Golf Coast commentary | PGA Championship could change date and location in Olympic years

May 15, 2014 

Will a men's golf major arrive in the Sunshine State?

That fantasy could turn into a reality when 2020 rolls around.

Among golf's four major championships, three are held annually within the United States.

Out of those, two rotate venues. But you can rule out the U.S. Open from being contested in Florida. It's held in June every year, which is not a good weather month here when it rains practically every day at 3 p.m.

So what about the PGA Championship? The tournament is played every August and is the least prestigious of the four majors. The Masters, U.S. Open and British Open are ahead on the pecking order.

There's that summer weather problem again, though.

But what if the PGA moved the major to earlier in the year?

That isn't out of the question. It was reported earlier this month that officials are considering just that, albeit only in Summer Olympics years. With the addition of golf as an Olympic sport beginning in 2016, PGA officials have turned their attention to 2020 as the first possible tinkering with the final major of the season.

Bids have been awarded for the PGA Championship through the 2019 campaign, and the Olympics follow in 2020.

So to combat the scheduling conflict, there's the possibility that players could vie for the Wannamaker Trophy in March or May. If the PGA moves its championship to March, then it will need a warm-weather state to host.

That's where Florida enters the picture.

So what course should host?

How about locally with The Concession Golf Club?

The East Manatee private course was rated the best new private course by Golf Digest when it opened in 2006 and was a finalist to host the 2017 Solheim Cup.

A sticking point, though, was the August date, and the idea of moving the

biennial tournament to later in the calendar wasn't a viable option.

However, The Concession, with all its glamour and glitz as a fantastic course, should be a contender.

Despite its location a distance away from Interstate 75, the logistical plans concerning parking, hotels and getting spectators to the course wasn't an issue for the LPGA Tour in getting The Concession into finalist position for the Solheim Cup.

It should be enough to impress PGA officials, should the PGA Championship get moved to an earlier date in 2020.

A pre-existing course on the PGA Tour schedule within Florida couldn't host, because of the timing. A March date is the heart of the Florida swing for the PGA Tour.

So that makes it quite improbable for the course to pull a Pebble Beach and allow one venue to host a regular tour event and a major championship in the same year.

PGA officials are tinkering with the idea of sending the Wannamaker Trophy abroad as reported by Golf Digest and a host of media outlets last October.

While expanding the game internationally is important, sending the game's final major overseas would be a mistake. Granted, it's not the Masters or U.S. Open, but the PGA Championship should retain its continuity stateside.

Florida, and The Concession Golf Club, as the host venue for that 2020 Olympic year seems far-fetched.

But it never hurts to dream.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7017. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill.

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