Every year, the PGA Championship is often referred to as the least-important of the four majors. The Tito Jackson of the golf world.
But this perception not only is unfair, it's wrong. Especially when you consider year after year the PGA has the best, deepest field of all the majors. Only a couple of the top-100 ranked players in the world won't be at Oak Hill, which more than makes up for having 25 club professionals.
Plus, it's the most fairly set up of the majors. Nobody complains about it being a putting contest (the Masters), or the ridiculously tight fairways and deep rough (the U.S. Open) or shots down the middle of the fairway that end up 20 yards in the rough or weather-impacted finishes (the British Open).
You want drama? The past four PGAs have been decided by one stroke and four of the past 10 have been pushed to playoffs.
What has hurt the PGA, of course, is the number of first-time major winners - from 1988-98, 10 of the 11 PGA champions were winning their first major. But do you think Phil Mickelson and Kenny Perry would mind joining that group? Ask Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson if they would like to have won the PGA.
This year's PGA takes on greater significance because it's the last chance for Tiger Woods and Ernie Els to win that major to amp up the success of their seasons. You think they're treating the PGA as an afterthought?
The former PGA Tour wunderkind - Ty Tryon - is in serious danger of losing his card, and having to go back to Q-School.
Many would view this as the possible end to the great debate about whether or not young Ty was ready to hit the big circuit. Right now, it appears that the naysayers have won, but I would be careful about declaring victory too early. Many a player has made it to the top rung, only to fall back, and climb the mountain again.
Can Team Tryon adopt the mentality of European Tour veteran Philip Golding, who went to Q-School 16 times before winning an event this year?
As Mr. Hogan expressed, The secret is in the dirt, and there is plenty of sod available to those who want to use it, and time is definitely in his favor.
The LPGA's Player of the Year race is a great debate at this stage in the game. But I think the better debate is how much longer will Annika Sorenstam be a full-time competitor on the LPGA Tour.
Shes hinted that she wants to have children and pursue other outside interests, like cooking. My guess is - and its purely a guess shell hang up the sticks at the end of the 04 season.
Think about it - she has 46 LPGA Tour wins six majors a career grand slam, a highly respectable PGA Tour debut, and at the end of 03 shell be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Whats left to do?
Sure, she could go for Kathy Whitworths victory record of 88 LPGA Tour wins she could chase Patty Bergs record total of 15 professional majors but whats the point? In my opinion, shes already proven herself in every way possible and with nearly $13 million in career earnings, you can best bet the nest egg is sizeable.
Maybe we should change the Go Annika buttons to Stay Annika. You think it would work?
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