US PGA C'ship may be moved to suit FedExCup

The switch is being discussed as the Tour seeks to further boost the profile of the lucrative FedExCup.
The switch is being discussed as the Tour seeks to further boost the profile of the lucrative FedExCup.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • The US PGA Championship may be moved forward three months to May as part of a radical shake-up of golf's calendar.

Officials at the PGA Tour, in conjunction with the PGA of America, are considering switching what is currently the last of the four Majors to a date in late May, positioning it after the Masters but before the US Open and the Open Championship.

It will mean all four of golf's most prestigious individual prizes will be decided by mid-July.

The switch is being discussed as the Tour seeks to further boost the profile of the lucrative FedExCup, its climactic four-tournament play-offs.

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The proposed change, which may take effect within two or three years, received Rory McIlroy's backing.

  • HOW THE GOLF CALENDAR MIGHT

  • March: The Players Championship

    b The Masters

    May: US PGA, BMW PGA

    June: US Open

    July: Open Championship

    August: FedExCup play-offs

    September: Ryder Cup/Presidents Cup (alternate years)

    November: DP World Tour Championship (European season-ender)

He said: "I can definitely see the reasons for it. We would have a big event every month.

"Then the FedEx run would be a little earlier and not clash with the (American) football.

"I can definitely see why that would happen."

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced on Tuesday that the FedExCup, launched in 2007 and worth US$350 million (S$494 million) in prize money, will be a part of the Tour for at least another decade, and with an even bigger purse than before.

"This is a special day and a great statement about our players and our tour," said Monahan, who was speaking ahead of this week's Players Championship at Sawgrass, widely seen as the fifth Major.

Moving the US PGA Championship to May would have the knock-on effect of the TPC at Sawgrass being played in March. The PGA Tour season - currently 46 tournaments long - would be curtailed slightly, with the end-of-term Tour Championship being played in early September.

On the upside, that would allow the tour to escape the competition for television viewers with the beginning of the NFL season.

There would also be implications for the European Tour. Joining that circuit late in the year would become a more viable proposition for the leading American players, a significant boost to the "Race to Dubai", which climaxes in mid-November.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2017, with the headline 'US PGA C'ship may be moved to suit FedExCup'. Print Edition | Subscribe