Major schedule revamp expected to send PGA to May – reports

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CHARLOTTE: A major golf schedule revamping that sees the PGA Championship move from August to May is expected to be announced on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

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Golf Digest reported Monday on its website that the PGA Championship will be moved three months earlier, leaving the British Open as the last major every year, starting in 2019 when the event is slated for Bethpage Black in suburban New York, site of the 2002 and 2009 US Opens.

Royal and Ancient chief executive Martin Slumbers said on the eve of last month’s British Open that becoming the year’s last major was not a worry for officials.

“I don’t really mind whether we’re the third major or the fourth major,” he said. “We try to do our very best with The Open Championship to make it as good as we possibly can do. I can absolutely understand some of the logic, and if it ends up as resulting in more people watching our game, then that’s a great outcome.”

The US PGA Tour’s Players Championship, which was staged in March from 1977-2006 before moving to its current May slot, would return to March in the shuffle, according to the report.

The Florida Times-Union, the largest newspaper in the US PGA Tour’s headquarters area where the Players is contested, cited two unnamed sources saying schedule details would be announced on Tuesday at the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.

A news conference involving US PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and Pete Bevacqua, chief executive of the PGA of America, was announced Monday for Tuesday at 1 p.m. (1700 GMT) at the North Carolina course.

The move would allow the PGA Tour to start their FedExCup playoffs earlier and finish them in early September, avoiding conflicts with American football for telecast audiences.

Pressure for such a move grew with the return of golf to the Olympic sports lineup last year in Rio de Janeiro, which forced the PGA to be played in late July, two weeks after the British Open and the week before the Olympics began in Brazil. That tight fit that would not be repeated in 2020 ahead of the Tokyo Olympics if the PGA Championship moves to May.

The PGA Championship has not been played in May since 1949, when Sam Snead won the title at Richmond, Virginia, in a match-play format.

The switch would not impact next year’s 100th PGA Championship, set for Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.

Other future PGA Championship sites already announced include San Francisco’s Harding Park in 2020, Kiawah Island in 2021, Trump National Bedminster in 2022 and Oak Hill in 2023.

The date change might also open the door for several southern US venues that have not hosted the PGA in the hottest part of summer in August. No major has been staged in Florida since the 1987 PGA and none in Texas since the 1969 US Open.

AFP

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