SOUTH SHORE — Tiger Woods has signed on for a $30 million renovation of the South Shore and Jackson Park golf courses, city officials announced Sunday, calling Chicago "one of America's greatest golf cities."
Woods’ TGR Design will take the lead on remaking the two lakefront golf courses into a course capable of hosting PGA Tour events like the BMW Championship, according to a company statement.
“This project can create incredible possibilities for the community on the South Side,” Woods said in a statement. “We want to design a course that everyone will enjoy.”
Work would begin in the spring to convert the nine-hole South Shore Golf Course and the 18-hole Jackson Park Golf Course into an 18-hole course with either a short course or a par-three course, according to initial reports.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the project from the city's perspective is about more than the golf course.
"This is more than simply a unique opportunity to renovate a historic public golf course, it’s a unique opportunity to drive resources and investments on the South Side," Emanuel said in news release. "And even with this restoration, the course will remain a real community asset because we're going to ensure that the neighborhood golfers who have been hitting the links here for years will be able to continue to access and enjoy it at a reduced rate."
The course would open in 2020, just as construction is expected to be wrapping up on President Barack Obama’s presidential library in Jackson Park, close to where golfers would tee off for the first hole.
Unconfirmed reports in the Tribune said Obama personally pushed for Woods’ involvement in redesigning the course.
“I appreciate the support of Chicago area fans,” Woods said. “They know golf and have been a big part of my victories at both Medinah and Cog Hill. I hope this project will draw more local kids to the game in this fantastic sports town.”
The course is expected to stretch 7,300 to 7,600 yards.
Woods' website lists a handful of golf course projects, including Blackjack near Houston, El Cardonal in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and Pacific Links in Beijing, China.
The announcement of Woods' involvement came as Emanuel and Chicago Park District CEO Michael Kelly announced the formation of a non-profit entity called the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance to raise funds and help develop the South Side courses. The alliance will be led by Mark Rolfing, is a golf TV analyst who lives in Hawaii and has been an ambassador for the sport in that state, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
“I never dreamt that Tiger would do this. But I think it has a chance to really make a difference,” Rolfing, a Chicago native, told the Honolulu paper. “It is about youth and letting kids play free.”
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