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Golf Australia Express : OTG Express 158 - PGA Preview
POOR old PGA Championship. It really is the redheaded stepchild of the majors. Every player wants to win one but to a man they’d all choose the Masters or either Open if they could. Why? Well, it’s an interesting line of thinking to explore. The US PGA used be labelled “Glory’s Last Shot”, which was intended more as a reference to the championship’s position on the golf calendar rather than its standing on the game’s totem pole. Since 2013, the PGA of America has instead opted for “The Season’s Final Major” or “This Is Major” as the monikers for its most significant tournament, almost as if the world needed reminding. The PGA is the easiest of golf’s four major ‘children’ to pick on for a multitude of reasons. For starters, the field is littered with 20 club pros (that number used to be higher) who are the best players among their colleagues but hardly a match for seasoned Tour pros. Then there’s the similarity between the PGA and the US Open. Indeed, many years it’s difficult to tell the two apart, so much so that both championships have regularly visited the same venues. There was also the switch in the 1950s from matchplay to strokeplay, which removed the PGA’s most distinctive point of difference. And finally – or perhaps lastly is more apt – it is contested last among the four. The PGA of America might view that as a positive, but most golf fans don’t, especially those who feel the game is too America-centric already (and it is). Yet we come here not to bury the PGA but rather to praise its position. I’ve long enjoyed the championship for a variety of reasons. First, the field is better. The PGA of America’s habit of dipping down to the 100th-ranked player in the field adds depth where the other three majors don’t. Second, the diversity of courses is better these days, especially since the PGA discovered venues like this week’s Whistling Straits and since the USGA threw Chambers Bay, Erin Hills, Los Angeles Country Club and others into its mix. And Australians have won the PGA four times, matching the number of our triumphs at the Players Championships, which would appear the PGA’s most likely successor as a major should a switch be on. The PGA Championship turns 97 this year and rather than throw away or downgrade a century of history, as some writers and commentators suggest each August, I would instead suggest a date change. Most parts of America are insufferably hot at this time of year. An autumn date would remove the PGA from the shadows of the two Opens and would open the way to more courses in more parts of the US. Another solution trumps them all, of course. The best move for the future for the PGA Championship is to act on the suggestion floated last year and let it roam the globe under the custody of the various PGAs scattered around the world. Then the championship would truly have an identity all of its own. OTG the VIEW SEND THE PGA PACKING... WHY A GLOBAL VISION SHOULD BE THE NEXT STEP FOR THE GAME’S FOURTH MAJOR. by Steve Keipert Golf Australia deputy editor Awarded #1 Overall Winner in the ‘2015 MyGolfSpy Most Wanted Driver Awards’ # 1 MOST WANTED DRIVER 2015 LEARN MORE
OTG Express 157
OTG Express 159 - PGA Wrap