Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

PGA Tour Excites Mexico City

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

PGA Tour Excites Mexico City

Article excerpt

MEXICO CITY * Golf in Mexico City is buzzing this week.

Hundreds of fans, many of them children, leaned against the ropes behind the 18th green as Rory McIlroy finished up a practice round at Chapultepec Golf Club. They screamed his name and shrieked when McIlroy walked their way to sign their programs, flags and hats. Until Wednesday, odds are they had only seen him on television.

Golf in Miami has gone silent this week.

For 55 consecutive years, Doral was a staple of the Florida swing, even when it became a World Golf Championship in 2007. Donald Trump bought the resort in 2012 and promised to make it "one of the great places anywhere in the world for golf." The PGA Tour signed a deal that would keep it at Doral through 2023, unless a new sponsor didn't want to be there.

And that's why it's no longer there.

In the middle of his presidential campaign, Trump lost business to Mexico, of all places. It was more about finances than politics for the PGA Tour, which couldn't find a sponsor that wanted to be at Trump Doral.

The Mexico Championship, which starts Thursday with the strongest field of the year, is now sponsored by Grupo Salinas.

"I really like Doral. I like what Gil Hanse did with the course. I like going there," Phil Mickelson said. "But as a World Golf Championship event, it's not a bad thing to move it to a different part of the world outside the United States. To bring the best players in the world here to Mexico City I think is a really good thing. It's going to be a fun event. It's been a very well-run event. The people have been terrific, so I think it's a good thing in the long run."

Mickelson is among four players at the Mexico Championship who played in the first edition of this tournament at Valderrama in 1999, the year the World Golf Championships began. This is the one WGC event that was designated to travel, and it once did Spain for two years, Ireland in 2002 and 2004 and England in 2006. And then when Doral was lacking a title sponsor, it morphed into a WGC.

Lee Westwood was at Valderrama that year. He echoed the thoughts of McIlroy, Adam Scott and others who believe the "world" in WGC is there for a reason. …

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