As we write this, the world's top golfers not named Tiger are descending on Irving for the Byron Nelson Championship. It's a big deal, one of the region's biggest sporting events and driver of an estimated $35 million in economic activity.
But before play begins on Thursday, the city of Dallas would like to make an announcement: It has officially stolen the Nelson. The PGA inked a 10-year deal yesterday that will bring the tournament to the Trinity Forest Golf Course come 2019.
There was never much of a question that this would happen. Mayor Rawlings wouldn't have made such a show of touting the course as a savior for southern Dallas had there been so much as a sliver of doubt. But the contract is tangible proof, if any were needed, that the golf course is actually going to be built.
The news is not being welcomed by everyone. If you're someone like, say, Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau director Maura Gast, you might say scheduling the announcement for eve of the tournament is "tacky." You might even tack on an "incredibly," which Gast did when she was contacted by the Morning News.
But we shouldn't let small-minded provincialism obscure the true reason for the Byron Nelson and the Trinity Forest course. As Salesmanship Club of Greater Dallas president Charles Spradley put it to the Morning News: "As much as we love golf, it's about the children."
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The only thing now blocking underprivileged children frolicking on their separate nine-hole course near the private Trinity Forest Golf Course is SMU, which is still negotiating the terms of a deal to move its golf program there. The city expects the agreement will be in place by August, but it seems the university has maneuvered itself into fantastic bargaining position, since if they walk away the deal falls apart. If you see SMU's golf coach roaming the fairways in a gold-plated golf cart next season, you'll know they used that position to their advantage.