Local officials were happy last week when it was announced that the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship would return to Southern Arizona for at least two more years.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said the tour would return to Southern Arizona at least until the contract expires in 2014.
Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said he is pleased with the announcement.
“It’s a great relief to hear they are committing for two more years,” he said. “We are honored to have this event, and the region really does benefit from it.”
Of course the region benefits, Accenture Match Play gains world-wide attention year-after-year as 64 of PGA’s top golfers make their way to The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain to compete.
In press conference before competition started, Tiger Woods said he sees no reason why Match Play should move from Southern Arizona.
“This is a wonderful venue here at Dove Mountain and the Ritz,” he said. “I think from a player’s standpoint, it provides so many different options that it’s wonderful for Match Play.”
This year’s championship marked the sixth year in Southern Arizona, since moving here from California in 2007.
However, despite a commitment to return to Southern Arizona through 2014, there was no promise it would be at Dove Mountain.
The Ritz Carlton is in its final year of its contract with PGA, after hosting it since 2009.
Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath said he doesn’t care where the event is held as long as it stays in Southern Arizona.
“It really does benefit the entire region,” he said. “With Oro Valley, people eat at our restaurants, some of the golfers stay in our resorts and people who come to the tournament usually take a trip on Tangerine and drive through our community. It is crucial for Accenture to stay here, and I am glad they committed through 2014.”
In Marana, Davidson said the truth is in the numbers when it comes to the economic impact.
“We have a sold out Ritz Carlton, we’ve seen a spike in retail sales every year it’s been here, and all of our restaurants have a really good week while the event is taking place,” he said.
Local charities also benefit from Match Play staying in Southern Arizona. In 2010, the event raised more than $1 million for charity, and since 2007 has raised more than $6.2 million.