PGA Championship will move to May beginning in 2019 at Bethpage Black
The reshuffling of golf's major season will begin in two years
The PGA of America has announced that its flagship event, the PGA Championship, will move to May starting in 2019.
This move was expected and allows the majors to stretch their legs a bit with the PGA Championship as the second major each season instead of the fourth. Rather than the last three majors being bunched up in a seven-week span, they will be spaced out more with the Masters in April, PGA Championship in May, U.S. Open in June and Open Championship in July.
It will also allow The Players Championship, which is currently held in May, to move back to March, giving the PGA Tour five consecutive months of huge tournaments preceding the FedEx Cup Playoffs. It also gives the PGA Tour a little bit of flexibility to shorten the season and have everything end before football starts around Labor Day.
"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," said PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua in a statement. "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."
It's a win-win all the way around, though the PGA of America does lose some of its ability to go to more northern courses that would potentially be too cold to host a tournament in May. Now, host locations can expand with the PGA Championship set to be held in San Francisco in 2020.
This will be tested in Year 1 of the move, when the PGA Championship will be held at Bethpage Black on Long Island from May 16-19, 2019, although that didn't seem to be much of an issue for Golf Digest's Ron Whitten, who tested the track in May of this year.
The PGA Championships after that will be held at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco (2020), Kiawah in South Carolina (2021), Trump International in New Jersey (2022) and Oak Hill in New York (2023).
Ultimately, I think this will be seen as a great move by the PGA of America for the sport. The golf season (especially on the PGA Tour) is far too long and any tightening that can be accomplished should be done. It also provides some leniency in Olympic years so we don't get a situation like we did last year where the final three majors are played in a span of seven weeks.
"We are thrilled to announce these two significant changes, which will greatly enhance the professional golf calendar starting in 2019," added PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan whose flagship even will be played in March starting in 2019.
"Our thanks to the PGA of America for its partnership in what will allow both organizations to meet our short- and long-term objectives, while delivering incredibly compelling golf to our fans around the world."
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