Date Conflict With Rio Olympics Forces '16 PGA Championship To Move To July
The PGA of America yesterday announced the '16 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey "will be played two weeks earlier" than normal to "make room for golf’s return to the Olympics," according to Rex Hoggard of GOLFCHANNEL.com. While the shuffle will "likely work in the PGA’s favor given the likelihood of better weather and attendance in July, the fact that the year’s last two major championships will not factor into the final Olympic standings is a concern." The final rankings will be set July 11, 2016, three days prior to the start of the British Open. PGA of America President Ted Bishop said that the PGA Championship and the British Open "ended up being the 'odd-man out' in the Olympic equation, an issue officials are looking to resolve when golf is played" in the '20 Tokyo Games. The PGA recently announced that its '20 championship will be played at TPC Harding Park in S.F., in "part due to the flexibility of holding the event at a different time of year." Bishop: “We can play in San Francisco in late February or March" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 8/6). GOLFWEEK's Alex Miceli noted the Opening Ceremony for the '16 Rio Games "will be held Aug. 5, five days after the last putt is scheduled to drop" at Baltusrol. The change would be the "first time the PGA Championship hasn’t been played in August" since '71 (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/6).
NOW ON THE TEE: The PGA Championship teed off this morning at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, and USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes the "mystery" of Tiger Woods -- "would he play or would he withdraw? -- served as a fitting prelude to the last major championship of a year that has been completely overshadowed by Tiger's bad back." Woods withdrew from last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with a back injury, but yesterday at Valhalla, crowds "grew as word spread that Tiger was coming." It was "only a day of practice, but for a sport that sometimes appears to be on life support without him, any positive sign from Tiger comes as a great relief to many" (USA TODAY, 8/7). In N.Y., Bill Pennington notes there was a "swarm of about 60 members of the news media encircling an empty parking space reserved" for Woods in the Valhalla parking lot (N.Y. TIMES, 8/7). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's John Paul Newport writes what followed Woods' arrival was "nutty and a bit surreal." Golf Channel "went on red alert, and commercial free, for the next hour" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/7).
MOVING THE NEEDLE: In Louisville, Tim Sullivan writes you could "hear the buzz along the fairways and inside the massive merchandise tent at Valhalla as alerts appeared on spectators' cell phones and people rushed to inform family, friends and, in some cases, total strangers." It was "almost as if Elvis had been spotted on Derby Day, astride Secretariat." It was a "reminder of the PGA Tour truism: Tiger Woods does not move the needle; he IS the needle" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 8/7). GOLF DIGEST's Dave Kindred wrote under the header, "Even In Doing Virtually Nothing, Tiger Woods Is Still The Biggest Draw In Golf" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 8/6).