Following in the footsteps of the other three majors, the PGA of America will begin awarding a three-year exemption into the PGA Championship for winners of The Players Championship.
Golf Channel reported this change at The Honda Classic, held at PGA National, home of the PGA of America.
Previously, The Players Championship winner was treated like that of any other non-major event, getting a one-year exemption into what will become the year's second major in 2019. However, the PGA of America now feels, like the USGA, R&A and Augusta National, that the stature of the PGA Tour's flagship event has now reached a semi-major status, above that of a regular PGA Tour event or even a World Golf Championships event.
This change will be made starting with the 2018 PGA Championship, which will be played at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis., Mo.
It appears from Golf Channel's reporting that the 2015 (Rickie Fowler), 2016 (Jason Day, already exempt from his 2015 PGA Championship win) and 2017 (Si Woo Kim) winners of The Players will not retroactively receive exemptions into the PGA Championship.