- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 17, 2008

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem yesterday said he is pleased with the progress of the $25 million renovation of TPC at Avenel in Potomac, but he acknowledged the course is unlikely to play host to the AT&T; National in future years.

“It’s all torn up, and we have to put it back together, but I think it’s going to be fantastic,” Finchem said of the Potomac course, which was once the main stop for the PGA Tour in the District.

Avenel, which is owned by the tour, began a massive renovation last year following several years of playing host to tournaments that many top golfers attended sparsely. But the club’s future role with the tour is unclear. The AT&T; National and its host, Tiger Woods, are locked in with Congressional Country Club in Bethesda through 2009. Avenel could play host to the AT&T; in 2010 when Congressional has the U.S. Open, but Finchem said it’s unlikely the tournament would return there beyond then.

“We fully support Tiger, and bringing Congressional back into the fold long term is, we think, the answer for that tournament,” he said. “We’ll look for some other things down the road, but right now we have to make sure that [Avenel] gets done as good as it can be, and I’m really excited about the way its coming out.”

Finchem said one of the biggest changes at Avenel has been the deepening and widening of streambeds and expansion of wetlands that will keep the course from flooding during heavy rains. In 2006, three days of rain flooded the course and nearly canceled the Booz Allen Classic.

The PGA Tour commissioner made his comments in an interview following the announcement of the first National Golf Day, designed to bring attention to the positive impact the golf industry has on the economy and environment.

Rep. Ron Klein, Florida Democrat, and Rep. John Mica, Florida Republican, signed a congressional resolution declaring the day, which is expected to occur annually.

Officials from the USGA, LPGA and World Golf Foundation touted the results of a recent study claiming the golf industry accounted for $76 billion worth of goods and services in 2005 with a total economic impact of $195 million.

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