JUSTIN ROSE

Golf World (UK) - - CONTENTS - Justin Rose is a US Open cham­pion and Olympic gold medal­list who has played on the PGA and Euro­pean Tours for 18 years.

Why the tra­di­tion­al­ist in me re­sists calls for a fifth ma­jor.

I’m do­ing this col­umn on the Tues­day of the Play­ers Cham­pi­onship, an event they like to call ‘the un­of­fi­cial fifth ma­jor’. A few peo­ple are keen to make it more of­fi­cial, but I don’t buy into the fact that there should be a fifth ma­jor cham­pi­onship. The four ex­ist­ing ma­jors have a cen­tury of his­tory (or 84 years in the case of the Mas­ters) and that’s the hard thing to repli­cate. There’s no doubt that there are gaps for spe­cial events, as we’ve seen with the World Golf Cham­pi­onships, but I’m a tra­di­tion­al­ist in ev­ery sense of the word. I feel four ma­jors is enough. Those are the events that have the his­tory and our performance in them is how we weigh up our ca­reers against the great­est play­ers who’ve ever played. If there were five or more ma­jors, then it be­comes more con­fus­ing and it’s more dif­fi­cult to rate play­ers.

If you take the Play­ers as an ex­am­ple, we just don’t know how much of a fo­cus it was for play­ers 20 or 30 years ago ver­sus now. These days it’s a tour­na­ment that ev­ery­one wants to pre­pare for and win, but how many would Jack Nick­laus have won if he’d re­ally put his mind to it, for ex­am­ple. So it’s re­ally hard to then judge ca­reers head to head when you change the script half­way through.

One of the crit­i­cisms that gets lev­elled at the four ma­jors as they stand is that three of them are in Amer­ica. I def­i­nitely think there’s a case for hav­ing more big events spread around the world, but that’s a role the WGCs can ful­fil. His­tor­i­cally, three out of four of those have been in Amer­ica and I think that’s a bit un­fair. The na­ture of them be­ing world events means they should be spread out and that’s started to hap­pen with one mov­ing to Mex­ico re­cently, as well as hav­ing the HSBC Cham­pi­ons in China.

The ma­jor cham­pi­onships are what they are for a rea­son, and they’ve been cre­ated through­out his­tory. The Mas­ters is the Mas­ters and no one would ever sug­gest mov­ing that. The US Open has its own spe­cial niche and the Open Cham­pi­onship is amaz­ing and we all know about the chal­lenge of links golf. The PGA Cham­pi­onship is the one that maybe doesn’t have such a strong iden­tity, but it’s the strong­est field ev­ery year.

Rory raised a few eye­brows re­cently when he said the Mas­ters has be­come big­ger than the US Open and Open. His view­point is cer­tainly skewed to­wards the Grand Slam now, and I get that. But the Mas­ters does have some­thing in­cred­i­bly spe­cial – it’s the first ma­jor of the year and win­ning it means you’re part of some­thing that you come back to ev­ery year for life. It’s great to see past cham­pi­ons ev­ery year at Au­gusta. Whereas if you win the Open, of course you’ve got the Claret Jug for life but the venue that you won at might only be seen once ev­ery seven to ten years.

The fact the PGA is played in Au­gust, not long af­ter the Open and straight af­ter a WGC event, means there’s no time to put any in­di­vid­ual prepa­ra­tion into it as we do for the Mas­ters, US Open and Open. You have to treat it more like an event in a run of events. Ob­vi­ously, you hope that your game lines up and it feels like a ma­jor when you get there, but it’s the one that just kind of hap­pens in your sched­ule and you can’t tar­get it as well as the oth­ers.

It’s go­ing to be very in­ter­est­ing when it moves to the sec­ond ma­jor in May next year. The Mas­ters was al­ways out by it­self in April but now you’ll have ma­jors in April, May, June and July so ‘ma­jor sea­son’ and how you pre­pare for that and build your sched­ule is go­ing to be in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant. It could be a real iden­tity shift for it not to be the last ma­jor of the year.

I re­ally like the way the sched­ule is lining up for 2019 and I think some other tour­na­ments are go­ing to ben­e­fit from the changes, as well. For ex­am­ple, I re­ally like the BMW PGA Cham­pi­onship in Septem­ber and it’s go­ing to be lovely to play golf at Went­worth at that time of year. I like that the PGA Tour sea­son is fin­ish­ing ear­lier be­cause once the FedEx Cup is out the way, you can re­set and fo­cus on the Race to Dubai. It’s go­ing to cre­ate more op­por­tu­nity for big name play­ers to fo­cus their sched­ule around the Euro­pean Tour from Septem­ber on­wards.

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