PGA Championship on tap for August in San Francisco, without fans

Ian Poulter in fine form during a practice round for the Cadillac Match Play event at Harding Park in 2015. Credit: Paul Kapustka, MSR

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Ron Kroichick is reporting today that San Francisco public health officials have given a green light to holding the PGA Championship at Harding Park in August, but without any fans in attendance.

According to a story posted today, the PGA is expected to make a formal announcement about the tournament on Tuesday. The PGA, originally scheduled for Harding Park in May, was one of many events postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Though the tour announced the rescheduled dates earlier, there was not any confirmation that California or San Francisco health officials would let the event occur.

Now scheduled to take place Aug. 6-9, the tournament will be golf’s first major of the delayed season. The PGA Tour restarted this past weekend with another no-fans event at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. While most tour events that have been slated to take place will also do so without fans, the Memorial Tournament in Ohio in mid-July is planning to have a limited amount of spectators allowed on site.

Viewers flock to on-air and digital PGA Championship broadcasts


The Turner Sports decision to present an aggressive online presence for the PGA Championship as well as strong over the air coverage resulted in strong results as the event sees big growth in viewership in both areas.

The over the air broadcast of the 2013 PGA Championship from the Oak Hill Country Club East Course in Pittsford, N.Y., shown on TNT received the network’s highest rating for the event in 3 years with an average of 1.6 million viewers, up 54% from last year. It had an average of 1.2 U.S. house hold rating, a 50% increase from last year.

Probably as no surprise most of the top regions in terms of viewership are also hot golfing destinations and all rated much higher than the national average. They were markets for all four rounds of coverage on TNT were Las Vegas (2.7), West Palm Beach (2.6), Columbus (2.4), Greenville, S.C. (2.4) and Orlando (2.3).

While the broadcast numbers were strong, the digital numbers were even stronger, showing that there is a large market that wants to experience sporting events but often cannot get away to view them on television.

The PGA.Com umbrella that handles both mobile and broadband streaming delivery was up 69% during the Championship and live streaming hours across platforms are up 85% compared with 2012.

Turner Sports Goes All-in On PGA Championship Coverage


The 95th PGA Championship is being held at the Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course in Rochester, N.Y. and if you cannot catch any (or all) of TNT’s 18 hours of broadcast coverage there are other options that will enable you to stay abreast of the tournament.

Turner Sports is seeking to provide one of the broadest multimedia sports presentations possible with its coverage of the PGA Championship starting tomorrow, the 23rd consecutive year that the network has covered the event.

There is first off PGA.Com, an online site that provides users with a variety of features about the event but possibly the most important for remote fans is that it provides live streaming via PGA Championship Live. It is designed for not only PC users but also available on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

Among the features available from the app are a 360-degree camera that provides a panoramic view of the course and it has the ability to allow users to move the camera to get a view that matches their desire (aside from being there live). Fans can also look for highlights via its Video Highlight Hub so that they can witness all of the top moments and will allow fans to search and browse by player, round, hole or top moment from the 2013 PGA Championship.

For desktop users there is also a function that provides bird’s eye view of the interaction between players with an enhanced leaderboard that not only provides scores and highlights but also players interaction with each other around each hole

For mobile users there are also some specific features available as Turner has expanded its app from last year and added Android support in addition to the existing iOS features, although they offer slightly different features. For iOS users the user news, video alerts, detailed leaderboard and scorecards and access to live video streaming. The mobile web site will also offer live video, score updates and other news.


Turner is not forgetting social media and has a number of new, improved or returning features. In the new category s Twitter Mirror showing shots and comments from players that fans can view @PGA.Com. Twitter will also be showing video highlights at the Twitter address and fans can participate in join a chat site that will include journalists and players at #PGAChamp.

Turner is also offering a variety of extras such as Predict It, an interactive tournament prediction feature and “PGA Championship Pick the Hole Location Challenge Hosted by Jack Nicklaus” that will enable fans to select the location of the famous Par 3 on the 15th hole.

Contest Could Get You into PGA Championship


The 95th annual PGA Championship is the last major of the season and will be held this year at the Oak Hill Country Club up in the Town of Pittsford, NY and the PGA is holding a contest that could allow you (if you win) access to the course.

On the face of it it looks simple, which always means that it will be much tougher than I imagine. The contest is called the PGA Championship Reporter Contest and all you need to do is tell the PGA why you should be reporting from the links for that event.

