CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When the idea first surfaced that the PGA of America was considering a move of the PGA Championship from August to May, the initial concern was what this could mean for some of the event’s historic venues.
Stops like Whistling Straits in Wisconsin and Hazeltine National in Minnesota, which have both hosted the PGA in the last decade, would likely not be major-ready for a May championship depending on how severe the previous winter had been.
On Tuesday when the move was announced, officials were asked specifically if the change would impact any northern venues that are currently on the rotation, including New York’s Bethpage Black in ’19, the year the PGA will move to May, and Oak Hill in ’23.
“We are very comfortable the May date works for all of those locations. When you think about the major metropolitan New York area, the tri-state area, we did a long analysis of the Bethpages and Baltusrols and other great home sites for the PGA Championship,” said Pete Bevacqua, the PGA’s CEO. “Those championship sites, the PGA professionals, the club, the superintendent, they feel the conditioning of the golf courses are actually better in late May than in August.”
Bevacqua also said that the move will likely open markets that the event never could consider because of extreme heat in the south and southwest in May.
“We are taking nothing off the table at this time. Weather patterns change, grasses become more resilient and we'll continue to have great conversations with those clubs and courses that we have historically gone to in all other regions of the country,” Bevacqua said.
The PGA currently has a lineup of numerous southern venues, including this week’s stop at Quail Hollow and South Carolina’s Kiawah Island in ’21, but just three of the last 10 PGA venues have been in the south. It’s a trend that seems certain to change with a new May date.