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SportsColumnistsMark Herrmann

PGA Championship might move to earlier in year

The Bethpage Black Course is a public golf

The Bethpage Black Course is a public golf course on Long Island, New York, the most difficult of the five courses at Bethpage State Park. Photo Credit: Julie Cappiello

ERIN, Wisconsin — The PGA Championship might be heading to Long Island sooner than anyone expected. The major tournament is scheduled to be held at Bethpage Black in 2019, presumably in the usual August slot as the season’s fourth major. But the head of the PGA of America said last week that the association is considering moving its flagship championship to May, between the Masters and U.S. Open

Peter Bevacqua, the chief executive officer, addressed PGA of America members in a video, saying, “We are deep into our analysis” of a move to May. He said no decision has been made and he did not mention if it would affect the tournament as soon as the year after next. But his message clearly indicated that a change is on the table.

He pointed out that, with golf having become an Olympic sport, the PGA Championship would have to move from August to July every fourth year. He added that in the tournament’s 99-year history, it has been played in nine of the 12 months. “It’s not as though we’ve always played in August,” he said.

The analysis has been “accelerated,” he said, since PGA Tour officials called Bevacqua 10 months ago to say they are considering returning The Players Championship to March from its current May date. Bevacqua listed several other potential advantages of a May PGA Championship, such as building momentum for the golf season nationwide.

He did not address downsides, such as the potential for cool, damp weather in places such as Long Island. He acknowledged that attendance and television ratings have been “great” for recent PGA Championships, then added, “But the world is changing around us.”

Officials will continue the discussion this week in Oregon at the national PGA Professional Championship. The tournament begins Sunday and includes Long Islanders Anthony Aruta, Mark Brown, Jason Caron, Paul Dickinson, Matt Dobyns, John Guyton, Darrell Kestner and Josh Rackley.

Burns returns to site of first big win

George Burns, whose name was in the news this week when Adam Hadwin tied his 1982 U.S. Open record with six consecutive birdies, will be at the Long Island Amateur final Friday at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Stony Brook. Burns, who grew up in Manhasset, won four times on the PGA Tour and the Long Island Amateur at St. George’s in 1972 . . . Sergio Garcia does not like to reflect on his dust-up with fans at Bethpage Black during the 2002 U.S. Open (a contretemps that resulted in him flipping an obscene gesture). When he was asked on Friday to compare that reception to the post-Masters love he is receiving at Erin Hills, he said, “I don’t know why you guys keep asking me this. I’ve always said that I’ve been very fortunate the way people have treated me all over the world and here in the U.S. Obviously there’s always going to be a group that’s going to be a little bit tougher.” Of the added support he is getting now, he added, “Maybe it’s like going from a 9 to a 9½. It’s not like going from a 3 to an 8.”

McDaid wins again

Becky McDaid, a teaching pro at Friar’s Head in Riverhead and a former U.S. Women’s Amateur champion and LPGA player, won the Metropolitan PGA Stroke Play Championship Monday. She shot 2-over-par 73 in the afternoon round at Innis Arden in Connecticut, securing a four-stroke victory. She said afterward that she had not seen the course before, so considered her first-round 78 more of a practice round.

Tickets for Northern Trust on sale

The PGA Tour announced this week that tickets are on sale for the Northern Trust (formerly the Barclays), to be held at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury Aug. 22-27. The tournament is the first leg of the tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs. The site is thenortherntrust.com.

New York Sports