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“He actually called me about it,” Woods said Saturday after his third-round 72 at the Masters. “I’m not affiliated with the library (Obama Presidential Center), but we’re working with the state and the parks.
Woods, via his TGR design firm, is the project’s lead architect. The plan still faces significant hurdles in terms of navigating politics, satisfying area residents, boosting infrastructure (a $30 million underpass at 67th and South Shore Drive) and raising funds needed to transform Jackson Park and South Shore into a course that’s playable for the public but rigorous enough to host a BMW Championship on the PGA Tour.
Mark Rolfing, the NBC/Golf Channel analyst and founder of Chicago Parks Golf Alliance spearheading the plan, remains exceedingly confident.
Woods’ top designer, Beau Welling, met with community leaders in Chicago in February to detail the latest plans for the 7,341-yard layout.
The plan also calls for a six-hole “short course,” practice areas, a new clubhouse and a robust caddie program spearheaded by the Western Golf Association that would yield summer jobs and college scholarships.
“Tiger Woods has made it very clear he wants to be involved in very, very meaningful golf courses,” Welling said from the South Shore Cultural Center. “I don’t think there’s a golf course I’ve ever seen with the potential to be as meaningful as this.”
Woods clearly feels the same, saying: “I think we’re going to have a chance to give the community something pretty neat and pretty substantial. It’s something very different than what they’ve ever had in the city of Chicago.”
The next key date for the project is Wednesday, when Chicago Park District officials are to present their South Lakefront Framework Plan to the Park District’s Board of Commissioners.