Westchester CC losing the Barclays?

January 14, 2008 4:54:32 PM PST
The PGA Tour has decided to move the Barclays, the first leg in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs, from Westchester Country Club in New York, a club official said Monday.Westchester club president Philip M. Halpern said in a written statement that the PGA Tour "has opted to end our current contract and move the Barclays to another venue." Halpern said members of the Harrison, N.Y., club wanted to host the August event and that the decision by the PGA Tour was a disappointment.

Halpern previously told The New York Times and The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y., that the PGA Tour wants to move the tournament to Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J.

A PGA Tour spokesman insisted Monday that a final decision had not been made.

"I would say that no decision has been made to terminate our agreement with Westchester," tour spokesman Ty Votaw said, adding talks with Westchester are continuing. "Those discussions may or may not result in a joint decision to keep The Barclays at Westchester."

Reports that the 2008 edition would be moved to Ridgewood were "premature," Votaw said.

If the tournament does shift to Ridgewood, it would be the biggest golf event in New Jersey since the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield.

The Barclays, which has been played at Westchester since 1967, was already scheduled to move to Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J., in 2009. Westchester had agreed in 2006 that it would only hold the tournament three of the next six years, including 2007 and 2008, with an option for a fourth.

The event is scheduled for Aug. 21-24 and carries a $7 million purse. Tiger Woods skipped the qualifiers-only tournament last year, which was won by Steve Stricker. Woods won the two final legs of the four-event playoff to capture the inaugural FedEx Cup.

Lagging attendance at Westchester and a divided club membership prompted consideration of Ridgewood, according to a report Friday on GolfDigest.com.

But Halpern said Monday that the club's members "voted overwhelmingly to host the Barclays in August, with more than 80 percent in favor."

The New York Times and The Journal News cited correspondence to the club from the PGA Tour that brought up several issues with Westchester, including the tour's desire to erect more grandstands.