The PGA of America has not yet announced whether it will move the PGA Championship from August to May, perhaps in time for the 2019 tournament at Bethpage Black.
But if CBS had a vote – which it does not, at least not directly – count the PGA’s broadcast TV partner as an emphatic “yes.”
CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus called the proposed move a “really, really good idea” on a conference call with reporters to promote this year’s event next week at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.
McManus said that from a financial standpoint, golf in the second quarter of the year is better than the third, and that mid-August is a challenge because so many people are on vacation.
The big-picture idea would be to move The Players Championship from May to March and PGA from August to May, then have the FedEx Cup wrap up by Labor Day, before the NFL season starts.
“There are a lot of positives, not just for the PGA Championship, but for the overall golf calendar,” McManus said, adding, “We love having the PGA Championship in August. I think we’ll love having it even more in May, quite frankly.”
Jim Nantz, CBS’ lead golf announcer, said, “Hopefully, we’ll know something next week. A lot of things will fall into place if this move is made, and I think the sport will benefit from it in so many ways.”
In the meantime, CBS has the 2017 event to cover and hopes Jordan Spieth, who turned 24 last week, at least contends for the title, which would make him the youngest player to achieve a career grand slam.
CBS analyst Nick Faldo marveled at Spieth’s disaster-defying late comeback at the British Open last month, and at his ability seemingly to shrug off pressure.
“He has to be able to block it out,” Faldo said of the career grand slam quest. “If you set this as a mission, as a goal in your life, this is what’s so incredible at a tender young age, that he’s able to deal with it.”
Said CBS reporter Dottie Pepper, “There’s a chance for this kid – and he is just a kid – to really change the way people think about golf right now and put it back in that Tiger [Woods] mode.”
Nantz said on the call he would “try to not bubble over here with too much enthusiasm before we even get to Charlotte,” then he did anyway.
He recalled traveling to St. Andrew’s for the British Open in 2000 as a fan to witness Woods’ quest for the career grand slam, and also to be present for Jim McKay’s final golf broadcast for ABC. (McManus is the late McKay’s son.)
“Just imagine the chance to tell the story of something that would set the all-time record in the history of the sport – a one-shot deal at being the youngest to ever win the career grand slam,” Nantz said.
“I’m not sure the fringe fan or even the media that doesn’t cover golf on a regular basis realizes that golf could be on the precipice of one of the greatest achievements in the history of the sport, and it’s a responsibility we’re really happy to have in our hands.”