US PGA Championship moved to May to avoid Olympics
Golf’s US PGA Championship, one of the sport’s four ‘major’ tournaments, is to take place in May instead of August from 2019 onwards.
The PGA of America said yesterday that the 2019 event at Bethpage Black in Farmington, New York will take place from 16 to 19 May.
As part of the changes, The Players Championship, the PGA Tour's flagship event, at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, which has until now been staged in May, will henceforth be contested in March.
The switch of the US PGA Championship had been expected, with Pete Bevacqua, the chief executive of the PGA of America, admitting on Tuesday that one of the reasons behind the decision was to avoid a clash with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Golf returned to the Olympic programme for last year’s games in Rio de Janeiro, but its inclusion meant that the fourth major of the year had to be brought forward to July.
In future, it will be the second major, following the US Masters in April, but before the US Open in June and the British Open in July.
National network CBS has shown the US PGA Championship since 1991 and holds rights until 2019. Avoiding a clash with future Olympics by staging the event in May could prove to be lucrative for the PGA of America when negotiations on the rights for the next cycle take place.
Bevacqua said: "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. For nearly 85 percent of our Membership, May is also on the front-end of the golf season. This date change will allow them to engage new players and introduce various Growth of the Game initiatives entering the heart of the golf season across much of the country."
He later told reporters: "We feel the television markets in general are stronger in May and we are 100-per-cent confident that we can continue to go to the great golf courses where we have brought this championship. We spent a lot of time determining and analysing that aspect of it."
Jay Monahan, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, added: “We are thrilled to announce these two significant changes, which will greatly enhance the professional golf calendar 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.”
This year's US PGA Championship takes place Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina from tomorrow until Sunday.
Following the announcement of the rescheduling from 2019 onwards, the European Tour has taken the decision to switch its PGA Championship held at Wentworth in south-east England from May until September.
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."