Morri: Time For The PGA To Go Global

Isn't it time fans outside the US and UK had the chance to watch a major on home soil?
Should the PGA Championship be played at Royal Melbourne? Not the Australian PGA - which should be - but THE PGA, the one being held this week in Missouri?

The last of the year’s men's Grand Slam events is widely considered the least important of the men's game’s four premier tournaments and many feel it is in need of a boost.

(That’s not a slur, by the way, just a reality. In a four-horse race – even one as elite and prestigious as the roster of golf’s major tournaments – somebody has to be fourth.)

The problem for the PGA is that it lacks an identity. The Masters is synonymous with Augusta National, the US Open its difficulty and The Open the challenge of links golf.

But the PGA? It’s just a kind of Tour event on steroids. Yes, it has the strongest field of the four big ones but that doesn’t really separate it as it is the bottom end of the field where the differences lie.

Moving to a May timeslot as of next year will likely help a little but what the PGA really needs is a bold vision, something to really set it apart.

A return to matchplay - the format of the tournament until 1957 – would certainly fit the bill but in the TV age it simply won’t happen. Too risky.

So how about a portable PGA? Not one that moves around the US, as it does now, but one that moves around the world?

This idea is not new nor is it mine but it is one that deserves airing again. Former player turned course architect and commentator Mike Clayton has long been a proponent of holding the PGA outside the US in every Olympic year and it’s a concept that has a lot of merit.

The model works well at almost every level. It’s hard to see how it would not be successful commercially while at the same time it fulfils the responsibility of the US PGA as an organisation - and its sibling bodies worldwide - to promote the game.

Imagine the impact of one of the game’s four biggest events being played in China or India or, selfishly, here in Australia?

As golf has evolved internationally it has made less and less sense that three of the game’s biggest events be played in the US every year.

It is a significant market, yes, but golf is a global game and the rest of the planet deserves the chance to see the world’s best up close from time to time.

The PGA Championship could do itself – and the game – a lot of good by adopting an international schedule.

It’s a radical idea but most of the best ones are. The Vic Open has proved that when golf thinks outside the square good things happen. The PGA needs to take a leaf out of that book.


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