island, S.C.

2013: Oak Hill CC, Pittsford, N.Y.

2014: TBA

2015: Whistling Straits, Sheboygan, Wis.

Future U.S. Open sites
2009: Bethpage State Park (Black), Bethpage, N.Y.

2010: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.

2011: Congressional CC, Bethesda, Md.

2012: Olympic Club, San Francisco

2013: Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa.

2014: Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, N.C.

2015: Chambers Bay Golf Club, University Place, Wash.

Future Ryder Cups in America
2008: Valhalla GC, Louisville, Ky.

2012: Medinah, CC, Medinah, Ill.

2016: Hazeltine National GC, Chaska, Minn.

2020: Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wis.

Future U.S. Women's Open sites
2009: Saucon Valley CC, Bethlehem, Pa.

2010: Oakmont CC, Oakmont, Pa.

2011: Broadmoor CC, Colorado Springs

Upcoming tournaments in Florida
PGA

Ginn sur Mer Classic, Oct. 30-Nov. 2, Conservatory Course, Palm Coast

Children's Miracle Network Classic, Nov. 6-9, Lake Buena Vista

Merrill Lynch Shootout, Dec. 12-14, Tiburon GC, Naples

Champions

Del Webb Father-Son Challenge, Dec. 1-2, Champions Gate Resort, Orlando

LPGA

ADT Championship, Nov. 20-23, Trump International GC, West Palm Beach

Golf's majors snub Florida 07/30/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 1, 2008 1:25pm]

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