A press conference is scheduled for November 16 at which it is expected to be announced that the major tournament will return to the PGA-owned Louisville, Ky. property, which last hosted the Championship in 2014. This would be the first time Valhalla would host the tournament in May, after the PGA announced earlier this year that it would be moving the Championship from its traditional August dates, starting in 2019.
A press conference has been scheduled for November 16 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., the Louisville Courier Journal reported, and a source familiar with the plans but who was not yet authorized to speak publicly about them confirmed that the purpose was to announce the 2024 PGA Championship, the next year available.
The return of the PGA Championship to Valhalla ten years after it was last held there in 2014, when Rory McIlroy defeated Phil Mickelson in the gathering darkness, was further confirmed, the Courier Journal reported, by a tweet from Louisville-area native Justin Thomas, who won this year’s 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, N.C.
“Can’t put into words how much this excited me to hear. The @PGAChampionship is coming to the 502 again!! #louisvilleproud” Thomas tweeted, referring to the Kentucky city’s original area code.
When the tournament returns to Valhalla, the Courier Journal reports, it will be held in May instead of the traditional August dates, in keeping with a new policy that the PGA will start beginning with the 2019 Championship (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2017/08/pga-championship-move-may-2019/)
Moving the tournament to May, a decision motivated in part to avoid a conflict with the Summer Olympics, could create some new challenges, however, the Courier Journal noted. The National Basketball Association and National Hockey League playoffs will overlap the tournament and the Saturday round will compete for attention with the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown that begins with the Kentucky Derby at Louisville’s Churchill Downs.
The PGA of America has staged its championship at Valhalla three times since 1996, the Courier Journal reported, as one of only two sites, along with Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits, to hold the event as often during that span. The 2014 tournament produced record ticket sales and a surge in television ratings.
C&RB featured Valhalla GC as its September 2014 cover story (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2014/09/new-dawn-valhalla-gc/) and reported this year the club’s completion of a major clubhouse renovation (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2017/06/valhalla-gc-completes-3-8m-clubhouse-renovation/).
Ted Bishop, the former president of the PGA of America and owner/operator of The Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Ind., expressed surprise to the Courier Journal that the cost benefits of staging the event at Valhalla, which is owned by the PGA, had not prompted an earlier return date for the Championship.
“I think that’s a great thing for Valhalla, a great thing for the city of Louisville, but even a greater thing for the PGA of America to be able to bring it back to a course they own,” Bishop said.
“The thing I find interesting about that whole move to May is weather becomes an issue,” Bishop added. “The conversation I had with Jack Nicklaus, he felt like in doing that any sites north of Valhalla would be tough sites going forward.”