Possibilities for another PGA Championship in Rochester

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Rochester is just days away now from the start of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. This is the first time the tournament will be played next week instead of August.

That’s because of a change in the golf calendar. It was done for a few reasons – maybe the biggest one being they don’t have to compete with Football for TV ratings.

August and May aren’t the same thing in Western New York. The biggest difference of course is the weather. It’s tough to say how long and cold winters are.

Oak Hill was awarded this tournament before golf shook up the schedule. They were originally going to host it in August. But now, things have switched and it begs the question: Will Rochester have another May major down the line?

CBS Sports’ Dottie Pepper seems to think so.

“I think if this one goes well, there’s no reason that they couldn’t,” says Pepper. “Yeah, it’s a gamble to have it in May. Bethpage was the first one that we felt the change of seasons for. This will be the last. But, I think if it goes well people understand that we don’t play golf in a dome. You have to get a start early October, November, with the build out in Rochester because of of old men winter. But I don’t see this being a last stand for the PGA in Rochester. Not at all.”

Long before now, the course underwent some changes.

The east course is full of history but the club went back to the original designs of Donald Ross. They rebuilt the greens and bunkers. Aside from that, there’s one change that’s impossible to miss.

The fairways are more open now, after removing trees from the course. Oak Hill says they were removed strategically to help more sunlight shine down on the tees and greens and showcase the grounds more.

That’s always been a big obstacle for players. So without them there, what’s the biggest defense of the course in the eyes of Pepper?

“I think its newness is going to be its biggest defense,” says Pepper. “Nobody has seen this golf course. I haven’t heard of a PGA tour player that has actually said I went to Oak Hill and got an early look at it. I guess partly because of weather, partly because of the schedule they’ve been on. But I think it’s newness is going to be its defense. And there’s there’s nobody that has any any real history to to pull on because it is and it has been renovated to such an extent. And yes, there’s been some tree removal but I think even bigger, all the green platforms are all new to all the players.”