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Golf Australia Express : Issue 5
By Sam Gole VIEW THE I n golf, like tennis, winning major championships is the ultimate goal for every player. And on the surface you can understand why these beauties are deemed sacred. When they come around the tours, media and us avid sport admirers salivate over them in a manner suggesting we’ve been devoid of events for months. Of course, we too are responsible for building up these events and the aura around them. But unlike tennis, golf has got it wrong. Two of the four chosen majors—which should be about measuring and defining greatness—should not be. The two in question are The Masters and the PGA Championship. Don’t get me wrong, they are great events, no question, but are they worthy of being majors? I think not. The Masters is an incredible golf spectacle. Augusta Golf Club is an amazing setting, the event has intriguing quirky traditions and credit must go to it for achieving such a rich history. It’s an alluring event and is actually my favourite golf event to watch. So why would I remove it from the list of four majors? Well, I have two major concerns. First, for many years, the eligible criteria excluded many of the best golfers in the world from playing it. Some of those graced with an invitation to play were in the later stages of their life, let alone many years past playing their best golf. Having a smaller than usual field size hasn’t done this event any favours either. And when you add to this a question mark over the depth of the field, it surely puts doubts on the prestige gained by winning it. The other issue I have centres around staging a major exclusively on one course. We all know courses can be more favourable to one style of play over another. Augusta is definitely one course that fits this mould. Now it’s fine to say that in order to be regarded as one of the best you need to adapt your game to different conditions, courses and the like. Very true. Rotating major venues each year, like the US and British Opens, show us this. The event should be the major, not the course. The other major on the chopping block is unsurprisingly the PGA Championship. It’s always struggled to gain the same level of respect as the other majors. It’s not the youngest of the majors—the Masters is—but the PGA certainly is the runt of the pack. Let’s face it, it’s really just a regular PGA Tour event—albeit a big one. The often lacklustre attention around it also highlights the difficulty in staging multiple majors in one country, and the objective to make each of them relevant to the game. Tennis has it right. Staging a major open in four different lands is the way to go. Varying conditions around the world will test the best of the best and produce worthy winners. It’s time to cull two golf majors staged in the US and create two new majors in other territories. Imagine how good it would be for the globalisation of golf if a major was played in Australia, South Africa or Japan? And in doing so, it would allow us to rank golfers on how well they perform against each other around the world, not just in America. It’s not an American game, it’s the true world game. EMAIL YOUR THOUGHTS TO: firstname.lastname@example.org MAJOR PROBLEMS How relevant are golf’s majors? Imagine playing here in Chiang Mai at Chiang Mai Highlands Or Hua Hin playing Black Mountain Pattaya, playing Siam Country Club Or Phuket playing at Red Mountain (Click on any of the pictures above to get golf week destination details) 8 SUPERB EVENTS Which one will you play? Tailored golf packages also available www.thailandgolftours.com.au Thailand Golf Tours A Unique Golf Experience