The PGA Tour and Robert Trent Jones Golf Club are in the final stages of negotiating a contract that would bring the Presidents Cup back to the Washington area in 2005 for the fourth time.

The Presidents Cup is a match-play competition between teams of American golfers and international players not eligible to play for Europe in the Ryder Cup. The four-day event is run by the PGA Tour, and will be played next in South Africa in the fall of 2003.

"We anticipate a trip to [PGA headquarters in] Ponte Vedra [Fla.] with several RTJ trustees to work out the contract terms still remaining," said George Burger, an RTJ member and chairman of the club's tournament committee. "I don't think it will be long before there is a positive announcement."

Burger said both sides have a few issues to work out, but nothing that would prevent the tournament from returning to the Gainesville course on the shores of Lake Manassas. The U.S. has won the three previous Cups staged at RTJ, including the last competition in 2000.

A postponement of the 2001 Ryder Cup forced the tour to reschedule the Presidents Cup in odd years. After the 2005 competition, it likely will go to Canada, with Toronto considered a leading candidate. Vancouver and Montreal are also attempting to attract the event.

Burger said that while RTJ would welcome being the permanent U.S. home for the tournament, the PGA Tour is not ready to take that step.

"I expect RTJ to have to compete for the Cup every time it's played in this country," Burger said. "We have a lot going for us, but we always have to get better and produce a better tournament."