Major Championships and Generations
I was driving home to some PGA Tour radio on XM when I came to a realization…the Masters is not a major and will be the first one to go. Go when? When the paradigm shift to the east takes place. You see, it makes no sense to have three out of four major championships in one country, given golf’s global visibility. It makes more sense to have an australasian major championship than a little old invitational in a little old southern town. That Masters tournament is an anomaly, as well. It is governed by no governing body and is, stripped down, an invitational tournament equal to the Colonial, the Memorial and a few others. Contrast this with the events run by the USGA, PGA of America and Royal and Ancient and I begin to ask, why?
Now, could the Masters preserve its status as major championship? I think so, with one very radical adjustment: movement. If I’m the ANGC (Augusta National Golf Club), I’m interested in talks with a club of similar stature in Australia or one of the principal Asian golf countries (Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Thailand) to co-host the event. Play the Masters every other year in Georgia and likewise, at the sister club.
No doubt those of an older generation scoff at the idea, for the same reason that older professionals proclaim the major championships as the ultimate measuring device/career definer, while the younger ones look to Luke Donald’s achievement of winning the two major tour points titles in one season. It may be that Tiger Woods is the last golfer whose career is defined by major championships. Since tours often co-sponsor events these days, one can double-bang points at important events that are not traditional majors (the WGC events come to mind) and have a crack at multiple tour season titles. Traditionalists will scoff and scoff, until they die off. They will then be replaced by the new traditionalists, the young of 2011, whose definition of success will differ from those of 1971, just as those who defined career success as amateur versus professional titles did…back in the day.
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