The PGA is looking for three criteria in an entry. They are quality of entry, originality of entry and number of votes that the entry receives. The PGA’s rules do not tell what or how votes are accumulated.

From the entries there will be ten selected as finalists on May 13, of which four will make the cut. Each of the ten will then create a one minute video that has you explaining why you should be the person selected for the event.

The four winners will be announced Thursday, May 30 and will have the privilege to report from the Oak Hill Country club during PGA Championship week, August 5-11. The PGA emphasizes that this is a voluntary position and that it does not provide any compensation aside from course access.

If your entry is not selected you can always consider other contests that accept written essays such as the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Just do not use “It was a dark and stormy night” I am pretty sure that it has already been used.

Early Sunday Start for PGA Championship on TNT, also Online; Players Turn to Twitter to Amuse Themselves

With the rain interrupting Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championship things will get a much earlier start than planned Sunday, with golfers finishing up the third round starting at 7:45 a.m. Eastern Time. According to the PGA’s Twitter stream, the broadcast coverage on TNT will start at 8 a.m. Eastern, and the online stream (which will follow Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh as the “featured” group) will start airing at 7:40 a.m. Just like the British Open, early weekend golf! CBS should still come on at 2 p.m. Eastern, weather permitting. Let’s see if they can finish before dark.

I have to say I’ve been impressed by the PGA’s online efforts so far. Though it still doesn’t match the Masters when it comes to online screen choices (there is only one “marquee group” on at any time, plus coverage of the par 3 holes plus the ability to see the CBS broadcast when CBS is live), I do like the timeline below the viewing screen that lets you go back to watch highlights. And I will call the Social Caddy page a success — I was getting set to rip it this morning because it looked like the PGA was keeping out any negative commenters, but by Saturday afternoon I saw more than a few tweets about how pathetically bad the shuttle system was to get fans and media in and out of Kiawah.

Apparently there is only one road out to the island, leading to all kinds of traffic jams and a cavalcade of woe-is-us tweets from the golfing media, who have to endure the horrors of hours-long shuttle rides to and from the course. While it’s doubtful that anyone feels at all sorry for golf writers it has made for some entertaining reading. And it’s cool that the PGA isn’t trying to stop or police it on the Social Caddy site. Here’s USA Today writer Steve DiMeglio with a good line:

Of course one of the funniest PGA-related Twitter exchanges was taking place between Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Jason Dufner. If you’ve been following this trio you know that they love to just play around by ripping each other… relax folks it’s all a joke. Gotta love Bubba posting what looks like an old photo of Dufner:

Nothing like a little downtime and a good Internet connection.

PGA’s Mobile Device Policies a Bit At Odds With Tourney’s Online Promotions

The golf hasn’t started yet but as we look through the spectator guide for the PGA Championship we ran across the mobile device policy, which seems pretty sound. Turn your phone to vibrate, you can check data and send messages, just no picture-taking during the golf. And certainly no video. Otherwise you will be asked to surrender your device, which you can then pick up later you naughty online phone user, you.

Of course, this rule will apparently NOT apply to PGA staffers, since the championship is making a big deal of its social media coolness this weekend in Kiawah. The tournament even has an Instagram page and will be hosting some fun Viddy videos, probably shot on phones. Just not on fan phones. So, yes, the PGA Championship is into social media. Just not any social media created by, you know, people.

Scrolling down a bit on the user guide we see that the PGA is suggesting that folks leave distracting items at home like dogs and milk crates, as well as iPods and iPads. But the news release for the tournament’s digital coverage notes that a lot of items will be designed to take advantage of the iPad:

Optimized for iPad – the official PGA Championship site and PGA Championship LIVE will be optimized for the iPad. The site and video player will take advantage of the iPad’s large, multi-touch display to provide fans an enriched viewing experience.

Seems like with the inevitable rain delays, an iPad could be a handy thing to have out there on the island. So don’t bring it. But if you do, enjoy the iPad optimization.

Our favorite bit from the user guide, however, has nothing to do with digital — unless it’s the digits on your hands that you save by not being utterly stupid:

Please do not disturb or feed alligators, snakes or other
natural wildlife while on the grounds of the Ocean Course.
Use caution when walking in areas near ponds and tall grasses.

I’d watch out for Tigers too. They tend to attract big crowds, and will turn on anyone using a camera phone to record their brush with greatness.