PGA Tour officials mulling schedule changes

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PGA Tour officials are said to be considering moving the Players Championship back to March, and the PGA Championship to May.

Golf's unofficial fifth major made the move to Mother's Day weekend in May ten years ago, and has stayed there ever since.

But according to an ESPN report, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has confirmed a move back to March is under consideration, paving the way for several other big changes in the game.

The biggest of those possible changes? The year's fourth major – the PGA Championship – becoming the second major by moving to May instead of August.

"We think it could potentially be a positive," Monahan said recently, though he stressed nothing concrete was in motion.

"It's complicated. That is not just one move that makes it all happen. Everyone's got TV deals domestically and internationally. Just so many moving parts. It's our jobs as partners to have conversations and understand what are the pros and what are the cons. How can you make this a win-win for everybody?"

Part of the reason PGA Tour officials believe this would be a good move is because it would allow the FedEx Cup play-offs to be completed before the start of NFL and college football seasons.

"I can definitely see why it would move back to March," said Rory McIlroy. "It would then be a big event every month. You would have the Players in March, the Masters in April, you would have the PGA in May; you would have the U.S. Open in June and you would have the British Open in July.

"Then the FedEx Cup run would be a little bit earlier and the playoff run wouldn't clash with football, which is obviously a huge thing as well with TV ratings. I can definitely see reasons for it."

There is also the problem of the Summer Olympics every four years, which typically takes place in August and clashes with the PGA Championship.

The tournament was forced to move to an earlier date last year as a result of the Rio Games.

"We need to consider all options," Pete Bevacqua, CEO of the PGA of America, said last summer at the PGA Championship. "This is a major championship. It's one of the most important events in sports. Certainly one of the most important events in golf. And we need to find a spot on the schedule that works, not just for the PGA Championship, but for the golf schedule as a whole.

"A rising tide lifts all ships, and that's how we feel. We want the Olympics to succeed. We want the FedEx Cup to succeed, and tour events. We want the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup to succeed. And we're going to have to jostle the schedule a little bit. I think everybody is aware of that. We have no conclusions. We have made no decisions. But yes, it's absolutely on our radar screen."