CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AFP) - The PGA Championship will move from its typical August date on golf's global calendar to May starting in 2019 at Bethpage Black, PGA of America chief executive Pete Bevacqua announced on Tuesday (Aug 8).
The move comes after years of discussion about a switch, pushed by golf's return to the Olympics in 2016 that forced last year's event to be played only two weeks after the British Open and two weeks before the Olympic tournament in Rio.
In a related move, the US PGA Players Championship played at the TPC Sawgrass layout in Florida, will return to its March date after being played in May since 2007.
The announcement came two days before the start of the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.
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Bevacqua said the PGA of America had three major reasons to make the move, saying it was best for the event, the players and the sport.
"Our analysis began in 2013 and included an extensive list of factors, including having to shift the date every four years to accommodate the Olympic Games," Bevacqua said.
"In the end, we determined that playing the PGA Championship the week prior to Memorial Day in May, making it the second major championship of the golf calendar, will achieve those three objectives." July's British Open will now become the final major championship of every season, with the Masters in early April, the PGA in late May, the US Open in June and then the British Open.
The PGA has been played in nine different months since its 1916 inception and has been the last major of the season from 1959 through this year except for a one-off move in 1971.
The 100th PGA Championship will be staged next August at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis as planned.
Bethpage Black will host the 101st edition from May 16-19 in 2019, the first PGA to be played in May since Sam Snead's triumph in 1949 at Richmond, Virginia.
"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," Bevacqua said.
"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." The Players move back to mid-March as a prime tuneup for the Masters was welcomed by US PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.
"The changes we're unveiling today give significant flexibility to create a schedule including the FedExCup Playoffs that is in the best interests of players, fans, tournaments, communities and our partners, from start to finish," Monahan said.
The move will allow the US PGA to conclude its playoffs before the popular NFL and collegiate American football telecasts dominate US sports viewership in September.