PGA Championship Holds Summer Finale Before Move To May
This week marks the 100th playing of the PGA Championship, a "noteworthy milestone," but it also signals the "end of an era," according to Tod Leonard of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Beginning in '19, the tournament will "move to May as a part of a big shakeup of the overall PGA Tour schedule." The switch is an opportunity for the PGA Championship to "alter the narrative of a tournament that has always suffered a bit of the 'fourth major' syndrome in terms of awareness and popularity among fans and media" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/5). In St. Louis, Jeff Gordon writes the tournament on a national level has an "identity crisis," and is "looking to add some luster." Dustin Johnson said of the PGA Tour's new schedule, "It spaces out the big tournaments. It's not as congested right at the end of the year. So I really like the schedule" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/9). The AP's Doug Ferguson wrote the PGA Championship as it has been scheduled is "easy to get overlooked," as it falls at the "end of a busy schedule." The Open Championship was just over two weeks ago, while Justin Thomas could "barely relish" his first WGC title this past Sunday before it was time to "prepare for his title defense in the PGA Championship." Golfer Kevin Chappell said the event is "easily overlooked," as it is the fourth major of the year and third in the U.S. (AP, 8/6). GOLF DIGEST's Dave Kindred wrote the PGA was "too often an anti-climactic event struggling to be noticed" after the "history-makers have made their history (GOLFDIGEST.com, 8/8).
OFF TO A GOOD START: On Long Island, Mark Herrmann noted PGA officials "like the prospect" of having the PGA Championship between The Masters and U.S. Open, when the "golf year is still fresh" (NEWSDAY, 8/5). PGA of America VP Suzy Whaley said "We wanted to be a part of the golf cadence. We have The Masters now, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open and then the Open Championship right after that and it gives a nice cadence to the golf calendar. Media and digital is really healthy in May" ("Vantage Point," Golf Channel, 8/7).
IN THE ROUGH: GOLFWEEK's Eamon Lynch reported hackers have "hijacked the PGA of America's computer servers, locking officials out of crucial files" related to this week's PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club and the upcoming Ryder Cup in France. The hackers said that any attempt to break the encryption "could cause the loss of all of the work." The files "contained creative materials" for the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup. That includes "promotional banners and logos used in digital and print communications, and on digital signage around the grounds at Bellerive." The stolen files also include "developmental work on logos for future PGA Championships." The hackers "quickly made clear that their goal was extortion," but "no specific ransom amount was demanded for the return of the files." A source said that the PGA of America "does not intend to meet any of the extortion demands" (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/8).