PGA Championship to be Held Overseas?


The PGA of America has confirmed that it's considering moving its flagship event, the PGA Championship, to an overseas venue. Though there's no timeline on such a drastic change, there's a real possibility that golf's fourth major of the year could be held in Asia or another foreign location in the next decade.

"I would say we're more than halfway through a serious analysis," PGA chief executive Pete Bevacqua told The Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson in Shanghai, site of the recently completed WGC-HSBC Champions.

"What's important is we boil down our missions to two pillars - serve our members and grow the game," Bevacqua added. "The ultimate test will be can we check both boxes? Does it make sense to occasionally play the PGA Championship overseas? Would growing the brand globally help our members? Would it grow the game? Part two is easy."

Earlier in mid-October, Bevacqua told Golf World, "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 . . . the question arose as to what impact it would have to take the PGA Championship to an international location once or twice a decade. It would be something we would only do if we had the cooperation of quite a few groups. We would want the international PGAs to be a part of this and share in this. Many pieces would have to fall in place."

The biggest problem with such a move is television and the sometimes-huge time difference for broadcasting tournaments across opposite ends of the globe. For example, daylight savings time in China - with only one time zone - is 12 hours ahead of the East Coast of the U.S. and 15 ahead of the Pacific Coast.

But the reality is that the game is booming in the Far East, with sponsors eager to support PGA Tour events and major golf tournaments like the PGA Championship.

Australia is also a possible location. The continent has a strong golf tradition, many wonderful courses and the infrastructure to host such an event.

"We've hosted big American events before, the Presidents Cup in 2011, the World Cup (of golf) this year, who's to say we can't host a major?" PGA of Australia executive director Brian Thorburn told reporters last month at Perth International, a European Tour event.

"I'm meeting with Pete (Bevacqua) in six, seven weeks and I'll certainly make him aware that we'd bust our guts to have a crack at hosting it (the PGA Championship) if they went through with it (staging the event overseas)."

"The world is getting smaller," PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem told Ferguson. "Things are coming together. It's more a question of the best players in the world are going to play, and it's going to be a big deal wherever it goes.

"What's best for that tournament long-term? And what's good for golf globally given the options? I don't think there's any reason not to think of those things."


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