Tiger Woods picks a site 'with a rich history' for his AT&T tournament
"Aronimink is an amazing course with a rich history in golf," Woods said on his website. "We are thrilled."
That's true. Aronimink has played a significant role in golf and on the PGA -- not an altogether positive one -- and has a connection to Southern California as well.
Until 1961, the PGA of America had a Caucasians-only clause in its by-laws. The 1962 PGA Championship had been scheduled to be played at Wilshire Country Club. But Stanley Mosk, a fervent civil rights advocate and the California attorney general, told the PGA that it would not be allowed to hold the championship in the state unless it dropped its restrictive policy as a whites-only body.
So the PGA changed its plans and switched the site for the '62 tournament ... to Aronimink, a club that had only white members at the time.
Mosk, though he is not widely credited for it, was instrumental in breaking down racial barriers in the PGA. In 1959, he had been approached by Charlie Sifford, who eventually became the first African American winner of a regular PGA Tour event, to help eliminate discrimination in the PGA. The striking of the PGA's Caucasians-only clause was largely a result of those efforts.
Aronimink -- a classic Donald Ross design and site of the 1977 U.S. Amateur, 1997 U.S. Junior Amateur and 2003 Senior PGA -- was also scheduled to hold the 1993 PGA Championship, but withdrew because it had no minority members at the time. The tournament instead was held at Inverness Club in Ohio.
The AT&T tournament will be held at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., next year, and will return to Congressional for at least three years in 2012. But because the 2011 U.S. Open will be played there and the greens will be renovated in 2011, the tournament needed to be moved for two years.
-- Mike James
Photos: At top, Tiger Woods, left, and Charlie Sifford. Above insert, former California Atty. Gen. and Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk. Credits: Los Angeles Times