Is the PGA Championship moving overseas?
Could the PGA Championship be moving overseas? Ron Sirak has the details at Golf Digest, and it certainly seems like a possibility. You can check out the article at the link above, but the gist of it is that the PGA of America is currently investigating the kind of impact it would have on the club and teaching pros, as well as the potential growth of the game both in North America and abroad. When asked about the report, PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua had this to say to Sirak:
“This is an exercise we are going through, an analysis. It is far from a fait accompli that we are going to take the PGA Championship international. When we sat down to map our strategic plan to service our members and grow the game the question arose as to what impact it would have to take the PGA Championship to an international location once or twice a decade.”
For me, the last sentence is what matters here, as it would be crazy to think that the PGA of America would host the tournament annually at an international location, but if it was a couple of times per decade, I could see it making sense. So, what kind of timeline are we looking at here? Sirak points out that the earliest it could happen would be in 2020 when the TV deal with Turner and CBS expires. Below, you can see the list of courses that are currently announced as future PGA Championship sites:
- 2014: Valhalla – Louisville, Kentucky
- 2015: Whistling Straits – Kohler, Wisconsin
- 2016: Baltusrol – Springfield Township, New Jersey
- 2017: Quail Hollow – Charlotte, North Carolina
- 2018: Bellerive – Town and Country, Missouri
- 2019: Bethpage Black – Farmingdale, New York
It’s an interesting move for the PGA of America, who has seen their championship fall clearly behind the other three majors in terms of prominence. Moving the tournament overseas every now and then probably doesn’t help in that regard, but in theory, it would add some spice to an event that has, in the eyes of some, grown a touch stale.
There are obstacles though. As much as the PGA of America has control over what they do with the tournament, they probably wouldn’t move it overseas if the PGA Tour and their players had any objections to it, so they will definitely be consulting with them before they do anything. The other thing that I can see being a problem is the TV situation. Assuming that the broadcast landscape stays similar to what it is now, we could be looking at a major championship not being broadcast on a major network in primetime or even near primetime. I’m certainly not opposed to morning or late night golf, but it’s not the most ideal situation.
If this were to happen, where could we see the tournament held? Luke Kerr-Dineen from Golf Digest put together a list of potential locations, suggesting that South Korea and China would be two of the favourites. What I would say is that one of the things that has grown stale on the PGA Tour is that we’re seeing all of the same courses on a yearly basis, and while that’s fine for places like Augusta National or Pebble Beach, it’s quite another for Dove Mountain and TPC Four Seasons.
Even of the courses listed above for future sites, do any of them really excite you? They don’t do much for me, that’s for sure. Playing the PGA Championship at say, Royal Melbourne in Australia, Royal County Down in Ireland or Stone Forest in China would be something that would be great for the overall game and tournament.
Of course there are downsides to this, but I don’t see the harm in moving it overseas every few years. Let’s get it done, guys.