PGA Championship to move

PGA Tour (File)
PGA Tour (File)

Louisville - Golfers will play three major championships in a span of 46 days in the run-up to the sports return to the Olympic lineup at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

The PGA of America announced Wednesday that it will move the 2016 PGA Championship, scheduled for Baltusrol in suburban New York, from the event's traditional August date to July 28-31.

The Wanamaker Trophy will be awarded only five days before the start of the Rio Olympics, the August 5-21 event in Brazil to be the first Games to feature golf since 1904 at St. Louis.

"It's a condensed schedule," PGA of America chief executive officer Pete Bevacqua said.

"Obviously with the Olympics, it's also a Ryder Cup year, you throw in the (PGA playoffs), so it's a very congested schedule."

With the move, 2016 will see the US Open played at Oakmont on June 16-19 and the British Open at Royal Troon on July 14-17, leaving only one week between the awarding of the Claret Jug and the first PGA practice session.

Not since 1971 has the PGA Championship been played outside August and that was because the time of year was considered too hot to stage the event in Florida, where it was won by Jack Nicklaus in February.

"We actually feel really good about it," Bevacqua said.

"We think an end of July date in that part of the country and the major metropolitan area just outside of New York makes a lot of sense.

"Less people are on vacation, more people are in town and we think it will work out as a real benefit to the 2016 PGA Championship."

The move was made in conjunction with fellow major sanctioners the Royal and Ancient, Augusta National and the US Golf Association.

PGA of America president Ted Bishop said officials were concerned that the PGA will lose prestige not being a part of the qualifying period for the Olympics because it comes so close to Rio.

"We are very sensitive about the fact that the PGA Championship needs to have relevance in an Olympic year," Bishop said. "And based on the scheduling in 2016 and the wraparound world golf rankings that will be used to determine the US Olympic team, that will not be the case in 2016."

The PGA was mindful of scheduling options ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when it selected San Francisco's Harding Park to host that year's PGA Championship, providing scheduling options that could see the event moved earlier to become a greater factor in the deciding of 2020 Olympians.

"When we made the Harding Park announcement for 2020, one of the things we liked about the San Francisco market was the flexibility going forward in an Olympic year to possibly even examine where the PGA Championship would fall, possibly earlier in the schedule so thatit does play a very important part in the selection of the US Olympic team," Bishop said.

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