"But from our perspective, the real loss is in the fact that we've been trying to get the men's tour to make Philly a regular tour stop, and this is going to set back that effort."
Aronimink, in Newtown Square, said Wednesday that it would not host the 1993 PGA Championship because it could not comply by then with professional golf's new minority-membership requirements. Aronimink, which has no black members or women as full members, said it had a seven-year waiting list of 100 applicants.
Both the PGA of America and the PGA tour adopted policies late this summer requiring private courses that host its tournaments to demonstrate non- discriminatory membership practices by having minorities and women among their members.
Aronimink's most prominent golfer, two-time U.S. Amateur champion Jay Sigel of Berwyn, was disappointed by the recent turn of events.
"I think it's an unfortunate day for golf, an unfortunate day for Philadelphia and an unfortunate day for Aronimink," Sigel said yesterday. ''It would have been a good tournament for Philadelphia."
Brenner said Aronimink's decision put Philadelphia at a competitive disadvantage in trying to attract a PGA tour event, although others in the golf community disagreed yesterday.
"The tour, as I understand it, has few or no openings," Brenner said. "I dare say those responsible for the tour are going to look at communities where they feel they can run their events and not get into the kind of policy issues that have given rise to this particular situation.
"I hope I'm wrong, but if they feel they will have less problems in other parts of the country, they'll probably look at those places first."
The last regular PGA tour stop in the Philadelphia area was the 1980 Industrial Valley Bank Classic at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club in Lafayette Hill.
The area's only current PGA tour event is the Bell Atlantic Classic for seniors, which was moved from Chester Valley Golf Club to White Manor Country Club, both in Malvern, two weeks ago.
Kevin Scanlon, executive director of the McNeil Classic, an exhibition tournament for pros held for the last three years at White Manor, is hoping to land a PGA tour event. He said he didn't think Aronimink's decision would hurt his efforts.
"I think it's one club's decision, and I can't believe it would have any influence whatsoever on the PGA's decision to come to Philadelphia," Scanlon said last night. "Why would the PGA cross off one of the biggest markets in the country it is not currently in because one club doesn't subscribe to their new requirements?"
Cherry Hill golf pro Dick Smith, who next month will assume the presidency of the PGA of America, also downplayed any potential ripple effect from Aronimink's decision.
"I'm sure, down the road, Philadelphia will get its share of these kinds of events," Smith said.
Smith did agree with Brenner that the loss of a PGA Championship would cause the area to miss an economic boost. Smith said spending before, during and after the week-long event might have reached as much as $30 million.
"At Shoal Creek, the numbers being thrown around were in excess of $30 million," Smith said of the Birmingham, Ala., club that was the site of PGA Championship in August. "I think in 1993 in Philadelphia, in this market, the numbers could have been significantly more." Protest over Shoal Creek's membership practices led to the new non-discriminatory membership policies.
Brenner said the sports congress' role in Aronimink's bid for the '93 PGA Championship was to sketch out lodging, transportation and other support services required for the tournament. With three years left, the congress was just beginning to solidify the plans that made up the proposal.
"We know there will be empty hotel rooms, principally out in the Valley Forge, King of Prussia and Main Line areas, although there were plans to use some downtown hotels, too," Brenner said.
Brenner said that the last time he talked with Aronimink officials was two weeks ago, and that he wasn't entirely surprised by Wednesday's decision.
"I was hoping these guys were ready to go into the 1990s, but I guess they're not ready for that," he said.