PGA Championship to move to May in 2019

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After much speculation, the PGA Championship will move from it's current August date to May, according to reports from the Associated Press and Golf Digest

The news broke on Monday ahead of a press conference on Tuesday, where PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua and PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan are expected to confirm the announcement.

The change, which will see the PGA Championship move back to May in 2019 at New York's Bethpage Black, means that The Players Championship will most likely return back to it's original March position. 

"The Associated Press has learned the PGA Championship is moving to May for the first time in 70 years when it goes to Bethpage Black in New York in 2019," the report said.

"The move from August to May has been in the works for the last four years, and it involves The Players Championship moving from May back to its original March date."

"Two officials involved in the discussions say the PGA of America will discuss details of the move as early as Tuesday at Quail Hollow Club. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday because it has not been announced."

"The catalyst behind the change was golf's return to the Olympics. The PGA of America is interested in moving into the middle of the major championship season instead of the end. It also loosens the schedule in Olympic years."

With the exception of it's move to July last year to accomodate the Olympics, The PGA Championship has been staged in August since 1971. Before that however, it has been homed in various different months of the year - and never truly found a permanent spots. Now however, the PGA of America have decided that their flagship event should go back to May for the first time since 1949. 

For those in the United States and on the PGA Tour, the move is no doubt a welcome one. The PGA Championship has struggled to retain popularity thanks to the beginning of the NFL season in America, and it means the conclusion of the FedEx Cup Playoffs will most likely be finished by Labor Day.

Players react to PGA Championship Move

Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was one of the first to admit that it was a good thing for scheduling, but flagged up that the 2019 moving dates may pose weather problems for already scheduled venues like Oak Hill.

"I know why it’s happening. I get it. I certainly applaud the PGA of America in helping the PGA Tour out," Johnson told Golf Digest. "It does help us. I think it makes our schedule much more seamless. I think it will be better all around."

"Now, as far as where they are going to go in the future with that earlier date, that’s the part that I don’t really know how that is going to work. Oak Hill coming up [in 2023] … can you play in the northern part of the country in May? You can, but you probably shouldn’t. You’ve got to get lucky [on the weather]."

Rickie Fowler agreed that it will most likely be beneficial for players and schedules to get a proper off season, but said that it wouldn't really matter when the major was played as there's no way they wouldn't turn up. 

“I think it doesn’t matter from the standpoint of the PGA being in August or May because it’s a major and we’ll all be ready no matter when it’s played,” Fowler told Golf Digest. “From a scheduling standpoint, it might be a lot better for us to have an actual off-season like every other sport.

"The schedule will be more uniform from March to August as far as big events, which will probably be a good thing.”