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Weather is greatest unknown for PGA Championship in May at Oak Hill

2008 Senior PGA Championship

“Bring some nice warm clothes,” advised Kerry Haigh, chief championships officer for the PGA of America.

Then he added: “And bring some warm weather so you won’t need your warm clothes.”

Such is the conundrum of hosting the 105th PGA Championship at Oak Hill’s East Course in Rochester, New York, where only Mother Nature knows for sure whether fans will be dressed in fleece or flip-flops May 18-21.

“Oak Hill is a hard enough course in beautiful weather,” said Jay Haas. “Heaven forbid if they have a late spring.”

Haas, now 69, should know. Fifteen years ago, he survived windy, wet, bitter-cold conditions to win the 2008 Senior PGA Championship. The first few days of that event the temperature dipped into the low 40s, an example of the worse-case scenario for Haigh come May. And this year’s PGA Championship is being staged one week earlier than the senior version that has some of its competitors still thawing out. It has some concerned that the weather at this year’s PGA could be something the pros want no part of, especially if it snows. (The 7-day forecast predicts temps ranging from 40-71 degrees, with a high of 56 on Wednesday but hitting 70 on Friday.)

Veteran pro Leonard Thompson, who made more than 1,000 starts combined between the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions, remembers teeing off on the 10th hole at Oak Hill in 2008, his first hole of the championship, and it was sleeting.

“I missed the cut there and I wasn’t that upset about it,” he recalled. “None of us could figure out why they went there in May. That’s not prime season in Rochester.”

Jay Haas at the 69th Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on May 22, 2008, in Rochester, New York. (Photo: Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

There’s a reasonable explanation for the decision to host the PGA Championship on Lake Ontario’s southern shore this May: it wasn’t part of the original plan.

When the PGA of America signed a contract in September 2015 to bring the PGA Championship there a decade after Jason Dufner won what has proved to be his lone major, the PGA still was held in its customary August date and was dubbed “Glory’s Last Shot” as the final major of the season. But that was before the PGA Tour decided to revamp its schedule and bump the FedEx Cup Playoffs into August so that its season concluded before college football and the NFL kicked off and dominated the attention of sports fans.

To do so, the Players Championship shifted to March,…


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