There is word today, courtesy of Ron Sirak of Golf Digest, that the PGA of America is considering playing the PGA Championship outside of the United States. The earliest that could happen is 2020.
You can read the entire story here.
From a national pride perspective, the next logical question is how does Canada fit into such a scenario? The only legitimate reply at this point is that it’s possible, but don’t hold your breath.
The PGA of America is only studying the possibility, so it’s far from a done deal, but there are some interesting considerations, one being that the PGA Championship is best-suited among the four majors to make such a bold move.
The Masters is planted at Augusta National, so that’s off the table and the U.S. Open is a national championship that won’t move beyond American borders. The British Open is the only one of the four, as it stands now, to be played outside the U.S.
The PGA Championship also has an identity crisis, although it’s always difficult to figure out why, but some see it as the lesser of the four majors, rightly or wrongly. This may help alleviate that image, however unfair it may be.
As this progresses, we’ll hear about how golf is global now and it’s time to bring the world’s best to markets such as Asia, South Africa, Australia or continental Europe, but there will be challenges as well, not the least of which will be how the PGA Tour and players might react.
What will also have to be addressed is what happens with the club professionals who qualify for spots in the field? With greater travel expenses to international destinations, budgets become an issue and subsidies may be required.
The PGA of America certainly can’t turn its back on its own members, but on the other hand, would it be unfair for the host country to expect a certain number of spots in the field for its PGA members?
After the tour, its players and the PGA of America’s own members, how will television, advertisers, sponsors and fans react to one of the four majors being held in a time zone that makes it difficult to watch in North America?
Of course, Canada wouldn’t pose such a problem, with time zones similar to the U.S. and the success of the Presidents Cup in 2007 would seemingly illustrate that this country is more than capable of hosting such a high-profile event.
Certainly, Canadian fans were high profile at this year’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill near Rochester, N.Y., where “Duf’s Dips,” a contingent from Ottawa on hand to cheer eventual champion Jason Dufner.
Whether moving the PGA Championship across the border into Canada would be seen as a bold move over a far-away location is yet to be determined, but wherever it landed, there would also be specific challenges in the host country.
PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua has already stated that he would like to see international PGAs involved, so if it landed here, that would mean the PGA of Canada would need to test its own resources.
Also, as mentioned above, it wouldn’t be unfair for the PGA of Canada, if it did land here, to expect a few spots in the field for its members.
One would think, as well, that the PGA of America would also have to work with Golf Canada, remembering the fact that, as it stands now, there is only a couple of weeks between the RBC Canadian Open and the PGA Championship.
The best-case scenario is that each event is held at the other end of the country from the other if that’s possible.
Those are just a few of the challenges that come to mind, as interesting as the concept is in its embryonic stage. It’s too early to start getting breathless.