PGA set for July move in 2016

US PGA (File)
US PGA (File)

Golf's major championships will likely move forward a few weeks in three years to allow for the sport's return to the Olympic line-up at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

So says Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America, whose final major tournament of the year finds itself in direct schedule conflict with the first Olympic golf event since 1904.

"In all likelihood the PGA Championship would probably be played the latter part of July in 2016," Bishop said Wednesday on the eve of the start of the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club.

Bishop said nothing has been officially decided regarding the 2016 schedule, but a change will be needed with the Olympics moving into the time frame of the PGA, which in 2016 will be staged at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey.

Pushing the event back into September or October, where it could cause issues for the US PGA Tour playoffs or the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.

"I doubt seriously that it would be after Labor Day," Bishop told The Golf Channel. "I would think what you are going to see in 2016 probably would be a sliding forward of the majors."

As for October, "At this point, I don't see that being likely," Bishop said.

Moving the PGA Championship to late July could push the British Open ahead as well, with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem saying he is committed to keeping the World Golf Championships event at Akron, Ohio, the week before the PGA Championship.

Bishop said the benefits of golf's return to the Olympics more than outweigh the scheduling headaches.

"I think the worldwide exposure for golf that it's going to gain from the Olympics and the leadup to the Olympics is going to be good for the game in general," Bishop said.

"There's no question it's going to present some challenges in the schedule. But I would like to think that the major championships and the Ryder Cup are well enough established in the annals of golf that the Olympics is going to have no negative impact on any of those events in any way, shape or form."

Exactly how the Olympics would fit into the 2016 Ryder Cup selection process, or when rosters would be set for the event, also remains up in the air, according to PGA of America chief championships officer Kerry Haigh.

"Until we know the schedule, how it will fully shake out, we will then determine when points will stop and start or what the captain's picks," he said. "All of that will be discussed and talked about, but it is too early to give a definitive answer at this point."

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