Should Golf Have Four Majors?
By mustang6560 on 8/9/11
It seems Larry Olmsted effectively black-balled himself from attending Augusta National for The Masters for the rest of eternity. If that was not the intent of his latest column, well, it will most certainly be a consequence of it.
Based on the title of his column "As PGA Championship Looms, Golf Should Have Three Majors, Not Four Or Five", I assumed he was making the case that the major" status of the PGA Championship should be dropped. It makes sense because it's Tuesday of the PGA Championship Week and it is the least popular of the four majors.
WRONG! Larry proceeded to make the case that the Masters should be dropped as one of the four majors.
But the overriding argument against Major status for the Masters is that unlike all the others, it is not actually a championship of anything or anyone. It is essentially a Major because it says it is. In this respect, it certainly seems like the odd tournament in a group of championships. The biggest argument I ever hear in its defense is tradition, but the opposite is true: tradition should dictate that the Masters not be Major, just as it was not in golf’s formative years or when Augusta founder Bobby Jones was out winning Majors. Traditionally, all the Majors were National Championships.I hate to admit it because I want to be welcomed with open arms by the members of Augusta National, but Larry makes a valid argument. If you were going to drop one of the four majors in favor of only having three, it would make sense to drop the Masters. However, I disagree with him on one important thing - I think golf should have four majors.
The structure of four majors is ingrained in the minds' of golfers and golf fans around the world so changing it now would be foolish. Golf should not get rid of a major nor should it add a major (i.e. The Players). If anything, golf should drop the PGA Championship AND/OR the Masters in favor of a rotating major. Golf is a global game, yet three of the four majors are played in the USA. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy not having to wake up at odd hours of the night to watch a major, but if the game is going to reflect the growing nature of the sport, then it makes sense to only allow a country to host one major a year.
But, none of this is going to happen until golf forms a global tour with a single ruling body. AND, the purse sizes would have to improve because at the end of the day, the professional golfers want to go where the money is.
P.S. Augusta, I'm not saying I want to drop you. I still love and admire the tradition of The Masters. Hope to see you soon!
photo by pocketwiley
[ comments ]
No Way. I'd rather watch the best play Augusta than almost anywhere else.
If you ask the players, I bet more then 1/2 of them would value a win at Augusta more then any other tour stop.
I gotta hand it to you Nate for expressing an opinion that to most of the golf world amounts to heresy. Happen to agree with you somewhat though--I like the idea of majors being national championships. The Masters is a great tournament with a lot going for it, but I am a little creeped out by the history of Augusta National with its discriminatory policies and old south aura and what not.
Anyways the idea of majors and "Grand Slam" is really just a putative one. There was never anything official about it. From what I know the idea of modern Grand Slam was cooked up by Arnold Palmer and some scribe, and more recently gained traction thanks to Tiger Woods publicly stating his intention to beat Nicklaus' 18. I think its been overblown somewhat, to the point where all players now believe they are measured by "majors". Kind of unfortunate and probably why Sam Snead is overlooked as one of the all time greats even though he won way more tournaments than anybody.
In my mind, the obvious comparison should be made with Tennis.
in tennis, the majors are the tougher more gruelling championships.
5 sets vs 3 sets for all other matches.
The other thing is, they are in different countries, the US, Aussie, French and English opens... with varying surfaces and conditions, making it a challenge.
Obviously the conditions in golf change, so that is similar.
Maybe the majors should be more than 4 days. Or 4 days then matchplay to make it TOUGHER to win. That would compare the 5 sets over the traditional 3 sets.
I dont see this changing, I guess the fedex cup has time for that type of thing, but its a way that tennis MAJORs are different.
The next thing, like Nate mentioned, if we made one major per country, that would make it different. I am sure different countries would vary the conditions even more (although the US has a variety of conditions they seem more severe in other countries, even Rory wants warmer weather like the US compared to "home").
Interesting when you think about golf vs tennis.
Although its a matchplay style all the time in tennis... its not playing the field, its always a competitor.
I think its funny how some tournaments move and others dont, thats what makes masters great and not so at the same time.
My 2 cents are spent.
gpickin: the PGA used to be a matchplay championship. From what I have heard it was changed because the format wasn't great for TV viewing. But it would be cool if one of the majors was decided by matchplay.
