WORLD'S BEST GOLFERS LOVE
World Championships underway
Tiger Woods soaks up Harding's lush greens as Australia's Euan
Walters chips onto 7th.
Tiger wallops the ball down Harding's 8th fairway.
Tiger launches one off at the 9th
A rare smile from Tiger. He's in some kind of trance when he's
Tiger got himself into the rough on the 9th. Such is life. But
like a true champion, Tiger recovers with a smart weapon that
comes to rest inches from the flagpole.
The eye of the Tiger.
By Pat Murphy
October 7, 2005
Although clockwork for turning San Francisco's Harding Park Golf
Course into a world attraction seemed to grind slowly, it ground
Such was the toast yesterday for those who made it happen, as
50 of the world's 70 best golf players compete through October
9 in the American Express World Championships in Harding Park.
Normally, the world's best golfers are a tough house to play
to for a new golf course review.
In San Francisco, the reviews came in a rave.
"I can only recall one other incidence in my years in this
job, which is getting to be a good number of years, where we go
and play a new golf course with virtually all of the (world) players
and there's not a fair amount of disagreement whether the quality
of the golf course is where we should be playing or the condition
of the golf course is up to snuff," reported PGA Tour Commissioner
"This week I believe 100% of the players
are just delighted
with what's happened at Harding Park, the quality of the golf
course, and the quality of the condition of the golf course.
"We're just delighted. It just couldn't be better. It's
an old style golf course that the players are enthusiastic about
playing on, and it's going to be a good weekend," Finchem
told those gathered for City Hall reception hosted by Mayor Newsom.
Mayor Newsom welcomes PGA Tour Commissioner
Timothy W. Finchem. Serving as deputy commissioner since 1989,
Finchem took the lead post in 1994
Built in 1925 as a public golf course, it originally matched
grandeur of nearby prestigious Olympic Club and San Francisco
Golf Club courses.
By the mid-1990s, neglect rendered Harding Park greens hard,
diseased, and weeded.
Its Phoenix-like rebirth began in the twinkling of an idea from
golfing icon Sandy Tatum.
Sandy Tatum, center, went on from being a National Collegiate
Athletic Association champion at Stanford University to become
president of the United States Golf Association. In his off time,
he became a Rhodes Scholar.
Tatum telephoned Finchem with the idea
"Like a lot of things, we thought it was a great idea. But
then we discovered how complicated it was," recalled Finchem.
Together they enlisted the can-do quality of one Willie Brown,
then the Honorable Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco,
having just recently charted California governance for decades
as Speaker of the Assembly.
San Francisco's one and only, the Honorable Willie Brown
Combined passion of the three men, in the end, endured six-year
triathlon of San Francisco Politics.
Baton passed from Mayor Brown to Mayor Newsom, from Harding Park
District 7 Supervisor Tony Hall to Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, with
journeymen staffs carrying the real water. The city approved $15
million for Harding Park resurrection.
Former District 7 Supervisor Tony Hall
The Honorable Sean Elsbernd
"Sandy's been mentioned, but one of the great opportunities
of this event right here is this is the first time so many people
have been involved in one project have been in one room, and it
gives me the opportunity on behalf of Sandy and so many else to
say thank you," graced Elsbernd.
Charlotte Schultz, San Francisco Chief of Protocol and wife of
golfing aficionado George Schultz, coordinated the event. As well
as mastering golf, George Schultz served as Secretary of State
for the United States.
George and Charlotte Schultz
"It's a small ball, and a club you swing," George Schultz
described the game to Gavin Newsom.
"We'll be back, Mr. Mayor," Finchem resonated promise
to the very pleased.
THEY MADE IT HAPPEN - From left, Willie Brown, Gavin Newsom, Charlotte
Schultz, Tim Finchem, Sandy Tatum, and George Schultz.