Aronimink pit stop as PGA Tour rolls on

When the USGA held the U.S. Amateur at Merion Golf Club in 2005, it was viewed as a trial run for the U.S. Open. Not long after, the course was awarded the 2013 U.S. Open. Could the PGA being do the same this week at Aronimink Golf Club?

The AT&T National is Philadelphia’s first crack at hosting a PGA Tour event in almost eight years. And, judging by the galleries in the first two days, the masses want more.

“We know the market is a good market, and there are a lot of good golf courses here,” PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem said. “We’re back here [at Aronimink] next year, and after that we’ll look for opportunities. But certainly this is a market we’d like to play in longer term.”

Finchem sounds genuine, but there are other factors at work and there doesn’t appear to be any room at the inn. The PGA Tour features 47 events this year, with no plans to drop any. The only reason Tiger Woods and Co. are here this year and again in 2011 is because the AT&T’s normal site — Congressional in Washington, D.C. — is being renovated.

“We have loyalty to tournaments,” Finchem said. “PGA Tour golf can be successful, very successful, in Philadelphia but there has to be a date opportunity, coupled with a golf course interest, and then we have something to talk to sponsorship about.”

Jim Furyk, a native of West Chester, is one golfer who would support a permanent stop in the area.

“The golf course is very, very tough,” Furyk said. “You can tell there hasn’t been a lot of golf in this area. It’s a shame.”

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