No Longer Only 4 Majors ~
The Masters, US Open, British Open, PGA Championship, The Players Championship, the 4 WGC events, and the last 4 events culminating with the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup are arguably the 13 greatest events on the PGA Tour. It is my contention that there are no longer only 4 Majors.
With the advent of the Tournament Players Championship in 1982, the four WGC events which began in 1999, and the final four events culminating with the Tour Championship which began in 1987, as well as the historic 4 major championships, each represent the most challenging and formidable tests of golf on tour today and all represent an equal test of skill and endurance for the world’s best players.
All of these events require the strictest of qualification standards and ultimately only the top players in the world attend. Each venue has been designed to test the skill of the world’s best players and present their own unique challenges.
Arguably with the introduction of the FedEx Cup and prize of 10 million dollars as well as the creation for the first time of a play-off system, the popularity has gone ballistic. Ultimately when a cash prize this large, in relation to all other prize money on tour is awarded, this becomes the focus of each golfer around the world.
The historic 4 majors and the Players Championship are currently worth 600 FedEx Cup points to the winner and prize money in the realm of 1.6 million. The four WGC events are each worth 550 FedEx Cup points and prize money in the 1.5 million range. On the other hand the final four events culminating with the Tour Championship each represent 2000 FedEx Cup points to the winner and a relatively smaller cash prize in the neighborhood of 1.4 million. These prize amounts seem to rise each year and rightfully so as the game of golf is a growing phenomenon.
No longer only 4 majors is a reality that has come about from the growing popularity of golf and its marketing arm. From the first Open Championship played at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland in October 1860 with a field of 8 professionals and a winning prize of a red leather belt with a silver buckle to its present state of tournament golf in 2015 with mega millions at stake, this game has come a long way.
Golf is a game of tradition, history and lore. Although the 4 traditional majors defer to this integrity the world is changing and the marketing of all athletic endeavors must comply and support not only the athletes, but the multitudes of industries that they support.