Pushing a major championship to October presents a number of challenges. Particularly given that the officials wanted to keep the field at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship to 132 players. Given the limited number of playing opportunities in 2020, it was an especially crucial call.
But with roughly three fewer hours of daylight this time of year and a difficult test in Aronimink Golf Club, Kerry Haigh said he wouldn’t be surprised if Thursday’s opening round spilled into Friday.
“We’re actually going to tee off, I believe it’s three minutes after sunrise on Thursday and Friday,” said Haigh, Chief Championships Officer of the PGA of America, “and we will be finishing well after sunset.”
In addition, weekend tee times will look a bit different as well.
NBC will air the championship on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. ET and on Sunday from Noon to 2 p.m., ahead of NASCAR. To make that work, the leaders won’t be teeing off last on Sunday. And if play from Friday pushes to Saturday morning, the same will hold true for the third round as well.
“We feel it’s important that everyone watching the telecast will see the leaders,” said Haigh, “see the leaders play all 18 holes, and we think that is important. 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.”
Karen Stupples, who was moderating the afternoon presser with Haigh and several other championship officials, said she remembers a “reverse horseshoe” happening previously on the LPGA.
“I remember teeing off in like one of my first years on tour with the lead and being the first group off in the afternoon to make that time,” she said. “As a player, it didn’t really make any difference to me. It was perfectly fine. Just as exciting to be in the lead and at the top of that leaderboard as it was if you were teeing off a couple of hours later.”
TV times for the KPMG Women’s PGA
Dates: Oct. 8-11
Venue: Aronimink Golf Club, Newtown Square, Pa.
GOLF Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 1-5 p.m. (Live) / Midnight-4 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday 1-5 p.m. (Live) / 2-4 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 11 a.m.-Noon (Live) / 2-4 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday 10 a.m.-Noon (Live) / 2-5 a.m. (Monday replay)
Saturday Noon-3 p.m. (Live)
Sunday Noon-2 p.m. (Live)