With the announcement by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem on July 2, 2014 that the WGC Match Play Championships would be coming to San Francisco’s Harding Park Golf Course in April/May 2015, Lake Merced and its adjoining golf courses are set to become the epicenter of the world of competitive golf for seventeen days next spring.
Last February, the United States Golf Association (USGA) announced that the inaugural Men’s Four-Ball Championship, a team competition for amateur golfers which is replacing the US Amateur Public Links Championship, would be contested at the Olympic Club in San Francisco over five days from May 2 to May 6, 2015. The LPGA’s newest tournament, the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, is tentatively set to return to Lake Merced Golf Club in 2015 for its second year, in the same late April time slot in which it was played in 2014, which will be April 20 to 26, 2015.
The addition of the PGA Tour’s WGC Match Play tournament at Harding Park from April 27 to May 3, 2015 means that three of the four world-class golf courses which lie on or near the shores of San Francisco’s Lake Merced will be hosting championship-caliber golf, both amateur and professional, over a period of seventeen days next spring, from April 20 to May 6.
The USGA broke new ground last month when it held its two biggest championships, the United States Open and the United States Women’s Open, on back-to-back weeks at the same venue, Pinehurst Golf and Country Club, in Pinehurst, North Carolina, but this confluence of LPGA, PGA Tour, and USGA events, all occurring in the same area, within such a short period of time, is unique. For seventeen days – the same length of time over which the Olympic Summer Games are held, the southwest corner of San Francisco and an adjoining area in Daly City will become the veritable epicenter of the world of golf.
The Lake Merced area has featured prominently in golf news over the last few years. The Olympic Club hosted the United States Open in 2012, becoming one of only a handful of courses to have hosted five or more U.S. Opens. Lake Merced Golf Club and Harding Park Golf Course co-hosted a sectional qualifying tournament for the 2012 Open, and Lake Merced GC also played host to the 2012 USGA Girls’ Junior Championships that year.
In 2013 Lake Merced Golf Club hosted a sectional qualifying tournament for the United State Women’s Open and Harding Park was the site of the 2013 Schwab Cup Championship, the season-ending event for the Champions tour. In 2014, Lake Merced GC once again hosted a sectional qualifying tournament for the United States Open, this time sharing host duties with the Olympic Club, which proffered the use of its Ocean Course for the event.
The 2015 WGC event is the first of three big golf events which are coming to Harding Park over the next decade. In addition to the WGC event, the lakeside municipal course will be the host venue for the 2020 PGA Championship and the 2025 Presidents Cup. Harding Park previously hosted the Presidents Cup in 2009, becoming the first West Coast venue for the event, and only the second American course to host it.