PGA Championship confident move to May will boost event

The flag on the 18th hole is seen at the 2016 PGA Championship. (AFP pic)

ST LOUIS: Outgoing PGA of America chief executive Pete Bevacqua is confident switching the PGA Championship from August to May starting next year will provide the event a new spark in a changing golf landscape.

Bevacqua, who oversaw the date change and a revamp of the US Ryder Cup squad, becomes NBC Sports Group president next month. No replacement has been named.

Golf’s schedule will see dramatic restructuring next year with the return of golf to the Olympic sports lineup sparking a desire for the PGA to move rather than shift dates every four years to accommodate the Olympic event.

“In terms of the move to May, I would say you can never be 100% confident in the decision, but we’re about as close to 100% confident in that decision as possible,” Bevacqua said.

“That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be difficult situations, but there are difficult situations whenever you conduct a major championship.”

The move came after several future PGA sites had been named, leaving issues in northern climates such as weather worries for next year’s edition at Bethpage Black on Long Island and the 2023 staging at Oak Hill in upstate new York.

“You can have the best plans in the world, but to have a great major, you need a little bit of luck too,” Bevacqua said. “Whether that’s the weather, whether that’s traffic, everything has to come together and has to come together as perfectly as possible.”

Bevacqua said he looks forward to next year at Bethpage Black when the PGA is staged May 13-19.

“I think will be a special moment for golf,” he said.