Thursday, June 05, 2008

TPC San Antonio Is Now His Lively 'Hood

If you're a huge golf geek - not just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill golf geek, but a deeply disturbed golf geek - you might recognize the name of Tom Lively. You'd have to be a huge golf geek to know who Lively is without being a part of his profession, because Lively is a golf course superintendent. You know, those guys you probably never think of unless there's a bare patch on a green.

But the superintendents can make or break a golf course, and one of the few times they get their just props is during major championships, when setting up the course, fine-tuning it, becomes the most ... important ... task ... on ... earth.

Tom Lively is the new superintendent, the man in charge of growing the grass and keeping conditions perfect, for the TPC San Antonio courses. The San Antonio Express-News reported that Lively has been hired by the PGA Tour to leave major championship venue Medinah Country Club and is now in San Antonio, preparing to plant.

The 49-year-old Illinois native has arrived in San Antonio after seven years as grounds manager at the celebrated Medinah Country Club near Chicago. There, Lively oversaw the transformation of the layout’s famed No. 3 championship course, a Rees Jones-designed tract, in 2002.

Medinah hosted the PGA Championship two summers ago and will handle the Ryder Cup in 2012.

"I loved Medinah," Lively said Tuesday. "But one of my goals has always been to be involved with a course, or in this case courses, from the ground up as far as the construction and the growing. I’ve been very blessed in my career, and coming to San Antonio was not a hard decision for me."

The PGA Tour’s hiring of Lively, whose résumé also includes management stints at Butler National Golf Course, Ridge Country Club and Ruth Lake Country Club — all Illinois layouts — is the next heavyweight move in an anticipated push to raise San Antonio’s profile on the headline men’s tours.

And the next move after this, the Express-News reports, is likely the announcement that the PGA Tour Texas Open is moving to a coveted Spring date. The Texas Open is expected to move from its current location to the TPC's Greg Norman course as soon as the course is ready for it (likely by 2010), and the city's AT&T Championship on the senior circuit will likewise move to the TPC layout - the Pete Dye course - when its new home is ready.

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