The never-ending story: The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra, Florida a major?
And every year, rain or shine, I would have to write about the issue of the whether or not the tournament was a major and, if not, when the hell would it become one? I’d sigh, think “here we go again,” and somehow get through it.
It’s now an issue again, mostly because it’s being moved to May next year. I don’t know how this logic works, but supposedly because we have majors in April, June, July and August, The Players, in May, will fill some some sort of “consecutive monthly major void.”
The PGA Tour obviously wants it to be considered a major, but as powerful as Tim Finchem is, he can’t simply wave his checkbook and declare his tournament a major. He is right, though, in that these things are slippery, and change over time. The Masters wasn’t always considered a major. The Western was once considered a major, then lost it.
The Players is the richest tournament on tour, and has the strongest field. But, it doesn’t have the history or hard-to-acquire mystique the other majors do.
Some of the Europeans say it can’t be considered a major until it loosens its qualification process, admitting more players from around the world.
That makes a great deal of sense to me. Finchem, of course, wants the PGA Tour to be considered the penultimate of golf tours in the world, to the exclusion of others. But, as recent Ryder Cups have shown, wealthiest doesn’t always equal best.
The Players is considered the unoffical fifth major. That’s sort of like being called the best player never to have won a major.
Only time and voodoo will determine whether or not The Players evolves into a major. Until then, opening up the qualification process would go a long way in helping.
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