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Why Golf Needs a Fifth Major That is Not Played in The USA

By: | Mon 13 May 2024

Should men's golf introduce a fifth major and what form should it take? Golfshake's Derek Clements explains why he thinks a new, travelling worldwide championship is the way to go.

According to the PGA of America, ‘the best field in golf is coming to Valhalla.” 

Hmmmm….I am not so sure about that.

The field includes:

Josh Bevell, Michael Block, Evan Bowser, Preston Cole, Tyler Collet, Matt Dobyns, Jared Jones, Jeff Kellen. You get the picture.

There has always been a reason that the PGA Championship has been regarded as the least prestigious of our sport’s four majors and the names listed above (and several more besides) are part of the reason why. It is a tournament that is open to all PGA professionals, and that means that every year we see a host of players who are primarily club pros teeing it up alongside the world’s best players. This year, 21 of them will be teeing it up at Valhalla.

The men in green jackets who run The Masters would have us believe that their tournament is the best major but that is clearly utter nonsense. The Masters boasts a small field that features many past champions who have no chance whatsoever of winning, and the size of the field means that, no matter how iconic the venue, it can never be classed as the best major.

The PGA boasts a field of 156 golfers. Apart from the club pros, there are a number of past champions in the field who have no chance of winning - I would guess that at least 50 golfers in the field will tee off knowing they cannot win.

Don’t get me wrong - I have no issue with club pros getting a shot at glory but almost all of them will miss the cut. Block briefly shone 12 months ago and it will be interesting to see how he fares this time around. But, by and large, these guys are something of a novelty act.

The PGA Championship

As far as I am concerned THE major is The Open Championship, while most right-thinking Americans would claim it is the US Open. What is not in doubt is that it is one or the other.

While we are on this subject, does anybody else think that it is time we had a look at the whole subject of golf’s majors?

There are just four of them, one staged in each of April, May, June and July. When the final putt is holed at The Open at Royal Troon in July, we will have to wait a full eight months for the next one to come along. 

The women’s game supports five majors - and two of them are played outside America.

Golf has become a truly global game. Now more than ever. So what right does America have to stage three of golf’s four majors, especially when two of them are as skewed as they are?

If you are not in the top 50 in the world rankings you are not going to play at Augusta unless the powers-that-be choose to give you a special invitation. 

Surely the time has come to think about introducing a fifth major?

Just look at the nationalities of the men playing on the PGA and DP World Tours - and the nationalities of the men who are winning on those tours.

We have seen winners coming from Japan, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Sweden, Norway, Denmark. The list goes on and on. 

So why not introduce a fifth major and call it The World Open

Just think of the crowds who would turn up in Japan to see the world’s greatest golfers fighting it out for a major. Some of the best golf courses on the planet are located in Australia and South Africa, countries that get little or no chance to see our sport’s top stars in action.

Why shouldn’t there be a fifth major, one that moves around every year? To anywhere other than Saudi Arabia!

The Saudis have attempted to buy the game of professional golf (and just about every other professional sport you can think of), and I seriously dread the thought of them controlling a fifth major as part of any kind of peace deal.

But a major run by the people who truly care about our beloved game would surely be something to celebrate. And imagine the scenes if Hideki Matsuyama were to win on home soil? If would be like nothing the sport has ever seen.

I know that the traditionalists will probably be spluttering into their gin and tonics at the very thought, but nothing stays the same for ever.

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What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

Tags: us pga PGA Championship PGA

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