CHARLOTTE, N.C. – News that the PGA Championship will move to May from August beginning in 2019 was only part of Tuesday’s shakeup to the professional golf landscape, with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan also announcing that The Players will move back to March beginning in ’19.
The Tour’s flagship event moved to May in 2007 based at least partially on the idea that the weather in north Florida would be more conducive to creating a hard and fast golf course for The Players.
“In March, we have some great weather years, but we also have some bad weather years like last year,” then-commissioner Tim Finchem said of The Players date change in 2006. “We like the date change, we like the position on the schedule and we like what it does for our ability to set up the golf course and for television.”
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But after a few difficult winters that made less-than-ideal conditions for the championship in May and a host of improvements at TPC Sawgrass including sand-capped fairways and improved drainage, the Tour is confident they can have the course conditions they desire in March.
“The average temperature in March is 75 degrees, this past year we had less than one inch of rain for the entire month of March. When you go back to the challenges we’ve had in the past it wasn’t the weather that was the issue, it was our golf course’s readiness for the weather,” Monahan said. “Our superintendent is entirely confident.”
That doesn’t mean the course will play the same in March as it has in May. Most players agree the Stadium Course will likely play more difficult in the spring, when winds can be colder and out of the north and it’s generally wetter.
“I would add that variability on that golf course, more wind, more dynamic weather conditions, that brings to life what is so great about the Stadium Course,” Monahan said.