IS TOO MUCH IMPORTANCE PLACED ON MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS?

Paul Azinger recently remarked that, in his opinion, too much importance was being placed on major championships at the expense of other events. He said that it was getting to the point that winning other events was seen as no big deal by many in the general public and in the golf media.

I think there is some merit to what Azinger said.  Look at the coverage majors get as compared to other tour events, and it’s not even close.  True, they are the premier events in our sport, but like Azinger said, it’s almost to the point where not only is it not a big deal to win a regular tour event, it’s akin to winning an exhibition.

This is unfortunate.  Anyone who wins any tournament on any level needs to be celebrated.

Since he came into the public consciousness, what has been the focus of the media regarding Tiger Woods?  His pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major championships.  How much has been made of Tiger catching Sam Snead’s all-time victory total of 82?  Hardly any, except that the golf media in more recent times has started to mention it.

Is winning a major really that much greater than winning another event?  A person in a sport that I forget (but it’s one of the Olympic sports) said that in their sport, the national and world championships are considered the benchmark for greatness, so golf’s majors should be the same.  And in today’s world, they are, but when you have Rich Beem, Shawn Micheel, and Y.E. Yang as major winners, are they really more accomplished than Colin Montgomerie, Luke Donald, and Sergio Garcia?  Hardly.  And in sports such as figure skating and swimming, it’s much easier for the top performers to win more regularly.  Golf is too varied for the top performers to win more than one out of every 8-to-10 events at best – Tiger in his prime being a rare exception.

So, while the majors are considered the benchmark for greatness in our sport, and I agree, I also acknowledge the other events get short shrift in many circles.  Should Tiger go on to break Snead’s record – and I think he will – in my mind, this will cement Tiger as the best tournament player of all time.  And I say that because I believe overall victories are where greatness lies.

By Mark Harman

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