Feb 17, 2014 7:16 PM by Nathan O'Neal
MARANA - Some of the best golfers in the world are gearing up for the Accenture Match Play Championship. The possibility that the tournament will not return to Southern Arizona next year was on everyone's mind throughout the first day of practice.
Match Play is bringing 64 of the top 67 professional golfers to Dove Mountain this year.
The weather conditions of the initial practices on Monday were in stark contrast from a year ago.
Last year snow forced delays of Match play, costing Accenture nearly $250,000.
Monday's practice swings were done in a much warmer climate.
"The weather is gorgeous right now and I can't imagine it leaving this area in the future," said Bill Weyers, who comes out to Match Play every year.
As Jim Furyk made his practice swings, the University of Arizona graduate said the tournament has been plagued by uncertain weather in recent history.
"Honestly this tournament has been snake bitten by weather for years. Last year it came to a head with the snow but I can't remember the last time we had good weather to be honest with you," Furyk said.
Still, there is some hope for the tournament remaining in Southern Arizona as the pros and spectators enjoyed an undeniably great start in terms of weather.
"The sky is bluer, the cactus is greener... The birds are tweeting louder... People getting autographs ... People having a great time," said Gerald Goodman, the Executive Director for the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Goodman said it's hard to walk way from weather like this but admits that talks are currently going on across the country concerning the future of the tournament.
"This is the last year of the contract with Accenture the company. Negotiations for the future of this event and where we're going to be... That's all happening down in Florida in the home office of the PGA Tour. We're working hard to make it the best 2014 it can be," Goodman told News 4 Tucson.
No decision has officially been made regarding the future of the tournament, Goodman said.
Here are some photos from today's practice round:
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