Golf’s PGA Championship will probably move to the final week of July from August in 2016 to avoid a conflict with the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“I’m 99 percent certain that’s when it will be,” Pete Bevacqua, chief executive officer of the PGA of America, said in an interview at Baltusrol Golf Club, site of the 2016 event.
Golf is returning to the Olympics in three years after an absence of more than a century. With the 2016 games set to be staged Aug. 5-21, there will be limited time in the professional golf schedule to stage the PGA Championship, the last of four annual Grand Slam events. The tournament will return to its traditional August date in future years.
Moving the PGA Championship will likely mean the British Open, typically staged in mid-July, being played earlier in the same month. The dates for the 2016 British Open at Scotland’s Royal Troon Golf Club have yet to be announced. The International Olympic Committee doesn’t plan to finalize its schedule for the games until 2014.
A schedule change could benefit the PGA Championship at the Springfield, New Jersey, course, which also hosted the 2005 PGA Championship, won by Phil Mickelson, Bevacqua said.
“It’s a better time to host a major championship,” he said. “More people are around and in the swing of things. Less people are on their summer vacations. We think it’s actually going to work out to our advantage.”
Golf’s 2016 schedule also includes the Ryder Cup, a team competition between U.S. and European golfers. Dates for that year’s matches at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota haven’t been decided.
The Ryder Cup is typically held in mid- to late-September, making changes to the schedule more complicated. The PGA Championship is the final event for players to earn Ryder Cup qualifying points.