New Plan for Golf’s Major Championships

JordanSpiethThe 99th PGA Championship began today at Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. During the year, it is always the third of the four major championships in golf. Much attention will be on young superstar Jordan Spieth. Having just turned 24 years of age, he will be trying to win it to become the youngest player ever to win all four major championships in a career, called a Career Grand Slam. He got off to rocky start today but finished well to shoot a one-over par 72.

At the end of the day, two players are leading at four-under par 67: Thorbjorn Olesen and Kevin Kisner. Long hitting Gary Woodland and Brooks Koepka–both potential superstars in the future–finished one stroke back at 68.

When I was competing on the regular PGA Tour, for many years I played in the Kemper Open when it was staged at this venue and later, at the Congressional Country Club near Washington, D.C. When the tournament was at Quail Hollow, it was one of my favorite tournaments on Tour. And I had several Christian friends there in Charlotte. In those days, my friend Evangelist Billy Graham, who lived nearby in Montreat, would often participate in that tournament’s Wednesday pro-am. This beloved man of God was ahead of his time with a cross-handed grip for putting, but not for the long game. When he made a full swing, it looked like he might break his wrists. Billy never could get converted to the proper grip.

Quail Hollow used to be a par 72. But now it is par 71 and lengthened much to 7,600 yards. They say much rain recently in that area has caused the fairways to be soft, thus not providing much roll for drives, and some tough spinach for rough lining the fairways. Those conditions give the long hitters, such as top players Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, and advantage over the likes of Jordan Spieth, who is about average in driving distance.

This week at Quail Hollow, the big talk is that the PGA of America, which conducts their PGA Championship, and the PGA Tour announced that they are considering a big change in the scheduling of some of mens’ golf majors worldwide. Each year, the schedule has been as follows: Masters in late April, U.S. Open in early to mid June, the British Open in July, and the PGA Championship in August. They are considering moving the PGA Championship to May and The Players Championship to March. The latter, which is the PGA Tour’s premier event, is considered unofficially as the fifth major in golf. So, this plan would result in a major being staged about every successive month for four or five months. The British Open would then be the grand finale as it probably should be.

I think this sounds like a very good plan. From early reports, it appears that the majority of PGA Tour players like it as well. This would help give the PGA Tour a season. One reason for this possible change has been putting golf into the Olympics for the first time last year. This plan would help the PGA Tour not to compete with attention from fans of both golf and the National Football League, whose season begins in the early fall.

So, sounds like a plan. In the meantime, let’s see if Jordan Spieth can pull off another one of his miracle wins this week.

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