By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) - Organizers of the PGA Championship made official on Wednesday what had long been a proposal by announcing that the 2016 edition of the year's final major will be held in July.
The PGA Championship usually takes place in early August but, with golf reappearing as an Olympic sport at the 2016 Games after an absence of more than a century, the schedule for the four majors is being revamped.
Although the competition schedule has yet to be announced for the Aug. 5-21 Games in Rio de Janeiro, the golfing component is expected to make up two weeks, so the PGA Championship at Baltusrol in New Jersey has been brought forward to July 28-31.
"The PGA of America is excited for what the year 2016 means for our Association and the game of golf," PGA of America President Ted Bishop said in a statement.
"It promises to be a historic season on many levels. We celebrate our centennial; our PGA Championship is being hosted on one of the greatest courses in America and the Olympic Games cap the summer by welcoming back golf as an official sport.
"We believe that moving up the PGA Championship date that year is a win-win for our viewing audience, our spectators as well as for what is likely to be once again the strongest field in golf."
The British Open, the third major championship of the season, will be played two weeks earlier in 2016, from July 14-17, at Royal Troon in Scotland.
"It really wasn't difficult at all to come up with that (July 28-31) date," PGA of America chief executive Pete Bevacqua told reporters at Valhalla Golf Club on the eve of this week's PGA Championship.
"We worked closely with the R&A (Royal & Ancient) and the USGA (United States Golf Association) and obviously Augusta National being the caretakers of the other majors, and it just makes sense.
"Obviously with the Olympics, it's also a Ryder Cup year; you throw in obviously the (PGA Tour's) FedExCup (playoffs), so it's a very congested schedule."
The men and women golf competitors at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be determined by the official world rankings on July 11, 2016.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue)