PGA shift wins support from Johnson, McIlroy

CHARLOTTE • Top-ranked Dustin Johnson and four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy applauded moving the PGA Championship to May, but their hopes for a golf off-season are not likely to be realised soon.

The PGA of America announced on Tuesday that the tournament would shift to May, starting in 2019 at Bethpage Black.

"It's great for the golf schedule," McIlroy said. "A May date for the PGA of America is a really good thing just from a player's perspective... The announcement I think has been very well received by a lot of the players in the locker room."

The schedule features one big event a month from the Players in March as a tune-up for the Masters in April, with the PGA now in mid-May, the US Open in mid-June and the British Open in mid-July, ahead of the US PGA play-offs and a Ryder or Presidents Cup.

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"Obviously it's still a couple years away, but I'm excited to play a schedule like that going forward," the Northern Irishman added. "It just has a better flow to it."

The August-September schedule overload had been an issue since the US PGA Tour play-offs began.

"I actually like the changes they are going to make," Johnson said. "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."

The golfers added that they would like an off-season.

"Not just for the players to get a little bit of rest and work on their games and whatever, but just from a fan perspective," McIlroy said. "Create a little bit of hype before the season starts again. So I'd be a big advocate for an off-season, if we ever had one."

Defending PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker added: "An off-season does sound nice... Get your body back in shape, get your head right, just relax."

But US PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan played down the notion, citing the 46 US Tour events plus others on Tours worldwide with different timetables.

"At this point, I don't see that," he said of an off-season. "There are 46 events and a lot of players will say you're playing 25 weeks and that's 21 weeks you have off. That's five months of free time."

US PGA seasons now open in October, just after the Tour Championship ends the prior campaign.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2017, with the headline 'PGA shift wins support from Johnson, McIlroy'. Print Edition | Subscribe