It happens every year. Arguably the best field of the season assembles at TPC Sawgrass in Florida for The Players Championship and, almost immediately, the lobbying begins.
“It’s about time this was made an official fifth major,” many will say. Others will chip in with similar rhetoric that, for the other 51 weeks of the year, they will barely give a second thought to. It's a sequence you could set your watch by.
For as long as I have written about golf, people have insisted that the profile of The Players should be elevated so that the event can ‘take its rightful place’ alongside the Masters, US Open, Open and PGA Championship.
Traditionalists bristle at the notion. They’ll fume that golf has four majors and that’s 'just the way it is - okay?'
Me? I’m all for adding a fifth. I just don’t think it should be The Players, nor do I think it should be in the USA.
Golf's current major season is obscenely condensed.
Instead, I’d like to see a fifth major added somewhere in the southern hemisphere – South Africa or Australia, for instance – so as to extend golf’s major season, similar to professional tennis.
Golf’s current major season is obscenely condensed. It lasts from April until August, resulting in a near eight-month lay-off between the PGA Championship and the Masters. That’s not good enough. By comparison, the first tennis grand slam of the year takes place in January (in Australia) with the fourth and final taking place in the US in late September. In between times, it stages slams in the UK and France. Not a bad geographical split.
Golf? Three of its four majors are in the States – and if some people had their way, there would be another one there. All four of the game’s marquee events, meanwhile, are in the northern hemisphere.
Just think how good it would be to see the world's best competing around Fancourt or Royal Melbourne.
For what it’s worth, I’d like to see the South African Open or, better yet, the Australian Open elevated to major status. They are two of the longest established events in the game – the South African Open has been played since 1903 and its Aussie equivalent since 1904 – and God knows both countries have major-worthy courses. Just think how good it would be to see the world’s best all competing around Fancourt or Royal Melbourne, for example.
Best of all, they could be staged either very late or very early in the calendar year and, in turn, extend golf’s major season dramatically.
Will it happen? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t - and it’s certainly a better alternative than the Sawgrass snore-fest.
The picture below is a tony snapshot of the current PGA Tour Career Money List. Be honest: whose career would you rather have?
(Click to enlarge)
Gary Woodland hit a 403-yard drive at the Wells Fargo Championship last week. That’s the equivalent of 40 double-decker buses laid out nose-to-tail. But don’t worry, folks – the R&A insists it’s got driving distances under control. (N.B. I’m not convinced it does)
He’s won the Masters, banked over $43m in prize money on the PGA Tour, lives in the Bahamas, has a golf swing to die for and, let’s be honest, he's not exactly ugly. Seriously: will Adam Scott ever catch a break?!
This week I have been… trying to find a reasonable explanation for the unreasonable behaviour of the Wentworth Estate Roads Committee (WERC). The organisation in charge of running the plush Surrey neighboured is demanding that it be paid £300,000 for the ‘inconvenience’ caused to it by the BMW PGA Championship when, in previous years, it managed to get by on £14,000. Its increased demands, it has admitted, are in retaliation to the ultimately fruitless attempts by the Wentworth Golf Club’s new Chinese owners to dramatically (and ludicrously) hike the price of membership. Unless I’m entirely mistaken (and I don’t believe I am), it appears as though the WERC’s way of dealing with extortionate demands is to make extortionate demands of its own. In other words, they are trying to prove that two wrongs do, in fact, somehow make a right. Good luck with that, chaps. P.S. Well done on proving all of the negative misconceptions people have about golf. No, really, well done.
And finally… I’m prepared to offer a reward – a substantial one at that – to anybody who can bring me the larynx of one of the ‘Get In The Hole’ crowd. Bonus points for one of the ‘Mashed Potato’ cretins. Name your price.
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Michael McEwan / The Cut Line
Log-on every Friday morning to read The Cut Line, a new weekly blog by bunkered's Michael McEwan.