The Players Championship played this weekend is lauded as the Fifth Major. It is the only significant tournament owned and administered by the PGA Tour. The majors all have different sponsors. The Masters is owned by the Augusta National Golf Club; the U.S. Open by the United States Golf Association (USGA); The Open Championship by The R&A, and the PGA Championship by the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA of America).
This tournament was created in 1974 and Jack Nicklaus won the inaugural tournament. This tournament has a short history, but gathers an elite field every year. The tournament runs every year at about the same time with the final round being played on Mother’s Day. It has a permanent home at TPC Sawgrass since 1982 at the stadium course.
Having the reputation as the Fifth Major is very tough. The Players Championship is a very young tournament, but has some great highlights. Tom Alter, PGATOUR.COM, outlines 40 history shots that capture your imagination. One of the favourites was in “2007 – In the third round, Phil Mickelson’s tee shot at the 10th hole found a fairway bunker. His only shot to the green was through a small gap in the trees. The leader couldn’t win the tournament with this one shot, but he could lose it. So “Phil the Thrill” threaded his approach shot through the trees and onto the green. Climbing out of the bunker, he said to his caddie Jim “Bones” McKay, “I didn’t want to tell you what I was doing.” Mickelson went on to win the first PLAYERS in May by two shots.” There are many more great stories and are worth a read.
Every tournament has great memories. If one researched enough, they could find enough great shots to fill a book. It could be the fact that it has the richest prize money of any tournament. Or that the winner receives 600 Fed Ex points for winning like the other Majors. Or that the field is made of the top 30-50 players in the world. Ultimately, this tournament has plenty to offer and continues to be elevated into the top five tournaments of the year.
The greatness of The Players Championship can be supported in the facts on many levels. However, what is the ultimate driving force that makes it the Fifth Major? It is RESPECT. The respect it receives from the players.
In an article by ESPN.COM, on Tuesday Tiger Woods is quoted, “We have our four major championships, and that’s that, …….But if there was going to be another one, this would be it. This is the best field that we have. We have guys from all over the world playing and, next to the PGA, probably one of the deepest and stiffest fields we’ll face.”
USA Today Sports penned “The Players just gets bigger and bigger,” two-time Players champion Davis Love III said. “The PGA Tour has done a great job in making this our major, the players’ major, and it’s a special tournament.”
The New York Daily News quotes the number 2 in world, “It’s funny,” said Rory McIlroy, who has missed the cut all three times he’s played here. “It’s a golf course where you look at the field and you’re like, ‘Anyone can win.”
The majority of the golf world respects the Players Championship as an elite tournament. The players themselves are eager to try their hand at one of the toughest competitions of the year. As stated by the players, this tournament has proven year in and year out that it is a top tier professional golf tournament. It is time to give The Players Championship its due and make it the Fifth Major!
I am a grateful Golfer! See you on the links!