By Ken MacLeod
There was talk at the PGA Merchandise Show last week of a possible major shakeup in both the timing of the PGA Championship and possibly a permanent shakeup in the PGA Tour schedule as well. New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan recently discussed with the Wall Street Journal a future schedule that would have the Players Championship move back to March, the PGA Championship in May, and then move the Fed-Ex Cup Playoffs into August to conclude prior to either the Ryder Cup or President’s Cup and prior to college football taking off.
The move would be done either in 2020 to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics again interrupting normal schedules or perhaps before if all the major players agree, including television networks.
If Southern Hills Country Club were to land a fifth PGA Championship before a fourth U.S. Open, how would the May date affect its ability to host?
Superintendent Russ Myers said he would welcome the switch from having to prepare bent grass greens to stand up to the world’s best in 107-degree August temperatures, as he did successfully in 2007. The big question in May becomes are the Bermuda fairways and roughs fully grown in and thriving, but Myers said barring a freakishly late frost that would not be an issue.
“You’d be concerned about the health of the rough in shady areas, but I don’t see that as a major impediment,” Myers said. “I think we can host any major championship anywhere from May to October. If we were awarded a PGA Championship in May, we could do it successfully.”
May in Tulsa can be beautiful or blustery and thunderstorms and severe weather outbreaks are certainly a possibility. The average low temperature in May in Tulsa is 59 degrees and the average high is 79. Average rainfall for the month is 5.87 inches.
Southern Hills has hosted the PGA Championship in 1970, 1982, 1994 and 2007 and the U.S. Open in 1958, 1977 and 2001.