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A PGA Tour event in Myrtle Beach? There are discussions between the tour and local officials

The Grand Strand has never hosted a PGA Tour event, but might have one as early as 2024.

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The Myrtle Beach area could be hosting its first PGA Tour golf event by 2024 if negotiations between the tour and local officials come to fruition.

Karen Riordan, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau, said in a statement Thursday afternoon that the chamber is in talks with the PGA Tour to bring a tournament to the area.

“[The chamber] will release details regarding any future tournaments being held in our area when and if any agreements with the association are finalized,” the statement read, in part. “At this time there are no official contracts. Any public discussions on this matter could jeopardize reaching terms and the opportunity to host an event.”

According to the Post and Courier of Charleston, the tournament would be held in May and would begin with a four-year agreement, if one is reached.

The Post & Courier stated the chamber and Golf Tourism Solutions, a marketing and technology agency that promotes the Myrtle Beach market, have been working together in discussions with the tour, and S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism director Duane Parrish has urged lawmakers to financially support an opportunity to bring the PGA Tour to the Grand Strand.

GTS director of technology services Tracy Conner had no comment Thursday.

The Myrtle Beach area has hosted a myriad of significant pro and amateur tournaments, but never a PGA Tour event.

The Dunes Golf and Beach Club hosted the Senior Tour Championship – now known as the Champions Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship – for six years from 1994-99 before the event moved to TPC Myrtle Beach in 2000 prior to leaving the area.

Wachesaw Plantation East hosted an LPGA event from 1997-2000, and Barefoot Resort, which has hosted Canadian Tour events, is among the other area courses that have hosted pro tournaments.

The Dunes Club and the TPC, which was expected to host multiple Senior Tour Championships when it opened in 2000, would be candidates to host a PGA Tour event.

The Dunes Club has hosted the PGA of America’s national club pro championship, a U.S. Women’s Open and the finals of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, among other high-profile tournaments.

Riordan told the Post & Courier a likely host for the event is a “prominent golf course in Myrtle Beach . . . that will showcase everything that Myrtle Beach’s golf scene represents and has to offer.”

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The PGA Tour has been in South Carolina for 55 years with the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island.

The state has been home to a second PGA Tour event in each of the past two years, as Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland has hosted a pair of events that were displaced by the coronavirus pandemic.

It hosted the relocated 2021 RBC Canadian Open and the 2022 CJ Cup, which was created as an event in Korea.

Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course has hosted the state’s most prolific events in the PGA Championship in both 2012 and 2021, and the 1991 Ryder Cup.

Not all PGA Tour events are created equally. There are events for only the top players with elevated purses, regular weekly tour events, and tournaments held the same week as top-tier events – including the British Open, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational – with lesser purses.

Funding has always been a primary roadblock to the Myrtle Beach area hosting a PGA Tour event since there is little industry and no major corporations based in the area.

When the RBC Heritage went without a title sponsor for a fretful two years in 2010-11, the tournament was seeking $8 million annually from a title sponsor.

The purse of a regular PGA Tour event this year is at least $7.4 million, and the events held concurrently with top-tier events have purses of $3.8 million. Total sponsorships typically cover much more than the cost of the purse.

Charity dollars are put back into the community by tour events, however.

“Obviously it sounds very positive with the chamber and the state and GTS being able to come up with that kind of funding for a multi-year tournament. That’s awesome,” said Dunes Club head professional Dennis Nicholl. “I think that has always been the biggest hurdle of Myrtle Beach is where does the funding come from? Because we don’t have any massive corporations or anything.

“. . . Until you see the money there’s no sense in even talking about it. If that’s the case and we’re able to host a PGA Tour event in Myrtle Beach it will be great for the whole area.”

PGA Tour spokesperson Joel Schuchmann said the tour couldn’t say much about an event in Myrtle Beach, adding that “new market discussions are a constant element of our business.”

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