Senior Players could return to Fox Chapel

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The Senior Players Championship could return to Western Pennsylvania under a five-year plan in which the tournament would rotate with another location, possibly Philadelphia, in 2015 and '16 -- avoiding conflict with the U.S. Open at Oakmont.

Brian Goin, vice president of championship management for the PGA Tour, said the preference is to return the tournament to the Fox Chapel Golf Club, which received rave reviews from the players during its debut last week as the host course.

The preliminary plan would be to play the tournament at Fox Chapel in '13, '14 and '17 -- keeping the Senior TPC from having to compete for corporate sponsors and ticket sales with the '16 U.S. Open.

If Fox Chapel decided it did not want to host the tournament all three years, Goin said the Champions Tour would consider using another course in Western Pennsylvania as part of a regional rotation.

Clubs under consideration could be St. Clair, Field Club and Sewickley Heights.

No proposal has been submitted or discussed by the involved parties, including Constellation, the titles sponsor. But Goin said he would like to have a plan in place in another month "so we can get started on next year already."

That was not the case this year when Fox Chapel discovered in early December -- just six months before the tournament -- it would be the host club.

The agreement was for one year only.

"We really liked the response we received from the fans, and the players, as you saw, loved the golf course," Goin said. "Obviously, we would like to keep the tournament here and we would like to have it at Fox Chapel. It would be hard not to bring it back here after the response we had."

Because it got started late, the Champions Tour could not sell as many corporate tents as it would have liked for the tournament because companies had already established budgets for 2012. That's why Goin would like to get started on corporate sales for the '13 tournament as soon as possible.

Still, the tour was pleased with the sales response it received in just a six-month period. And it really liked that the total attendance for six days was 52,644 -- an average of more than 8,700 daily.

The Senior TPC, one of five majors on the Champions Tour, was won by Joe Daley, a non-exempt player who held off three of the tour's biggest stars, Fred Couples, Tom Lehman and Mark Calcavecchia.

"There was a lot going on this weekend, too, with the [Kenny Chesney] concert and Regatta," Goin said. "And when you consider how hot it was, I think it's testament to the support we receive here."

golf

Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com; twitter: @gerrydulac First Published July 3, 2012 12:00 AM


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