PGA Championship Going International?

by Jeff Skinner

This has been a year that has seen the profile of all the major golf organizations grow immensely.  The USGA, PGA Tour, R&A and the PGA of America have made so many headlines recently that some fans have finally learned the difference between them.

The latest headline shocker has come from the PGA of America (for the uninitiated: the organization of golf professionals, not the PGA Tour players) and it’s a big one.  The PGA of America is considering taking their baby, The PGA Championship on a road trip out of the United States.

Golf Digest Executive Editor, Ron Sirak says that PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua is exploring packing up the PGA’s Wannamaker Trophy and going international. 

“This is an exercise we are going through, an analysis. It is far from a fait accompli that we are going to take the PGA Championship international.  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 location once or twice a decade.”

It’s a radical idea and in my opinion a great one.  Bringing the PGA Championship abroad will give the PGA many new opportunities to broaden its brand, attract new fans, build its pedigree and showcase its product on some of the world’s most magnificent courses.

A change like this depends on a thousand different things and Bevacqua realizes he needs to protect his own constituency.   “It would be something we would only do if we had the cooperation of quite a few groups,” Bevacqua said. “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 a part of this and share in this. Many pieces would have to fall in place.”

It’s a great idea and it would give the PGA Championship a new identity.  The last major of the season is sometimes over shadowed by the other major championships.  This would spice thing up quite a bit for the PGA and bring a new, different flavor to Bevacqua’s most important entity. This is the kind of forward thinking Bevacqua brings and it looks like he is breathing new life into the PGA of America.


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