PGA Championship willing to take back seat to 2016 Olympics

If nothing else, you have to the give organizers of the PGA Championship credit for their flexibility and ability to see the big picture.

On Tuesday, the event granted Tiger Woods an extension to register for this weekend’s event, well aware that giving the sport’s biggest name as much as he needed to play in the season’s final major was a wise move. And it paid off, with Woods declaring on Wednesday that he will indeed play at Valhalla beginning Thursday.

Well, later Wednesday, PGA of America announced that in 2016 the PGA Championship will move from its traditional first weekend in August slot to the last weekend in July to accommodate the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics.

The Opening Ceremony of the Rio Games is scheduled for Aug. 5; the PGA Championship at Baltusrol in New Jersey will now end on July 31.

Golf is returning to the Summer Olympics in 2016, having last been part of the Games in 1904. The 2016 event will be open to professionals.

"I would tell you that we view it as a positive," Pete Bevacqua, the PGA of America’s chief executive officer, said in making the announcement at Valhalla Golf Club. "We think that the end of July at Baltusrol just outside of New York City is actually a better time of year than August. We think the temperatures will be better, also, in terms of really the activities of the residents of that area. Quite honestly, less people are on vacation, more people are in town and we think it will work out as a real benefit to the 2016 PGA Championship."

The change would be the first time the PGA Championship hasn’t been played in August since 1971, when Jack Nicklaus won in late February at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.