Sport Golf

Saturday 16 December 2017

Rory leads call for world tour as Major dates get shake-up

Rory McIlroy Photo: PA
Rory McIlroy Photo: PA

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy hailed the decision to move the US PGA Championship from August to May from 2019 and insisted that golf needs a definitive off-season to prevent fan fatigue and give players a chance to recharge.

With The Players moving from May to March, golf will have one big event every month with the Masters in April, the US PGA in May, the US Open in June, The Open in July and the FedEx Cup playoffs in August and September.

"I think it's great for the golf schedule," McIlroy said. "It just has a better flow to it, I think."

Pete Bevacqua, CEO of The PGA of America, confirmed that the change of date would give the stakeholders the wriggle room to bring forward the date of the Ryder Cup in future years.

But while PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan knocked the idea of an off-season on the head and defended the 46-week, wraparound PGA Tour season as something that "works very well for our product", McIlroy believes the players and the game would benefit from an annual blackout.

"I think that's one of the things that benefits the NFL so much is the exclusivity of it," McIlroy said. "They play, whatever it is, 16, 18 weeks a year. But for the other 30-odd weeks a year, everyone's still talking about it.

"They are talking about what's going to happen next season. The anticipation, the hype builds.

"I've always thought that an off-season in golf would be good. Not just for the players to get a little bit of rest and work on their games and whatever, but just from a fan perspective.

"So I'd be a big advocate for an off-season, if we ever had one."

McIlroy added: "People don't understand how difficult it is to play two Tours. You are playing from January to November. It's a lot of golf and you need some time off.

"We need a world tour. I think that's the only way."

As McIlroy was speaking, the European Tour announced that its flagship BMW PGA Championship would be moving from May to September in 2019.

Irish Independent

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