This is the last year that the Player’s Championship will be held in March. Next year, the PGA Tour’s premiere event will move to May, sandwiched between the Master’s and the US Open.
Will that cement it’s position as the fifth major?
The PGA Tour certainly hopes so. From everything I’ve read, the thing that rankles the Tour more than anything is the fact that it doesn’t own any of golf’s current four majors.
Thus, the move to May. In that position, the Players’ will be the second in a five month stretch that encompasses all of golf’s premiere events. Anything before the Master’s and after the new FexEx Cup simply becomes an afterthought. There can be no doubt that the new PGA Tour schedule was designed to emphasize the Players’ as a Major.
Yes, the PGA gets what it wants. But not everyone is happy about it.
Our friends north of the border (or in Detroit’s case, south of the border) already have expressed their displeasure with the way that the new schedule has diminished their 100-year-old National Championship.
And in an article in the International Times Herald, Sportswriter Douglas Lowe writes that positioning the Players as a fifth major “unbalances” the golf world:
This move is a matter of concern not just because it will attract the best players to the US at a time when the European Tour is arriving in Great Britain and Ireland but also because an enhanced status for the Players’ Championship would strengthen American golf even further at the expense of worldwide development. All three individual world golf champion-ships will be played in the US next year and to have four of a theoretical five majors there as well would be an imbalance to put it mildly.
Lowe suggests that the Players replace either the Master’s or the PGA as a Major, which is simply not going to happen. (Although I’m sure it would please the Tour to no end if it did.) So that suggestion is not at all useful.
He also promotes the South African and the Australian Opens as potential majors because of their age (dating from 1903 ad 1904 respectively). But that’s also a non-starter.
No, I think that, for the European Tour, the only chance they have is to create their own event and get enough sponsors to lay down the richest purse in golf. Then, use their ability to pay appearance fees to entice the top 25 players. A rich prize would at least pry the European players back.
And I’d suggest that they do it in September, or in March to create a sixth “Major.”
But whining about it isn’t going to do a thing.