Clearly the PGA Tour wants it to be considered such. As things are currently construed, the PGA Tour is on the outside of the Majors looking in. The Masters is run by Augusta National; the US Open by the USGA; the Open Championship by the R&A; and the PGA Championship by the PGA—which is a separate entity from the PGA Tour.
I frankly think that the only thing keeping it from being considered such is tradition. People are so used to the concept of four Majors that they can’t conceive of a fifth. The Players is too young to have built up any real body of history. And it’s been in an awkward position for its entire existence. Most people don’t start thinking of golf until after the Masters.
It also doesn’t help that golf’s ruling bodies—the R&A, USGA and PGA —have no interest in sharing time with the PGA Tour.
But consider the case for the Players. First, it has arguably the strongest field in golf, with no amateurs and no club pros. It boasts the largest purse of a regular event. It’s even got an identity centered around the Sawgrass course. And now, the Tour has clearly helped its case by sandwiching the Players between the Masters and US Open. May previously was a month largely dedicated to speculating about the US Open.
What it really needs now is a signature battle—an epic duel between Woods and Mickelson, or Woods and Singh. A match where the tournament is decided on the final hole.
But that’s not going to happen.
Still, I’m willing to acknowledge it as the fifth most important tournament—if not as a Major.