Save the US PGA by sending it away
The fourth major is in desperate need of an identity, says Rob Jerram
Ah, the US PGA. Everyone’s fourth favourite major. And don’t try telling me it’s your favourite just to be contrary. Anyone who says the US PGA is the best major probably insists washing up is their highlight of a nice meal and that Made in Heaven is their favourite Queen album.
Both Sky Sports and the BBC spotted this lack of appetite and refused to lodge bids for TV rights this year. That leaves the US PGA to be streamed online, for free.
Though I love the internet, and as much as streaming services have revolutionised the way I watch television, watching a major on Facebook just doesn’t feel right. I want golf to be on the telly, in high-definition, with top-level broadcasters, expros and coaches bringing me insights and action. As it is, I won’t be watching.
I would if this was one of the other three majors. You know, the real ones. Even if it was The Players or the BMW PGA I’d probably watch every minute on my iPad. I just don’t care enough about the US PGA. And neither do the players. It’s last on everyone’s list of majors they’d like to win. No kid ever dreamed of holing a putt to win the US PGA, unless it’s to complete a fantasy grand slam.
Part of the problem is the schedule, which will change next season when the event moves to become the year’s second major. Right now it comes after the big three and, if it’s a Ryder Cup year, just gets in the way of the build-up to the game’s biggest draw. It’s strange, as the US PGA arguably boasts the strongest field of all the majors, but it’s never taken to the best venues and it lacks a true and clear identity.
But I’m not among those who believe it should be scrapped and major status given to The Players. I’d like to see the event taken around the globe. Make it the worldwide major. There are tour players and golf fans across the world, so why should America hog threequarters of the majors? At a time when ‘grow the game’ is a buzz phrase, why not try to grow it beyond its own doorstep? Why not broaden golf’s exposure by taking a major to new countries and cultures?
Suddenly kids across the globe might be dreaming of holing that putt after all.
“To walk away with 60 having missed an eight-footer was a slight disappointment, but I won’t really complain.” Brandon Stone was an inch from recording the European Tour’s first ever 59. A four -shot victory at the Scottish Open and a cheque for £878,722 softened the blow.