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NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – The October move of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship means less daylight and more improvising.
Kerry Haigh, the chief championships officer for the PGA, said on Tuesday at Aronimink Golf Club that players will be going out as early as possible on Thursday and Friday, and finishing up as late as will be allowed.
“We do have 132 players in the field, which we are proud of. But having said that, we’re actually going to tee off, I believe, it’s three minutes after sunrise on Thursday and Friday, and we will be finishing well after sunset,” Haigh said. “The hope is to finish, but we would not be surprised if we were not able to finish due to the challenges and the difficulty of the golf course and the amount of daylight. But we felt it extremely important to provide the playing opportunity for all the best players to just feel what is a true major championship.”
Carryovers are nothing unusual, but this weekend’s schedule is unique.
The event was originally slated for June, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was shifted to this week. Not only are there daylight concerns, but showcasing a major championship on network television also means competing against other sports, in this case, NASCAR on NBC.
Saturday’s third-round coverage is scheduled to conclude at 3 p.m. ET, with the final round slated to end at 2 p.m. ET. If all goes well, the third round will play out normally, with the leaders going out last. That, however, won’t be the case on Sunday.
In order for fans to see the contenders compete, the leading threesome would go out in the final round roughly 45 minutes ahead of the final tee time.
“If you have the opportunity to see a three-hour telecast and see the leaders all through that three hours, to me as a spectator, that is a lot more appealing than watching everyone but the leaders tee off and you never get to the leaders to see a shot,” Haigh said.
But as Haigh mentioned, getting everyone out (7:10 a.m. first tee time) and in (sunset around 6:30 p.m.) will be a challenge over the first two days. Should Round 2 spill over into Saturday, provisions will have to be made.
“In some ways, we could be making history this week because we will have the leaders not teeing off at the end of the wave on Sunday. And if we don’t finish on Friday, they will not be teeing off last on Saturday, either,” Haigh said.
“And although it’s a little different and out of the box, we as partners with the LPGA and KPMG are prepared to make those changes for what we think will be a greater and a better championship for everyone to observe.”