Fifth Major?

Originally posted May 16th/2011 –


For the fourth straight week, the PGA TOUR went into a playoff late Sunday. The sun was setting but the golf was just heating up, as David Toms and K.J. Choi returned to the island green of the TPC Sawgrass’ world famous 17th hole to decide a winner of the 2011 Players Championship.

Choi took it with a par on the first extra hole, but the quality of the other golfers chasing him and Toms should not be overlooked.

Featured on the leaderboard was the best golfer in the world right now, Luke Donald, young American stars Hunter Mahan and Nick Watney, and wily veterans Davis Love III and Steve Stricker.

The Players is contested on the same pristine course each year, admired for it’s difficult water hazards and closing stretch of holes that, since it’s a public course, haunt everyone from tour pros to high-handicappers.

It’s an iconic stop on tour with a huge purse and a world-class field.

Sounds like a major championship, doesn’t it?

But let’s be serious, it’s not.

There are four major championships in golf. It’s always been that way, and it always will be.

Shot-making, pressure, weather (both good and bad), and tradition are combined into spectacles of the game of golf that fans can enjoy four times a year: in April, June, July, and August.

The Masters: time stands still, and each year everything stays the same, yet changes. The men of the game keep it their way, and they do it well. (They should go easy on Rickie Fowler and his backwards hat, but that’s for another post…)

The U.S.Open: the ultimate open championship. Anyone with a 1.4 handicap or lower (and $150 in their pocket for the entry fee) can enter and try to take on the beastly layouts the USGA has in store each year.

The British Open: the oldest championship in golf played on layouts where the game itself was invented. The only time this year that men will wake up early to watch something happen inBritain(unless their wife/girlfriend/mother/daughter got them up for that other British event…)

The PGA Championship: long regarded as the ‘little brother’ to the other Majors, the tournament has given us some of the most thrilling finishes in golf. Some won by the game’s best, others, won by the most exciting of underdogs.

One week earlier than the Players, there’s a tournament played inNorth Carolinaon a course that one day may host a major, and continually gets rave reviews from the pros.

But it’s not a major.

One week later than the Players inEnglandis the European Tour’s flagship event that has had some of the greatest European winners of all time hoist its trophy, played on a Ryder Cup-worthy course.

But it’s not a major.

Then, sandwiched between the two, is the Players championship itself which, as mentioned, boasts the richest purse on tour along with a great field.

But it’s not a major.

The Players may remain as the crown jewel of the PGA TOUR and since it’s inception in the early 1970s has always drawn comparisons to the ‘Big Four.’ But, many of the game’s best don’t even make the trek toFloridato play.

There aren’t any other tournaments that are more or less deserving of the title “Golf’s Fifth Major” because, well, that title shouldn’t exist, despite how golf writers like to allude to it as such.

The Players is a great tournament indeed, but a great tournament only it will stay.


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