WHAT ABOUT A FIFTH MAJOR?
GOLF is certainly in an interesting place right now. There is young talent emerging from all corners of the globe and mainstays like Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are firing on all cylinders. We have the World Cup, Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and the Olympic Games. Then there’s Tiger Woods and the resurgence of Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson. But this doesn’t mean the game can’t be improved.
Whether it’s the new Rules of Golf set to be unveiled in 2019 or the potential roll back of the modern golf ball, the governing bodies are always looking for what changes could and should be made. So, in light of that, I put to you the age-old question: Should there be a fifth major championship in men’s golf?
Answers vary. So do reasons. Traditionalists, like renowned swing coach Butch Harmon, suggest: “We’ve always had four majors and we should keep it that way.”
Meanwhile, most of those in favour of the concept believe The Players Championship should simply be awarded major status. “I think this should be a major, I really do,” said Jordan Spieth at TPC Sawgrass. “I’m telling you, if you win here, you can win anywhere. It’s the strongest field in golf.”
So it seems only logical that the unofficial ‘fifth major’ would fill the void if it was decided that another major championship was appropriate. The final holes at Pete Dye’s iconic course have created lasting memories and the list of champions includes some of the game’s all-time greats.
But this would do nothing to grow the game … It would mean four majors on American soil. Compare that to tennis, which visits Melbourne, Paris, London and New York for its main events.
The rescheduling of the PGA Tour season will see the US PGA Championship moved from August to May starting in 2019. This means there will be an eight-and-a-half month gap between The Open Championship in July and the 2020 Masters in April.
So here’s another question to ponder: Could the fifth major be held in the Asia-Pacific in that timeframe?
Asia has more golf facilities in planning or under construction than any other region in the
world. The R&A released that finding in its “Golf around the world” report last year. The PGA Tour has also expressed its desire to capture the growing market in Asia and already holds events in Korea, Malaysia and China.
Is there potential to hold a fifth major in either of those countries? What about Australia?
Those against the idea of another major would probably find that concept even harder to swallow. But consider this. Golf, as we know it, has existed since the 15th century. The current four majors have only co-existed since the inception of the Masters in 1934. History is important. But it doesn’t need to stand in the way of progress.