This month’s PGA Championship will feature the deepest major championship field of the season but, despite that claim, it lacks panache. Maybe it’s the setup. Maybe it’s the distinction of being the last major on the schedule.
Would adding a fifth major to the PGA Tour schedule help boost fan interest in “Glory’s Last Shot”?
The notion of a fifth major is by no means unprecedented, as both the LPGA (as of 2013) and Champions tours feature five on their respective schedules.
The LPGA will add the Evian Masters (to be shortened to the Evian) to its major docket of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the Wegmans LPGA Championship, U.S. Women’s Open and Ricoh Women’s British Open.
The Champions Tour counts the Senior PGA Championship, Regions Tradition, Constellation Senior Players Championship, U.S. Senior Open and Senior Open Championship as their handful of majors.
Is there room for a fifth among the under-50 male set?
The Players Championship has been viewed by both players and fans, and boasted by the PGA Tour as the “fifth major.” Winning the tournament is also on the career bucket list for many players, suggesting that even they hold the championship to a higher standard than most other tournaments. After all, the PGA Tour’s crown jewel each May features a deep field of the world’s best. Despite all of this, it remains a notch below the majors.
Maybe that should change. Then again, the argument has flaws.
If The Players was elevated to major status, it would infringe on the uniqueness of the Masters – the only major whose venue never changes.
What about the World Golf Championships? They have deep, albeit small fields, as well with arguably more international representation. For some non-members of the PGA Tour, they carry more prestige. For European Tour members, their flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, is more valuable.
Perhaps the biggest problem in expanding to five majors is who would declare it so. The PGA Tour cannot simply add a tournament they own to the major landscape without eye rolls and talk of intellectual dishonesty.
If the PGA Tour (or European Tour) cannot name a fifth major, who could? Who would?