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Why is the 2019 PGA Championship in May?

Sporting News — (Jacob Janower)

It's May and it's already time for the PGA Championship. This is the new normal.

Usually golf's final major on the calendar, a revamped PGA Tour schedule has moved the tournament up to May, meaning all four majors will be in consecutive months from April to July.

The PGA Championship doesn't have the same historic stability of being played consistently in the same month that the other three majors do, but the move up from August to May seems to be for the long haul and helps ensure more interesting storylines on the heels of the Masters.

LIVE: Full PGA Championship leaderboard

The rotating cast of U.S. courses to host the PGA Championship has landed on Bethpage Black for 2019, which has never had the tournament.

A variety of factors contributed to the tournament's move up the calendar. All of that information and more on the history on Bethpage Black can be found below.

Why was the PGA Championship moved to May?

Since 1969, the PGA Championship had been played in early-to-mid August nearly every year, a standard that is changing in 2019. The schedule shift also allowed for the move of the Players Championship from May to March. The moves were made in order to wrap up the FedEx Cup prior to Labor Day so that there is less competition with the NFL. The re-introduction of Golf at the Olympics was also a factor. The revamped calendar will allow for a more defined offseason for the sport.

The offseason aspect has made the new calendar popular with the players, as does the sense of more hype surrounding the PGA Championship. 

“We get to August, and that excitement kind of dwindles a little," Phil Mickelson told Golf Digest in August, 2017. "It’s at a time of year where golf seems to linger on, so maybe there will be more energy behind the PGA earlier in the year.”

Prior to 1969, the tournament was played in a variety of different months. It rotated from May to December while it was a match play event before moving to late May or late June date and then to July. It was even played in February in 1971 in an extreme deviation from the norm.

Where is the PGA Championship in 2019?

Bethpage Black, a public course on Long Island and one of the most well-recognized in New York and the entire United States, will host the PGA Championship. This will be the third major it has hosted, all of which have come in the 21st Century. The 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens were both played at Bethpage Black, won by Tiger Woods and Lucas Glover respectively. It is the first public course to host the PGA Championship. 

The Barclays — the first tournament of the FedEx Cup — was played at Bethpage Black in 2012 and 2016. The course will host The Northern Trust — another FedEx Cup event — in 2021 and 2027 as well as the 2024 Ryder Cup. 

The course went through a handful of changes in order to prepare for the PGA Championship, including an expanded green on the 11th hole and two new fairway bunkers on hole No. 18. Most of the renovations were made to make one of the most challenging public courses in the country even more difficult.

Several other courses will switch off hosting the PGA Championship after Bethpage Black takes its turn. Here are the locations of the next five tournaments.

YearCourseLocation
2020TPC Harding ParkSan Francisco, Calif.
2021Kiawah Island Golf ResortKiawah Island, S.C.
2022Trump National Golf ClubBedminster, N.J.
2023Oak Hill Country ClubPittsford, N.Y.
2024Valhalla Golf ClubLouisville, Ky.

Who won the 2018 PGA Championship?

Brooks Koepka was the 2018 PGA Championship winner, shooting a 16 under for the tournament, which was played at Bellerive Golf Course in the suburbs of St. Louis. Koepka held a two-shot lead after Saturday and held strong by shooting a final-round 66. It was Koepka's third major championship and second of 2018. He has won the last two U.S. Opens.

Woods made a valiant run on the heels of an impressive performance at the Open Championship the month prior. He finished two strokes behind Koepka in second place and shot a 64 on Sunday, a final round career best in a major. Adam Scott (-13), Stewart Cink (-11) and Jon Rahm (-11) rounded out the top five.

Golf major schedule for 2019

MajorDatesLocation
MastersApril 11-14Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Ga.
PGA ChampionshipMay 16-19Bethpage Black Golf Course, Farmingdale, N.Y.
U.S. OpenJune 13-16Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.
Open ChampionshipRoyal Portrush Golf Club,Portrush, Northern Ireland