Muirfield Village should host 2020 PGA Championship
When Jack Nicklaus designs a championship golf course, it tends to garner some attention. When that course is located near his hometown and yearly plays host to a highly-touted PGA Tour, it garners even more attention. When that attention is almost always positive, good things tend to happen.
Almost four decades since Muirfield Village Golf Club opened in 1976, it now holds the distinction as the only course to hold a Ryder Cup, a Solheim Cup and now, a Presidents Cup. Muirfield Village has quite an impressive resume, which includes the Memorial Tournament (1976-present), the U.S. Junior Amateur (1986), the Ryder Cup (1987), the U.S. Amateur (1992) and the Solheim Cup (1998).
What's left? That's easy. A major championship. Of the four majors, two candidates are the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
Let's begin with the U.S. Open. It is held each year during the second week of June, or two weeks after the Memorial Tournament. During Memorial Tournament week, there are almost 400 rounds of competitive play, not to mention the three days of practice rounds and the Wednesday Pro-Am. To turn around less than a month later and hold the national championship is something the United States Golf Association simply won't allow.
The biggest problem with a U.S. Open at Muirfield Village is Nicklaus would have to relinquish control of his course to the United States Golf Association. When a course is awarded a U.S. Open, the USGA swoops into town and begins making major changes to a course. Lengthening holes, tightening fairways, redoing greens -- nothing is off the table. Nicklaus holds Muirifeld Village dear and there is simply no way he secedes that control.
So a U.S. Open is out? Probably.
Now, about that PGA Championship. It has already been played in Ohio 11 times and in central Ohio twice at the Scioto Country Club (1950) and the Columbus Country Club (1964).
Yet the year's fourth and final major hasn't been held in the Buckeye state since it was hosted by Toledo's Inverness Club in 1993.
Perennially, the PGA Championship is held at the most venerable courses in this country and certainly Muirfield Village meets that criteria.
Central Ohio boasts four courses in Golf Digest's America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses for 2013. The Golf Club in New Albany is No. 36, Scioto Country Club is No. 52 and Double Eagle Club in Galena is No. 83. Muirfield Village leads the Ohio courses at No. 14.
Future sites of the PGA Championship have been determined through 2019. In 2018, the PGA Championship will celebrate its 100th anniversary.
"When looking at adding a new site (for the PGA Championship), we want to be able to predict with a degree of certainty that it will be able to stand the test of the top players," said former PGA chief executive Joe Steranka in 2010.
Quick, who is a no-name or has-been that has won the Memorial Tournament? Stumped, eh? Muirfield Village's past winners reads as a who's who in the professional golfing world. Nicklaus' course stands up to the PGA of America's standards that it is a fair test for the world's top players.
Five of Nicklaus' record-setting 18 majors were PGA Championships. In 2020, Nicklaus will be 80 years old. What better way to draw attention to the PGA Championship, Muirifeld Village and the game of golf than to host the season's fourth major at the "home" course of the game's greatest player of all time?