There are only four majors in the sport of golf. There is the Masters played at the famous Augusta National Golf Club; the U.S. Open, the PGA’s hardest golf tournament; the British Open, the R&A’s hardest test of golf; and then the PGA Championship. All of these except the Masters are played on different courses each year, but are on a rotation of different courses. This year the British Open is at St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf.
There is not doubt that the four majors are the most highly watched and hardest tournaments of the year, but there is always one other tournament that is challenges for most popular status and that is the Players Championship. The Players Championship is often times referred to as the “Fifth Major” in golf. It is played during the second week in May and it gives the players a good warm up before the U.S. Open.
Many players and fans object to adding another major. According to Trevor Immelman, a PGA Tour player and winner of the 2008 Masters, who was interviewed by the New York Times regarding the adding of a fifth major, “I’m about upholding the traditions of the games. As an aspiring young golfer who grew up in a small town on the Western Cape, I knew there were four tournaments by which the best players were measured. I think using the term fifth major is ridiculous. There is no such thing.”
Tim Marcin of the International Business Times says, “In a sport that anchors itself on four big events, it’s been difficult for a fifth tournament to gain relevancy in the eyes of the casual fan. The Players might be destined to expand its hold on its current peg as the biggest golf weekend that isn’t one of the biggest golf weekends.”
Roger Groves of Forbes states in his article this, “There is no one entity that decides and defines The Majors. There are the Five Families: PGA of America (1916), PGA Tour (1968), The PGA (1901), The R&A (1754), and the USGA (1894). They all belong to the International Golf Federation, but neither the Federation or its members dictate that there are only supposed to be four majors.”
Social Media stats point to the potential of the Players ascending to "major status".
RECORD STREAMING AND BEST-EVER TRAFFIC FOR PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK ON GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL:
• The 2015 PLAYERS Championship was second most-streamed PGA TOUR event ever on Golf Live Extra, trailing only 2013’s coverage, with 7.39 million minutes streamed (+94% YOY). This also was the most-streamed event for Golf Live Extra since the 2014 Ryder Cup.
• Golf Channel Digital scored Best Ever PLAYERS week records in all key metrics, including:
◦ Page Views: 20.79 million (+51% YOY)
◦ Visits: 3.97 million (+52% YOY)
◦ Video Starts: 798K (+85% YOY)
◦ Unique Visitors: GolfChannel.com 1.37 million (+53% YOY); Golf Channel Mobile 315K (+20% YOY)
According to the above information, this years Players was the second most streamed PGA Tour even on Golf Live Extra.
This blog post was written by Samford University student Shaun McCormack.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/rogergroves/2015/06/15/its-time-for-the-players-championship-as-the-fifth-major/2/ [link broken as of 3/4/2019]