I wouldn't mind seeing the PGA Championship go back to a matchplay format. I love to watch the Accenture Match Play every year. However, demote the Master's from "Major" status. NO WAY! I can't wait for April to roll around every year. @Legitimatebeef....what do you mean by "old south aura"? That puzzeled me a little.
4 would be good, I would like to see 1 matchplay event in the group.... Masters can stay just fine, they only invite the creme de la creme... (fancy eh')
I like the current setup, 4 majors just has a ring to it. Since golf as a whole has boomed all over the world I would like to see the PGA rotate out of the USA. Maybe on an every other year type of setup... Every other year would be played in the US, with the opposing years in Australia, South Africa, Continental Europe, China, or Japan.
Let's see, which will cause hell to freeze over first - Golf drops The Masters as a major or Augusta National admits a woman member?
And what would be the point of having only 3 majors? Sounds like a solution with no problem.
Exactly, why on earth would we drop a major? The added significance of majors makes golf that much more interesting for an extra week. I'm not saying we should have more, but there sure as hell shouldn't be less...and if one were to get dropped, it certainly wouldn't be The Masters! Who cares if it doesn't have the arbitrary word "championship" in its title, it is the premier golf tournament in the world, bar none.
My major rankings
1 = The Masters
2a/2b = US Open / Open Championship
Distant 3rd = PGA
If we were to drop one...I"d drop the PGA tournament.
Somebody has too much time on their hands.
Sam Snead won 7 majors-1 open, 3 PGA, 3 masters, there are only 6 people who have won more. The term Grand Slam came about in golf as a way to honor Bobby Jones's accomplishment of winning The Open and Amateur championships and their US equivalents all in the same season. If you drop one of the majors, you completely rewrite the history of the game. Leave all four Majors
if the tournament is over 100 years old, you should be a major. that would change the landscape a little bit as it stands right now, but it would make golf more of a world sport.
The (British) Open. US Open. Canadian Open. Australian Open. South African Open.
i also still the the Amateur Championships being considered majors. mainly the British and US Amateur. there is a long history of the best golfers to ever play the sport winning those tournaments.
i would also like the Amateurs to be considered majors, but then we run into having too many....
If we were to drop any it would be the Open Championship. Masters will always be a major.
I think the argument laid out by the writer to remove The Masters is valid, but misses one big point. The Master's tournament and the course, were developed by the only man to ever win "The Grand Slam." That alone, IMO, let's it be a major.
With the game going global, I think there needs to be a change to the PGA. The PGA needs to be the "roaming major." It should be played in varying locale's, on different continents. At the very least, it should move to mainland Europe, making an equal major split. 2 in the US, 2 in Europe. That would allow the PGA and Euro tours to merge, creating a single global pro tour. The season could start as it does now, in Hawaii. North America would hold the 1st half of the season, ending with the US Open. The season would then shift to Europe, for the 2nd half of the season. The "Fedex Cup" can just fade off into the distance as a failed experiment. The season ending "PGA Tour Championship" becomes a combination stroke/match play. Top 100 play 2 days of stroke play. Top 20 make the cut and play 2 days of match play to decide the champion.
How bout we just dont drop one...
I don't see why we need to add any more "majors". It would become that much more difficult to compare the current players to the past guys, and that is one of the great things about sports. They've added plenty of other big name tournaments through the WGC events, keep doing those, and add special exemptions for play between PGA and Euro tour relaxing max/min event limits.
@banker.....really? The Open Championship? How so? It's the oldest tournament in golf.
I am not a fan of links golf. Plus it sucks having to watch on dvr and not live. I just enjoy the other 3 more.
1. US Open
2. The Masters
3. PGA Championship
4. Open Championship
OK Banker, What is it you don't like about links golf? To my mind it is the roots of golf, and all other "championships" stand in line behind the "open Championship". Is it that you don't like watching links golf, or that you don't like playing links golf? Links is a very different game, but it is where the game began. To dismiss the Open Championship as a major begs the question, Why have any majors?
The Master's tournament has always made the highest commitment to the game of golf. It's an international tournament, and like it's counter parts the "open" championships, anyone can play in it if they meet it's qualifying requirments. No amateurs in the PGA...
I am not in favor of dropping a Major, and neither should the PGA (TV Ratings...), but I do think a 5th Major is more of a discussion than this. PlAYERS Championship IS (and needs to be officially) the 5th Major of the year (oddly enough not in chronological order...).
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