Perhaps we titled this a little harshly. There really is no such thing as a “worst” when it comes to the major championships in golf, so that shouldn’t be part of the conversation. But there are varying degrees of prestige that are attached to the four tournaments that are designated as “majors.”
Before we go any further, we should mention that Brooks Koepka enters the final round of the PGA Championship one stroke in front of Viktor Hovland and Corey Connors.
Here are the golf betting odds at BetOnline as Sunday’s round is about to get underway:
|Brooks Koepka|| |
|Viktor Hovland|| |
|Corey Conners|| |
|Scottie Scheffler|| |
|Bryson DeChambeau|| |
|Rory McIlroy|| |
|Justin Rose|| |
|Tommy Fleetwood|| |
|Michael Block|| |
The Masters has been mythologized up and down over the years, and the association with the well-loved Bobby Jones is a part of that. So is the fact that this is not a nomadic tournament; it is, in fact, the only one that is held at the same location every year (Augusta National).
The British Open is known as “The Open” overseas, the oldest of the professional majors. It crowns the “champion golfer of the year,” which gives it a tremendous perception of prestige, even though the pros from the U.S. didn’t start going there en masse until Arnold Palmer did.
As described by Cheech Marin’s character in “Tin Cup,” the U.S. Open is the most democratic golf tournament in the world, as anyone who is a scratch golfer can attempt to qualify. At the same time, if you’re not an automatic qualifier, it can be extremely difficult to get into.
All of these events have a very distinct identity and are popular on golf betting sites. The PGA Championship has struggled to establish an image that distinguishes itself from the others.
Critics of the PGA Championship argue that the tournament often takes place on courses that are not as historically significant or challenging as those used in the other majors. While the Masters is known for its iconic Augusta National course, the U.S. Open for its demanding setups, and The Open Championship for its links-style courses, the PGA Championship is sometimes held in less renowned venues. The perception that the tournament lacks consistently remarkable courses could contribute to the belief that it is less prestigious. This may or may not be a valid claim.
Some argue that the PGA Championship receives less media coverage and generates lower viewership than the other majors. That could be true; also, the tournament, up until recently, had been held in August, when the weather is generally broiling over the course of the four days. Now it has, of course, been moved to June.
It’s suggested that the PGA of America, which runs the tournament, should return to the match-play format that categorized its early years. That adds an element of drama and a one-on-one showdown. And it would make it different from the other majors. But television networks aren’t necessarily enthralled with a format that ends with two players only (unless one of those players is Tiger Woods, that is).
The other side of the argument is that the PGA might have, on an overall basis, the strongest field of the majors. There are a few amateurs who can participate in the other majors. And they are also structured to accommodate international players who normally might not be in a major and would not qualify for the PGA Championship. This is a place where amateurs are not part of the mix.
Another thing that can be looked upon as a weakness but also as a strength is that every year, 20 club professionals from around the country are allowed to qualify through a special tournament and earn a berth in the PGA field. This used to be 40, but PGA Tour members objected that it took up some of the spots that should go to full-time touring pros, so the number was reduced.
But they still add some color to the festivities. This year we have something special going on. You’ll see at the tail end of those odds we posted is the name of Michael Block, a teaching pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, who qualified through the PGA National Professional Championship. Block has been in 25 PGA tournaments and cut only four of them, and he has never made the cut in a major. But as we commence things on Sunday, he is tied for eighth. That is the first time in 33 years that a club pro placed in the top ten after 54 holes of the PGA Championship. And no club pro has EVER had a top-ten finish since the current qualification process was instituted.
Block can earn an automatic invitation to next year’s championship. And if he wins – and he is 250-1 to do so – he’ll be invited back every year.
“I can compete against these guys. I can hang,” he says.
Yes, he can. And maybe somebody like him is the best argument that the PGA Championship could have all the other majors beat.
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