In the words of Ebenezer Scrooge… “Bah Humbug!”
Another year, and it’s another year of the playing of The Players Championship. This tournament is a little different because it’s “their” tournament. 2019 is also different for a different reason. In 2018, the PGA TOUR announced that they were going to be rearranging the schedule. The major change in the schedule was The Players being switched from its date in May to March. Honestly, I think it’s a move that only makes sense. After all, they are currently in the “Florida Swing” as they are every year at this time. Doesn’t it make sense to go forward instead of backtracking to where you’ve already been?
Just because it’s a major schedule change doesn’t mean that the word major needs to be included in declaring The Players a “Fifth Major”. I wasn’t going to chime in on this topic but seeing that everyone and their uncle has I figured… Why not? After all, opinions are like arseholes. Everybody has one. While I realize that there are a million articles on the ongoing debate regarding the status of The Players becoming the TOUR’s “Fifth Major” I have my own spin on the topic.
If I may be totally frank, it’s the one thing that drives me nuts about the LPGA Tour. Maybe, I’m cantankerous and stuck in my old ways but when I think of Major golf tournaments I look at the number of them being four. It’s likely a direct by-product of the men’s game. The Evian Championship wasn’t declared a “Fifth Major” until 2011. Before going on, we need to be reminded that this tournament (founded in 1994) and was once one of two Major Championships on the Ladies European Tour. It wasn’t until 2000 that it became a co-sanctioned event between the LET and the LPGA Tour. Regardless of how strong the field is at the Evian Championship, there’s just something that sounds off about a fifth major.
Conversely, The Players Championship has been played since 1974 and at TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course since 1982 in Ponte Vedra, FL. So by simple mathematics, it is older than the Evian Championship. The field is as strong as they get year-in and year-out giving it the sense of being a major. But why does The Players Championship need to have the label of “The Fifth Major”? Marketing… to make people happy? I just find it hard to find a reason why we need to have a “Fifth Major”. When a baseball player hits a “Grand Slam” does he touch four bases and home plate? No! It seems small, petty, and trivial but did Bobby Jones win the “Grand Bingo Bango Bongo” or whichever marketing term you’d choose to use. No! There’s something that just sounds “right” and poetic about Rory or Brooks chasing the career “Grand Slam”. Hey! While we’re at it… let’s take away Tiger’s Grand Slam. Heck, that shouldn’t count any longer. I know that statement will resonate with many readers.
It just seems like when discussions like this come up there is one thing affected by it. History. Why is it that this generation or era just feels a need to change history? It doesn’t necessarily relate to golf… but society in general. History is a phenomenal thing. History has defined us… shaped us. Good moments and bad. It’s just not renaming things or changing history or leaving heritage behind but this society also has a strong urge to be “butthurt” if they don’t like something. Hell, I’ve seen some people suggest nixing the PGA Championship in favor of replacing it with The Players Championship to keep it at four. The Wanamaker Trophy has been handed out to the winner since 1916. Erase it right?!
My opinion regarding The Players is this. The Players Championship doesn’t need to be a “Fifth Major”. Every person that is a golf fan and observer knows and understands that this tournament is a “big deal”. The field is huge, the purse is bigger. It’s just not your every week tournament. It’s special and it’s practically its own entity. Just leave it alone and “Plead the Fifth”.
Until The Next Tee!!