The PGA of America's relationship with Hazeltine National Golf Club will continue for many more years and is expected to include more PGA Championships and another Ryder Cup "as soon as possible," said PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua, who was in Chaska on Friday to announce Hazeltine as the host venue for the 2019 KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
Bevacqua predicted future PGA Championships for Hazeltine even as he's spearheading the PGA of America's analysis of the pros and cons of moving the PGA Championship from its traditional spot in August to May, presumably a ticklish move for Hazeltine since May is the beginning of the golf season in Minnesota.
"Whether it's May or August, Hazeltine is a key part of the future fabric of the PGA calendar," Bevacqua said. "We're going to continue bringing our biggest and best major championships to Hazeltine. This club feels like home now."
Bevacqua didn't address speculation that Hazeltine is being considered for the 2024 PGA Championship. All he would say is "we're well into conversations with Hazeltine about what's next." As for returning the Ryder Cup to Hazeltine, Bevacqua said "we'd be foolish not to" after the "absolute home run" that was hit with last year's event.
Bevacqua said the PGA of America has spent about four years discussing the possibility of moving the PGA Championship to May. He said a decision could come in a few months, adding that May is enticing because it wouldn't conflict with the Olympics every four years; wouldn't be crowded by the FedEx Cup; and would be well-positioned on the early-season golf calendar, especially if the PGA Tour ends up moving the Players' Championship from May to March.
Meanwhile, Hazeltine spent Friday, as expected, jumping back into the business of hosting majors. The 2019 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, which will be held June 20-23, will be the third women's professional major and the eighth major overall at Hazeltine since the course opened in 1962.
"We wanted to bring this championship to the greatest courses in the country," Bevacqua said. "Hazeltine National takes this just to another level of specialness."
The last women's major in Minnesota was the 2008 U.S. Women's Open at Interlachen. Hazeltine previously played host to the U.S. Women's Open in 1966 and 1977.
Other professional majors played at Hazeltine were the U.S. Open in 1970 and 1991; the PGA Championship in 2002 and 2009; and the 1983 U.S. Senior Open.
"The KPMG Women's PGA Championship aligns perfectly with our mission," said Hazeltine President Bob Fafinski. "Hosting majors is in our mission statement. The members sign on for this. That's what we do.
"We feel we have a great relationship with the PGA. We've had it for years. We look forward to it in the future. This is just the first step going forward for other bigger and better events to come."
The KPMG Women's PGA Championship — formerly known as the LPGA Championship — began in 1955 and is the second-oldest women's professional tournament behind the U.S. Women's Open. It will be played in the Chicago area the next two years. Olympia Fields will play host from June 29 to July 2 this year. Kemper Lakes will be the site for next year's event.
There hasn't been a women's major champion crowned at Hazeltine in 40 years. In 1977, Hollis Stacy won $11,040 for finishing 4 over par to win the U.S. Women's Open. The only other woman to win a professional major at Hazeltine is Sandra Spuzich, who took home $4,000 after shooting 9 over par at the 1966 U.S. Women's Open.
A third member will join that club in a little over two years.
After that? Who knows. But Hazeltine and the PGA of America made it clear on Friday that they don't intend to break up any time soon.