Why Tiger Woods may benefit from the PGA’s move to Southern Hills
Tiger Woods will play two of the four major championships this year on courses he’s won majors previously.
Next year, he’ll play three of the four.
The PGA of America, in a statement on Monday, announced that Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., will host the 2022 PGA Championship. The tournament was to have been played at Trump National Bedminster before the PGA of America Board of Directors elected to terminate the contract with the New Jersey course as the organization dissociated itself from former President Donald Trump following riots at the Capitol.
“Excited to return to SHCC for the fifth time,” the statement said. “The course offers a tough-but-fair test for the strongest field in golf.”
Southern Hills has hosted seven major championships — three U.S. Opens (1958, 1977, 2001) and four PGA Championships (1970, 1982, 1994, 2007). In 2007, Woods, behind a PGA record-tying 63 in the second round, won by two strokes for his 13th major championship. He would also win the 2008 U.S. Open and the 2019 Masters and is three majors behind Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record.
Now, should he be healthy, between April of this year and April of 2022, Woods will play six of the next nine majors on courses he’s won majors before — Augusta National (three times), this year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Southern Hills and next year’s Open Championship at St. Andrews.
“If you would ask me that 12 years into my career I would have this many wins and this many majors, there’s no way,” Woods told pgatour.com in 2007. “I’ve exceeded my own expectations, and I’m certainly not against that.”
Southern Hills is also the host for this year’s Senior PGA Championship, and Kerry Haigh, the chief championships officer for the PGA of America, told the Associated Press that was “an important factor” in selecting the course. Haigh also told the AP that Southern Hills will no longer host the 2030 PGA, as the 2022 contract will replace that one.
“We think Southern Hills is a wonderful golf course,” Haigh told the AP. “It always has been.”
The move ends a 15-day search for a replacement, with Liberty National in New Jersey and Shoal Creek in Alabama also being considered, according to GOLF’s Alan Shipnuck. On Jan. 10, PGA of America president Jim Richerson said in a video on the organization’s website that the decision to leave Bedminster was made as “it has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand and would put at risk the PGA’s ability to deliver our many programs and sustain the longevity of our mission.”
“We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making,” Seth Waugh, the PGA CEO, told the AP. “We’re fiduciaries for our members, for the game, for our mission and for our brand. And how do we best protect that? Our feeling was given the tragic events of Wednesday that we could no longer hold it at Bedminster. The damage could have been irreparable. The only real course of action was to leave.”