Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.
If you nerd out on all things golf, there is a little doubt that you have noticed the debate that rages on every May surrounding the Players Championship and its official status as a major or not.
In truth, no, the Player’s Championship is not golf’s fifth major, but that doesn’t stop people from calling it such.
This article will highlight the reasons why the Player’s Championship is not considered a major golfing tournament – even though it has a healthier purse and field than all of them (and that includes the Masters).
The debate that has been raging on for decades is showing no signs of slowing down. And, whichever side you lean to, at least now you’ll know the reasoning behind the Player’s Championship being kept off the major circuit.
Why Is The Player’s Championship Not A Major PGA Championship?
There are two main reasons why the Player’s Championship is not considered (and never will be considered) a major on the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) Tour.
Those two reasons are the Player’s Championship golf course and the tournament’s history. We will highlight, in detail, why these reasons affect the tournament’s ability to be considered a major now.
The Golf Course
Since 1982, The Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass down in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida has been the home of the Player’s Championship.
The course is a fun-sized one, with fan-friendly holes that make for good spectating and television.
By PGA Tour Standards, the course is short, which means big-hitters like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson can make their way around the course with very little need for their drivers.
This means that the course, although incredibly fun to watch and play, lost credibility on the major’s stage.
TPC Sawgrass is also known for not identifying the best players in the game, which, again, didn’t do wonders for their credibility.
The list of champions since 1982 doesn’t stand up to the same major champions each of the four major tournaments.
This is, for better or worse, a testament to its unique standing in the game of golf – it is more glitz and glamour than glory and legacy.
If you have ever watched the Player’s Championship, you would have surely noticed the talking and viewing point of the 17th hole.
Known as the “Island Green”, this iconic hole is a big reason why the Player’s Championship attracts such a varied crowd – it is exciting.
However, this style of a hole is also not something that would ever be considered at a golf course where a major championship is held.
In fact, many golfing personalities believe, that the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is one of the defining factors why it has not and will never be considered a major.
History of the major championship events
It’s true that some tournaments have procured into majors, but this evolution isn’t a drawn-out thing. In this history of golf, each time that a tournament has turned into a major, it has been done with haste.
Take the oldest standing golf tournament in the world – The Open Championship as an example.
Even way back in its first inception in 1860, the Open Championship was quickly put forward as a major international golfing tournament, and it has been classed as one ever since.
The U.S Open has another similar scenario where it was, almost immediately, considered a major championship winners straight after its first run in 1895.
The PGA Championship followed suit in 1916, while the Masters is the youngest of the four majors, beginning in 1934.
Because of the turmoil that was rife throughout the golf world at the time as a result of World War II, it took the Masters a little longer to be considered a fully-fledged “major”.
By the early 1950s, there was no question as to its status and it has been one of the four majors ever since.
The Players Championship doesn’t fit the traditional bill of the golf season as a major tournament. It has been running for close to 50 years already, and 40 of them have been at TPC Sawgrass.
We aren’t saying that The Players Championship won’t be considered a major someday – it would be silly to rule it out completely.
However, there is no denying the history books, and it would certainly be a controversial call to make it the official 5th major some 50 years after its inception.
Why wasn’t it made a major all those years ago? And what would happen to the winners of the last 50 years? Would their names be forgotten?
Only time will tell, but for now, it is very safe to assume the Players Championship won’t be getting reclassified any time soon.
What Is The Prize Purse Of The Players Championship?
The Players Championship prize purse is one of the biggest reasons why so many people believe it is already a major. In 2022, the prize purse was a whopping $20 million, with the winner taking home a cool $3.6 million.
When you consider that the Master’s prize purse comes in considerably less at $15 million, it begs the question:
How can a tournament have a bigger prize purse than all four majors and still not be considered one of them?
Basically, it all comes down to viewership. Because of the frenzy that surrounds the Players Champion, the television rights are worth more money.
This means that the organizers will essentially make more money and are happy to pass a chunk of their earnings onto the stars of the show. It really is as simple as that.
TPC Sawgrass Course Overview
One of the most notable things about The Players Championship is the course it’s played on. TPC Sawgrass was designed by Pete Dye, and is known for its unique and challenging layout.
The course features several iconic holes, including the famous island green on the par-3 17th hole. The course also features a number of water hazards, bunkers, and other obstacles that can make it difficult for even the best golfers in the world.
Why The Players Championship is a Must-Watch
There are many reasons why The Players Championship is a must-watch for any golf fan. For one, the course itself is a sight to behold, with its unique challenges and iconic holes.
Additionally, the tournament always attracts a strong field of players, including many of the top golfers in the world. With so much on the line, including a hefty prize purse and valuable FedEx Cup points, there’s always plenty of drama and excitement at The Players Championship.
Is the PGA Championship considered a major?
Yes, the PGA Championship is considered one of golf’s four major championships, along with the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open, and The Open Championship.
The PGA Championship is typically held in August each year and is organized by the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA of America).
The tournament is open to professional golfers and has been held annually since 1916. The winner of the PGA Championship receives the Wanamaker Trophy, which is one of the most prestigious prizes in golf.
What makes a major golf tournament a major?
The designation of a major championship in golf is based on several factors, including the tournament’s history, prestige, and level of competition. The four major championships in golf are the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship. Here are some of the factors that make a golf tournament a major:
A major championship in golf must have a long and storied history, with a tradition of excellence and competition that has endured over many years.
A major championship must attract the best golfers in the world, with a field that includes the top players in the world rankings and the most successful golfers of the past five years players only.
A major championship must be held at a world-class golf course, with a layout that challenges even the most skilled golfers and provides a memorable and exciting experience for fans.
Major championships typically offer the largest purses in golf, with millions of dollars in prize money up for grabs.
Major championships receive extensive media coverage, with millions of viewers tuning in to watch the tournament live or on television.
Finally, a major championship in golf must have a certain level of prestige and importance within the golfing world, with a reputation that sets it apart from other tournaments and makes it a must-see event for fans and golfers alike.
By meeting these criteria, a golf tournament can earn the designation of a major championship, and become one of the most prestigious and exciting events in the sport of golf.
So there you have it. You now know exactly why the Players Championship is not a major golfing tournament.
Even though it may not have the credentials as the tour championship other big four, its unique course and history make it a very exciting tournament to tune in for. We hope this article has served you the facts you were searching for.
As a golf fan, I know that The Players Championship is a relatively new tournament, having only been around since 1974. That’s over 40 years after the Masters, which is one of the sport’s oldest and most prestigious events.
While The Players doesn’t have the same historic charm as the other three majors, it more than makes up for it with its unique challenges.
TPC Sawgrass, the course where the tournament is held, was constructed by Pete Dye in a Florida swamp and is known for its difficulty. Without a doubt, The Players is one of the most exciting events on the golf calendar, and I can’t wait to see who comes out on top this year.
Stadium Course and next…Amen corner!
There’s something special about The Players Championship. This annual event is held at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, a course that is known for its difficulty and unique challenges. In this post, I’ll give you my take on The Players Championship, including what makes it stand out from other tournaments and why it’s a must-watch for any golf fan.