Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fourth major's fairest of them all

  • Print

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Even the best of intentions can lead to backhanded compliments.

Especially when it comes to the PGA Championship.

Since it abandoned match play in 1958 as television played a more prominent role, the PGA Championship has suffered somewhat of an identity crisis. The Masters is without compare for many reasons, though it starts with being at Augusta National every year. The U.S. Open is billed as the toughest test in golf, sometimes to a fault. The British Open is the only major played on links courses. And where does that leave the PGA Championship?

"The fourth major," Graeme McDowell said, stating a fact instead of making a crack.

"It doesn't get the accolades it deserves," he said. "But there's not a guy on the range that wouldn't put it head-and-shoulders over any tournament in the world -- apart from the other three major championships."

Ouch.

Of course, the PGA of America doesn't help itself by taking its premier championship to an ordinary course like Valhalla, which it owns. Or when it goes to Kiawah Island, where the president of the resort (Roger Warren) just happened to be a former PGA of America president. No other major telecast is laden with so many commercials and so little golf.

Even so, the slogan says it all -- Glory's Last Shot.

It's the last chance this year to win a major, and remember, it was Tiger Woods who once said it can't be considered a great year without one. After the last putt falls on Sunday, there won't be another major for nearly eight months, when azaleas start to bloom in Augusta.

And it's worth noting the first part of what McDowell said. There isn't a single player in the 156-man field -- including the 20 club pros -- who wouldn't love to see if they have the muscle to hoist the heaviest trophy of the four majors.

The PGA Championship over the last decade has billed itself as the strongest field in golf, an argument it wins with evidence from the world ranking. Barring anyone pulling out before Thursday's opening round, it will have the top 103 players in the world. That's more than the entire field at the Masters.

But that distinction is losing some of its shine. The World Golf Championships bring at least the top 50 together three times a year, which could turn into four times a year once the HSBC Champions becomes part of the PGA Tour official schedule. The Players Championship does the same, and arguably has the strongest and deepest field because it doesn't have 20 club pros.

So where does that leave the PGA Championship in the major championship rotation?

Perhaps it should be referred to as the fairest of them all.

Ask just about any player for their impressions of the PGA Championship, whether it's held on a classic design like Southern Hills or Baltusrol, or it goes somewhere new like Kiawah Island or Whistling Straits, and the answer typically is the same.

"It's set up a little more fairly than the other ones," Steve Stricker said. "I think over the years, they've done a better job of mixing it up on a daily basis with the tees. The rough isn't over-the-top brutal. The tournament is always hard. It's probably not set up as hard as the other ones, but it's more fair."

"Most PGA venues I've played have been quite fair," Ernie Els said. "Some of them have been an upgrade from tour events, maybe a touch more difficult. It's the more friendly of the four."

But it's fair in other ways.

Think about it. Is anyone ever missing from the PGA Championship who should be here? Augusta National didn't give a spot to Els because he had fallen from the top 50. The British Open and U.S. Open offer spots to the top 50 in the world. Among those in the PGA Championship this year are Robert Rock, who took down Tiger Woods in Abu Dhabi and Bernd Wiesberger, who has won two smaller events in Europe.

"Anyone can have a good year and get in the top 100, and they get in the PGA," Thomas Bjorn said.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 8, 2012 D4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Wasylycia-Leis tops in most issues important to Winnipeggers

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A black swallowtail butterfly land on Lantana flowers Sunday morning at the Assiniboine Park English Gardens- standup photo – August 14, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Perfect Day- Paul Buteux walks  his dog Cassie Tuesday on the Sagimay Trail in Assiniboine Forest enjoying a almost perfect  fall day in Winnipeg- Standup photo – September 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How many wins do you think the Bombers will finish with this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google