Colin Montgomerie has never been a golfer who is slow to step forward, as it proved in an interview earlier this year when he not only stated his belief that Asia will one day stage its own major championship, but also that the PGA Championship might be suited to a shift to the east.
“You will find a Major championship being played in Asia one day – definitely,” started Montgomerie. “Tennis has got it right, in as much as its four Grand Slams are held in Australia, France, Britain and the United States; that is a good geographical spread, whereas if you look at golf, we have three Majors in America and one in Britain.
“You will see the spread of golf’s Majors heading east. We know that the Masters is going nowhere, and the US Open probably isn’t either, but the US PGA Championship could possibly be the one to move.”
The 2012 PGA Championship includes 11 Asian golfers in a field that impressively features all of the world’s top 103 golfers. Speaking on the eve of the tournament at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, Joe Steranka, chief executive of the PGA of America, doused the notion that the event could ever depart American turf.
“When you win the Ryder Cup you get to speak on a lot of topics,” started Steranka with a wry smile of sorts, in reference to Montgomerie’s status as captain of the 2010 European Ryder Cup team, which defeated the United States at Celtic Manor in Wales. “So, you know, congratulations again to Captain Montgomerie.
“America represents about 60% of global GDP. A big part of the IOC’s interest in adding golf to the Olympics was because of the size of the American marketplace and the media viewership. Moving the PGA Championship away from the number-one market in the world would be a real tough thing to justify.
“We are still the PGA of America, which represents American golf professionals, and though we are proud of our leadership on the global stage, we’ll leave it at that.”
Montgomerie’s other, more feasible suggestion was that a fifth major championship for golf could be established in Asia.
“We’ve always said that majors have been defined by the players and the media,” responds Steranka. “There was a time when the US Amateur and British Amateur were considered majors. It is our job to make the PGA Championship as good as it can be, and we are going to leave the titles to someone else.”
Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, official car of the 2012 PGA Championship