Following a year of unknown fate, the Houston Open found new life in 2018, with businessman and Astros owner Jim Crane spearheading a consortium to save the event. The endeavor proved a success, signing a deal to keep the tournament in operation through 2023. On Wednesday, another piece of the puzzle fell into place.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Houston City Council members unanimously voted to approve plans for a renovation of Memorial Park, a public course in the city limits. Memorial hosted the 1947 Houston Open, and returned as host from 1951 to 1963.
The proposal had been rumored since the fall, when the Astros Foundation signed renowned architect Tom Doak to oversee the course's renovation, with Brooks Koepka serving as the PGA Tour player consultant. However, red tape held up the proceedings; one council member requested an extra $250,000 fee from the foundation to the city's parks and recreation department, while some citizens worried Memorial Park—described as the "anti-country club" of Houston—would begin to charge excessive rates.
With the council's vote, a $3.5 million renovation can be begin within days.
As part of the deal, Crane's foundation will give $1 million to the city. "As one of the council members said it's a win, win, win, win," Crane said. Everybody wins."
Crane's ties with the sport run deep. He belongs to some of the most prestigious clubs in the country (Muirfield Village, Monterey Peninsula, Nantucket, and Castle Pines) and owns Floridian National Golf Club, a popular hang-out for PGA Tour players. He once topped the list of Best CEO Golfers in America.
The tournament, which moved to the fall slate as part of the new tour agreement, won't move to Memorial Park until 2020, with the Golf Club of Houston—which has held the event since 2003—hosting the competition this year.