PGA Championship going overseas?
Officials at the PGA of America are studying the possibility of taking the PGA Championship overseas sometime in the next decade, according to a GolfWorld report.
PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua told the magazine that the organization, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016, is going through an analysis.
"It is far from a fait accompli that we are going to take the PGA Championship international,'' Bevacqua said. "When we sat down to map our strategic plan to service our members and grow the game, the question arose as to what impact it would have to take the PGA Championship to an international local once or twice a decade.''
One of the four major championships, the PGA Championship began in 1916 as a match play event and switched to stroke play in 1958. Jason Dufner won the tournament in August at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. It has never been played outside the United States.
The PGA of America is a different organization from the PGA Tour; it represents club and teaching pros around the country and gives 20 spots to the PGA of America professionals in the PGA Championship each year.
Much like the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship rotates to top courses around the U.S.; next year's venue is Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., where Tiger Woods won a memorable playoff over Bob May in 2000. It is also where the PGA of America staged the Ryder Cup in 2008.
The tournament has been awarded through the 2019 event at Bethpage Black on Long Island.
"It would be something we would only do if had the cooperation of quite a few groups,'' Bevacqua told GolfWorld. "It would need to work for the PGA Tour, and it would need to work for the PGA Tour players. Another would be the PGA in the particular area we would consider. We would want the international PGAs to be part of this and share in this. Many pieces would have to fall in place.''
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This would likely be welcome news to the growing number of international players who compete around the world.
Only the Open Championship is played outside of the United States among the four majors. The Masters is played each year at Augusta National Golf Club, with the United States Golf Association moving the U.S. Open around the country. The Open Championship has always been played in the United Kingdom, including one year when it was played in Northern Ireland.
And it offers some intriguing possibilities: Australia, Japan, China?
"We need to push ourselves to think outside the box,'' Bevacqua said. "What I have said internally is, 'Shame on us if we don't consider it and go through the exercise.'"
Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus hold the record with five PGA titles. Woods has won it four times.