The Players Championship 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).
Created in 1974, Jack Nicklaus won the inaugural tournament. Although it has a short history, it gathers an élite field every year. The tournament runs at about the same time each year with the final round sometimes being played on Mother’s Day. Its permanent home at TPC Sawgrass since 1982 at the Stadium Course.
The Players Championship is a very young tournament, but has some great highlights. One of the favorites 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.”
Every tournament has great memories. If one researched enough, they could find enough great shots to fill a book. It could be 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 a field made of the top 30-50 players in the world. Ultimately, this tournament has plenty to offer and is touted as one of the top five tournaments of the year.
The greatness of The Players Championship is supported by the facts on many levels. However, what is the real driving force that suggests The Players is the Fifth Major? It is RESPECT. The respect it receives from the players.
Viewers see the Players Championship as an élite 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.
So I ask you, should The Players Championship finally be given its due and be made the Fifth Major in professional golf?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!