Olympics complicating 2016, 2020 PGA plans


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The domino pieces have started to fall into place for what promises to be a crowded 2016 golf calendar.

The Open Championship already announced that the game’s oldest major will be played a week earlier than it historically has been, July 14-17, and on Wednesday at Valhalla Golf Club the PGA of America announced its ’16 championship will be played two weeks earlier, July 28-31 at Baltusrol in New Jersey, to make room for golf’s return to the Olympics.

While the shuffle will likely work in the PGA’s favor given the likelihood of better weather and attendence in July, the fact that the year’s last two major championships will not factor into the final Olympic standings is a concern.

“We are very sensitive about the fact that the PGA Championship needs to have relevance in an Olympic year, and based on the scheduling in 2016 and the wraparound Official World Golf Rankings that will be used to determine the United States Olympic team, that will not be the case,” said Ted Bishop, the president of the PGA of America.

The final Olympic ranking, which will determine the fields for the men’s and women’s events, will be released on July 11, 2016.

As Bishop explained, the PGA, and essentially the Open Championship, ended up being the “odd-man out” in the Olympic equation, an issue officials are looking to resolve when golf is played in the 2020 Olympics.

The association recently announced that the ’20 PGA will be played at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, in part due to the flexibility of holding the event at a different time of year.

“We can play in San Francisco in late February or March,” he said.

The PGA Tour has not commented on how its schedule will be impacted by the ’16 Games and officials have committed to not holding “major events” during the Olympics, which for the men’s competition would be the first week of the Games. The 2016 Olympics begin on Aug. 5.