Nice Mix Greets Golf Fans This Year


As we look back at 2002 so far, its fun to see how the mix of superstars and the new kids on the block have fared. Two young Matts, Gogel and Kuchar, got off the mat to win. Some reliable oldies but goodies, Els, Price, and Olazabal, showed they still have prime time stuff. Then there are guys like Mickelson, Goosen, Singh, and Sergio, who on any given day look like they are ready to unseat Tiger. But then along comes the Masters to remind everyone who's still the boss.
Although no one is debating the worlds top player, the debate rages on about the prestige qoutient of The Players Championship. The question has now become, are we going to call it an almost major from now until the end of time? Or, are we gonna officially declare that anyone one who wins this daunting task against the best field of the year has bagged a major?
I'd cast my vote making it an official major because there's no set-in-stone rule for counting major championships anyway. John Ball won eight British Amateurs between 1888 and 1912 when that event was considered a major champioship.
But at what point did it lose its major status? Was it after Bobby Jones won the Grand Slam and retired? Or, can Steve Melnick claim he has two majors? But wait, does Melnyk even have one major? Do they still even count the U.S. Amateur as a major?
We heard for years that Jack Nicklaus had won 20 major championships, including his two U.S. Amateurs. But then along comes Tiger proclaiming his goal to win more majors than Nicklaus. And all of a sudden, everyone is talking about Nicklaus' 18 professional majors. Was Nicklaus being slighted? No, Tiger was!
Im surprised Charles Barkley hasnt complained that Nicklauss major count was shifted so that Woods would not be able to count his three U.S. Amateur titles.
I feel its more difficult to win Players Championships than any of the four recognized majors. It is the only field where every one of the 144 guys deserves to be there, and each has enough talent to win.
You dont agree? Where would you have seeded Craig Perks in the starting field this year? I guarantee he wouldnt have made your top 100. And yet, he hit three of the greatest pressure shots down the stretch Ive seen!
I realize the argument against it, that by adding a fifth major, we give current players a better chance to increase their totals, thereby enhancing status and ability to make the Hall of Fame.
And I know that four is a nice round number that fits well with the four seasons. But we do play fivesomes in our pro-ams, and there are six kids in the Brady Bunch and seven stranded castaways on Gilligans Island.
If change is what youre worried about, relax, they eventually added the Professor and Mary Ann to the theme song after a few years when they realized they had left someone out. That was cool.
Then again, if we started counting the Players Championship as a major, do we now go back and give Nicklaus three more, the amount of Players Championships he's won, and tack on just one more for Tiger?
I guess the debate will rage on. At least, that's my take. Whats yours?