Beginning May 2019, the annual PGA Championship date will be moved permanently from the middle of August to May and the PLAYERS Championship will move from May back to March, its original month. The PGA Championship will continuously move to different venues around the United States as it always has, and the TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida will continue to host the PLAYERS since it started to back in 1982. The changes made had a critical change to several events worldwide including the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW European PGA Championship, being moved from May to September and also the PGA Club Professional Championship moving from July to March as well.
PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua commented during the PGA championship saying, “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 championship, do what is best for the game and its players, and find the most advantageous platform to fulfill our mission serving our nearly 29,000 PGA members.” A less generic, personal version of paraphrasing what Bevacqua said is that the PGA finally realized that its initial idea of PGA Tour playoffs in September was not successful because it couldn’t compete with TV ratings against football season, so it is readjusting the schedule so FedEx Cup playoffs end before NFL football begins its regular season.
Inevitably, the world is now based on TV ratings and sponsor partners who allow the exposure and financial support that the golf industry thrives upon. The scheduled change will inevitably not be in complete support, especially with certain venues that will no longer be considered to host the tournament due to the time of year. Courses in the upper midwest and northeast that have hosted several PGA Championships over the years including Hazeltine CC, Whistling Straits, and Oakland Hills will not have the opportunity to showcase their greens due to the possibility of winter kill, adverse course conditions, and possible cold temperatures.
There is also a consideration that future sites that have already committed in the northeast sites will be dependent on their course conditions due to weather which typically. With that possibility in mind, below is the list of future venues where the PGA Championship will be hosted during the month of May:
—2019: Bethpage Black Course, New York.
—2020: Harding Park, San Francisco.
—2021: Kiwah Island, South Carolina.
—2022: Trump National, New Jersey.
—2023: Oak Hill, New York.
I believe the decision was a well thought out, proactive step that will enable the PGA Tour and its fans the opportunities to see a major tournament in five consecutive months plus the schedule modification to the FedEx Playoffs, enabling the players to showcase their “Super Bowl” event at the tour championship in a timely manner. Since its inception in 1916, the PGA Championship has been played in nine different months. Hopefully for the sake of its fans and players, the tournament will now have a permanent home in May.