The PGA Championship will move from August to May from 2019 and become the second major of the season rather than the last.
In a move announced by the PGA on the eve of this year’s tournament at Quail Hollow, the change in schedule was revealed with a major shake-up of the calendar.
The PGA Championship has traditionally always been the fourth and final major of the professional golf season. Staged in August, it follows the Masters in April, the U.S. Open in June and the Open Championship in July.
That will all change from 2019 onwards with the PGA Championship slipping into the calendar between the Masters and U.S. Open in the hope of creating heightened interest in the event.
The switch in dates creates one major event each month between April and July—the curtain on the season’s Grand Slam events will therefore fall with the Open Championship.
Announcing the move, PGA of America chief executive officer Pete Bevacqua said: “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.”
One of the key reasons behind the switch was the collision between the PGA Championship and the Olympic games during the four-year cycle—something that had to be contended with in 2016 for the Rio Games when golf debuted.
Golf will again be included on the Olympic roster for 2020 when the Games visit Tokyo, so the switch in scheduling from August to May ensures the major is not undermined.
The 2019 tournament, which will be the 101st PGA Championship, will be held at Bethpage Black, which has previously hosted the U.S. Open twice in 2002 and 2009 and will stage the 2024 Ryder Cup.
A welcome decision
Former PGA Championship winner Tiger Woods was among a number of big names to support the decision. He tweeted: “Really like and support decision by PGA and the TOUR. A big event every month and flexibility with schedule.”
Rory McIlroy added: “I think a May date is a really good thing, and just from a player’s perspective, to now have one really big tournament every month from March, THE PLAYERS, to the Masters to the PGA Championship to the U.S. Open to the Open, and to have the FedExCup most likely at end of August or start of September; it just has a better flow to it, I think.”
Dustin Johnson commented: “It’s going to kind of space everything out a little bit more instead of it all being kind of crammed together. So it gives you a little bit more time to prepare.”
In a knock-on effect on the PGA TOUR schedule, THE PLAYERS Championship will take place in March rather than May each year from 2019, while the BMW Championship on the European Tour will also have a new date in September from its traditional May slot.
See also: Quail Hollow Key Holes