A PGA tournament in Morgan Hill has always been the aim

News that a PGA golf tournament might be headed to Morgan Hill,
while a bit premature, is certainly cause for celebration, not
least for John Fry, electronics retailing tycoon and benefactor of
the American Institute of Mathematics, which would host the
event.
It’s a classic case study in ‘ask for forgiveness, not permission’

News that a PGA golf tournament might be headed to Morgan Hill, while a bit premature, is certainly cause for celebration, not least for John Fry, electronics retailing tycoon and benefactor of the American Institute of Mathematics, which would host the event.

AIM is currently based in Palo Alto, but construction on a $50-million, 166,000-square foot conference center is currently under way in southeast Morgan Hill, at the site of the former Flying Lady restaurant.

Clearly, such a tournament has been Fry’s aim – pun intended – for years. The journey to such a prestigious goal has been fraught with difficulties of Fry’s own doing when land was developed as a golf course without proper permits in place. The course’s building was, in fact, a classic case of “ask for forgiveness, not permission.”

There are many obstacles – but not any that can’t be overcome

The City of Morgan Hill has worked to retroactively correct the problem to the greatest degree possible and now it appears that the PGA is interested in bringing a tournament to Fry’s super-exclusive course. Because the conference center is home to threatened California red-legged frogs and 51 acres of habitat for endangered bay checkerspot butterflies, any tournament plans would have to pass new environmental review. In addition, a tournament of this size will present traffic and parking challenges. However, as a practical matter, we have to believe that if Gilroy can host a Garlic Festival, if Pebble Beach can host a huge PGA event, if Half Moon Bay can host a Pumpkin Festival, then Morgan Hill can swing a PGA tournament. That’s not to say that it will be easy, but it can be done.

It’s not if Gilroy will face these same circumstances, but when

It’s a rare opportunity to host a PGA tournament, and one that should not be squandered. Fry, AIM and the regional community should work together to bring it to fruition. It would be fun to watch the professionals wrestle with the longest course in North America at nearly 8,000 yards.

Modeling the charitable event after that wonderful event we have here in Gilroy – the Garlic Festival – is our lone suggestion. The charity appeal of the tournament should go beyond the laudable First Tee program that the PGA supports, and include as many community groups as possible. In addition, hospitality business owners from around South County should work together to present an appealing package to the PGA as the project develops. We urge elected and appointed officials to seize this opportunity to bring the prestige and economic boost of a major PGA event to South County.

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