Match play doubt fuels speculation of golf's future in Tucson - Tucson News Now

Match play doubt fuels speculation of golf's future in Tucson

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Rickie Fowler is one of 64 golfers in the Accenture Match Play Championship at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain. Rickie Fowler is one of 64 golfers in the Accenture Match Play Championship at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain.
MARANA, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Will match play come back to Tucson after this year's tournament?

Smart money says no but stranger things have happened.

"Sometimes it looks like a done deal then everything changes at the last minute," said Neal  Weitman, president of the Conquistadors, who have organized the Tucson PGA stop for the past 51 years. "We haven't heard yet."

It's not likely an announcement will be made until after the Accenture Match Play Championship ends on Sunday.  That's protocol and courtesy.

But there is a great deal of speculation at the tournament site at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

"I'm hearing that this, in all likelihood, that this is the last year," volunteer Jeff Fallon said. 

But since Accenture is not renewing its contract, it doesn't mean a replacement has stepped up.

The PGA could help subsidize it in Tucson for another year if a sponsor is not found.

Where it might move to is not as concerning at the tournament as what might replace it.

Some believe a Champions Tour event.

"I honestly think the fans will enjoy the Champions Tour next February if Freddy Couples comes," Arizona Daily Star columnist, Greg Hansen said.  "I'll bet they have a Champions Tour event next February."

The Conquistadors have not ruled out anything yet.

Bringing the match play event here in the first place was a long shot and to have it stay for eight years has been great for the Tucson area.

"It's been a great run and we hope it continues," Weitman said. "But again, if it doesn't, we're going to figure something out."

Some have thought the recent bad weather may have played a role in ending the run here.

But Weitman doesn't think so.

"All tournaments have weather issues," he said. "But when it snows in the desert, it really stands out."

One reason cited for moving the tournament here was the torrid rains in Southern California, the event's former site.

Players have complained about the Dove Mountain venue for years.

The players voted it the 51st worst tour stop out of the 52 they play.

It's remote and hard to get to.

But it can also be embarrassing for players who consistently get knocked out in the first round and who only reluctantly come back.

Tucson has been home to a tour golf stop for nearly 60 years.

It's thought that run might end but probably only temporarily.

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