Should one of the golf majors be played later in the year?
As golf was part of the Olympics this year the golfing schedule was amended resulting in the Ryder Cup being played slightly later in the year and the British Open and USPGA being played within two weeks of each other in July.
With only four majors in the calendar year it does seem to make more sense to play one of them later in the year. With October or November the obvious option. This would extend what is currently a short major golf season concentrated in mid June and July. The USPGA is the most likely major to be “sacrificed”, however by scheduling it later in the year you would think it would garner more interest having a longer lead in time. Coming two weeks after the British Open this year the PGA is not getting the attention its status as a major deserves.
A later major would no doubt focus the public spotlight on golf away from the traditional summer months. An autumn major would also bring with it a different test of golf assuming the USPGA decides to rotate the competition within the United States.
A change in climate with more wind, a drop in temperature and even the odd chance of rain thrown in to the mix depending on where the tournament is being played would add much needed variation. Mother Nature could be used to add difficulty rather than making the greens like glass, having unplayable rough or longer holes.
As well as changing the date the USPGA is played I think there is scope to rotate the competition to international courses, just like NFL teams play “home” games overseas. A “USPGA” in mid October played in Australia would certainly spice up the competition.
It could even be played on an international course every two years. The WGC Champions event due to be played in China later this month has one of the largest prize pools on offer in golf this season. Is it inevitable that a major will one day be played in China?
The USPGA unlike the other three majors seems to lack unique selling point. The British Open is all about links golf, the Masters is Augusta, the US Open a stern test of golf on some of the best courses in the US. The USPGA seems to be a watered down version of the US Open.
Maybe it’s time we had a look at when the USPGA is scheduled and where it is played. With golf participation starting to fall in North America and the game becoming more and more international should there be an international major to reflect this fact? Could it be conceivable that a USPGA played in China, South Africa, Australia or Japan could be the biggest major in 50 years time?
By Dan Cole