The former number one player in the world seems to be a big fan of this week’s venue and loves the fact that a major championship is being contested on a public course. In talking about how important it is for more tournaments to be held at venues such as Harding Park, Rory McIlroy also disclosed the last time he paid to play a round of golf. As it turns out, it’s been quite a while.
TPC Harding Park is one of 33 public courses to host a major championship
TPC Harding Park, which first opened in 1925 and is named for President Warren G. Harding, is a pure municipal golf course that is open to anyone and everyone. It was a regular stop on the PGA Tour in the 1960s, hosting the Lucky International Open until 1969, but as the course conditions worsened over the years, professional golf stayed away. Outside of being used as a parking lot when the U.S. Open came to the Olympic Club in 1998, Harding Park failed to host a pro tournament for more than three decades.
But following a huge renovation, the course once again gained national attention. Harding Park hosted a World Golf Championships event in 2005, which was won by Tiger Woods. It hosted the Presidents Cup in 2009 and the WGC-Match Play event in 2015, which was won by none other than Rory McIlroy.
TPC Harding Park is now receiving more attention than ever as television viewers all around the world are watching the course make things very difficult for some of the best players in the world at the 2020 PGA Championship. Harding Park is the 33rd public course in the world to host a major championship and Rory McIlroy is loving it.
Rory McIlroy feels it’s important for big tournaments to be played at public courses
While Rory McIlroy knows that private courses are some of the best in the world, he certainly understands how cool it is for golf fans to be able to watch the best players in the world tee it up on courses they can actually play themselves. He spoke with Golfweek from the PGA Championship at Harding Park about the importance of public courses.
“I think it’s very important. I’ve always said that golf, everywhere in the world, but I think especially in the United States, it can become more accessible still, and I think bringing the biggest tournaments in the world to public courses is a step in the right direction.
“We’re always going to go to private courses because some of the private courses are some of the best in the world, and they’re courses that test the top players.
“But at the same time, it’s very refreshing that we do come to places like here, Bethpage (in New York), Torrey Pines (in San Diego). It is important to let the public see us on golf courses that they’ve played before, that are accessible for them, that aren’t too expensive to get on.”Rory McIlroy
So while Rory McIlroy says that he’d pay to play TPC Harding Park, it’s likely that the course wouldn’t charge him, right? So exactly when did the former number one player in the world last pay for a round of golf?
Rory McIlroy reveals the last time he paid to play golf
In the same interview with Golfweek, Rory McIlroy revealed that he hasn’t paid to play a round of golf in 15 years. When asked when, where, and how much, McIlroy knew immediately and it’s a pretty famous venue.
“Valderrama, 2005. 250 Euros.”Rory McIlroy
McIlroy was just a 16-year-old amateur in 2005 and was still four years away from his first professional win. But he certainly picked a nice golf course to play that day 15 years ago. Valderrama, which is a public venue, is seen as the top course in Spain and was once voted the top course in all of Europe. It was once a regular stop on the European Tour and has also hosted two World Golf Championships. Valderrama was also the venue for the 1997 Ryder Cup and now costs 400 Euros to play, which equates to just over $471.