Tuesday 24 April 2018

US PGA championship to move to May from 2019

CEO of PGA of America, Pete Bevacqua, speaks at a press conference before the start of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links on February 8, 2017 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
CEO of PGA of America, Pete Bevacqua, speaks at a press conference before the start of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links on February 8, 2017 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Phil Casey

The US PGA Championship will be played in May, rather than August, from 2019 tournament officials have confirmed.

The US PGA, which began as a match-play event in 1916 and became a stroke-play tournament in 1958, has been contested in July or August every year apart from 1971, when it was staged in February.

However, the PGA of America and PGA Tour have agreed to switch it from its traditional date to May, with the Players Championship moving from May to its old March date.

"In weighing the complex evolution of the golf calendar, the PGA of America's key objectives were to promote the best interests of our signature spectator Championship, do what is best for the game and its great players and find the most advantageous platform to fulfil our mission of serving our nearly 29,000 PGA professionals and growing the game," PGA of America chief executive officer Pete Bevacqua said.

"Our analysis began in 2013 and included an extensive list of factors, including having to shift the date every four years to accommodate the Olympic Games.

"In the end, we determined that playing the PGA Championship the week prior to Memorial Day in May, making it the second major championship of the golf calendar, will achieve those three objectives.

"The golf calendar is dramatically different, especially in the latter portions of the schedule, than it was in the 1970s when our PGA Championship took up residence in August.

"We are excited about this move to May. It provides our PGA Championship a strong landing spot on the calendar and a consistent major championship rhythm that golf fans can embrace."

Moving to May will limit the available courses for the US PGA due to weather conditions, but going from last to second has obvious appeal to a tournament which has previously used slogans such as 'Glory's Last Shot' in an attempt to make a virtue of its place in the schedule.

The biggest benefit to the PGA Tour is being able to complete the FedEx Cup play-offs before the start of the NFL and college football seasons.

In response to the move, the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, will move from May to September, beginning in 2019.

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: "Significant changes to the global golfing calendar have given us the opportunity to move the BMW PGA Championship to a more favourable date from 2019 onwards.

"Wentworth Club is an iconic location in the realm of British sport and the BMW PGA Championship is always hugely popular with the public as was seen in May when it launched our Rolex Series with 110,000 spectators in attendance over the course of the week.

"This is a new chapter for the event but we expect similar interest in the autumn, as was shown historically by the World Match Play Championship when it was played at Wentworth Club at that time of the year."

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