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PGA Championship could use some separation
The British Open is links golf. The U.S. Open bills itself as the toughest test in golf. The Masters is played on the magical stage of Augusta National every year, making it the course golf fans know better than any other in the world. And the PGA Championship? Geoff Ogilvy once referred to it as “the other one.”
How to fix that? Consider making less money from TV revenue and move it to October.
The Masters has loads of built-in advantages, and one that gets overlooked is the anticipation. After the Wanamaker Trophy is awarded Sunday at Oak Hill, golf fans have to wait eight months before the next major. The excitement for the Masters only builds when CBS starts airing promotions in the months leading to it.
“It is quick,” Padraig Harrington said after the British Open. “You think of the guys who are going to play next week (in Canada) and that’s four big tournaments in a row. It’s a lot of golf. The great thing about being at the PGA and the U.S. Open is they tend to set the course up very uniformly. You can definitely go play these tournaments from a yardage book. … We know what we’re going to get.”
To be clear, having these majors stacked on top of each other is not a great burden on the player. It’s golf, not a triathlon.
It just keeps the PGA Championship from getting the buildup it deserves. And the PGA deserves better.
As much as the final major gets overlooked as “the other one,” look back over the last five years and try to find anything dull about the PGA Championship. Rory McIlroy, the rising star with a record win at Kiawah. Keegan Bradley’s remarkable recovery from a triple bogey to win in a playoff. Martin Kaymer’s win and Dustin Johnson’s fiasco in the bunker at Whistling Straits. Y.E. Yang taking down Tiger Woods at Hazeltine. Harrington ripping out Sergio Garcia’s heart for the second straight year in a major.
Here’s why October works.
In this global game, it fits the international schedule perfectly. A month after the British Open, the PGA Tour begins its lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs until the end of September. A month later, the European Tour begins its Race to Dubai with a series of tournaments in Asia.
In between would be the final major of the year _ a real “Super Bowl” to end the U.S. season.
For those who care nothing about golf except for the majors _ and it’s a larger population than the PGA Tour wants to believe _ this gives them one last event to anticipate in the fall. And in Ryder Cup years, the matches could be played in August instead of a month later. That could help avoid weather issues, particularly in Europe. The only concern is shrinking daylight, though the PGA could reduce the field. Even at 124 players, it would still be the strongest of the majors.
Here’s why it probably won’t happen.
“I assume these things are based on TV ratings, financials, things like that,” Harrington said.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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