Bullying on the Golf Course: The BMW Championship at Harding Park

San Francisco and the PGA have a deal: In either 2013 or 2014, the BMW Championship will be played at Harding Park. They have a contract with one another. According articles in the San Francisco Chronicle and Chicago Tribune, this contract will be broken. These papers state that the 2013 BMW Championship will be held at Cherry Hills, near Denver, and Conway Farms, which is outside Chicago, will host the 2014 BMW Championship. The closest the event will be to Harding Park in San Francisco is three states away.

The Bully

As this story develops, PGA officials and Harding Park will present the resolution as amiable. While they may play nice in public, do not be mistaken. Behind closed doors, there is a bully. San Francisco and Harding Park are publicly being presented with an option, but the PGA really is telling them how things will be.

The Lunch Money

The economic impact of any major golf event on a community is substantial. If the PGA Grand Slam of Golf leaves Bermuda, the country’s economy will lose a $2.5 million stimulus. Even as an off-season event, the PGA Grand Slam is worth millions of dollars to an area. The BMW Championship is the “penultimate playoff event” of the PGA Tour. Wherever the event goes, serious lunch money follows.

The Bullied

The solution seems simple. San Francisco and Harding Park will sue the PGA and the BMW Championship. The contract is clear, and the city would win. However, being a tattle-tell has its consequences.

The Bullying

If Harding Park sued over the BMW Championship, then the PGA would have to publicly apologize. They would say, “I’m sorry,” before the judge and public. But, when the two were alone again, the PGA would seek revenge.

San Francisco might be able to force the BMW Championship into coming to Harding Park. But, that would likely be the last PGA event held in San Francisco. There would be no more PGA Tour events at Harding Park, and no more lunch money for San Francisco.

San Francisco has no choice. It must give up its lunch money.

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Sources: SF Chronicle on BMW Championship