Why the Players Championship Should be Classified as a Major
With this past weeks playing of The Players Championship, all the talking heads on PGA Tour Radio threw their two cents in for why/why not The Players Championship should be considered a major championship. Through all the arguments heard on the radio, I didn't hear the one argument that I believe is the lynch pin on why it should be considered a major.
Before I offer my reasoning, it's important to understand the various organizations that make up the modern professional golf era. I'll start with the R&A, who are the ruling authority for golf around the world, excluding the U.S. Their primary duties include maintaining the rules of golf and conducting 21 different championships annually. The most predominate championship being The Open Championship, one of the four current major championships in professional golf.
The second group that plays a role in modern golf is the USGA. What the R&A is to the world, the USGA is to the United States. They work in conjunction with the R&A to govern the rules of golf and conduct 14 different championships within the United States. The most predominate championship being The US Open, the second of four current major championships in professional golf.
The third group that conducts a major championship is the PGA. The PGA represents the 29,000 American Golf Professionals within the United States. The PGA member are the life and blood of golf running the local courses in your area. The PGA Championship is the third of four current major championships in professional golf.
The last, and in my opinion, the best major championship is the Masters Golf Tournament. The Masters is in a league of it's own. Unlike the 3 other majors, the Masters is the only major you are invited to play in whereas the others, spots are earned. It was created by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts with the founding of their golf club, Augusta National as a tournament to crown the best golf each year.
Before their was the PGA Championship and the Masters Golf Tournament, the four majors were considered to be the US Open, US Amateur, The Open and British Amateur tournaments. I point this out purely for the fact that golf is amenable to change and I think the collective body of the golf world would not take offense to creating a 5th major tournament since the definition of a major championship has a history of changing.
The Players Championship was created by PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman in 1974. The PGA Tour is what organizes and manages nearly 50 golf tournaments within the United States that you see on T.V. In the same way that the three governing bodies listed above have their own major championships, the PGA Tour's premier tournament, The Players Championship should be considered a major tournament also. By classifying The Players Championship as a major, each entity responsible for maintaining the integrity, vitality, and growth of the game are allowed to showcase their respective organizations. Having their own championship allows each one to showcase their talents on how they think a champion should be crowned. So therefore, I'm very much in favor of creating a 5th major and I hope it happens within my lifetime.