- Alistair Tait
There are just 258 days to go until The Masters. Anyone else find it madness that we have to wait so long for the next men’s major championship?
The summer is barely a month old yet the major season is over and done for the world’s top men. Crazy.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers seemed quite happy when the PGA moved from its traditional August spot to May. Quite right, too, since it means The Open Championship arguably gets more attention by being the last men’s major of the year. However, I can’t be the only golf fan who feels a July ending for the men’s major championships is far too early.
I preferred it when the PGA Championship was held in August and the men’s major season was spread out more over the summer. Mind you, the PGA Tour is no doubt happy since it arguably means its FedEx Cup series gets more attention with the earlier PGA Championship date. And goodness knows we have to make sure the PGA Tour is happy, don’t we?
The saving grace is that at least the women’s majors are spread out over a longer period. This week’s Evian Championship is the fourth of five women’s majors, with the Women’s Open set to complete the majors at Carnoustie 19-22nd of August. A slam season that starts in April with the ANA Inspiration and concludes in August is preferable to the current sprint the men make to play the four majors.
Yes, the schedules are crowded on both sides of the Atlantic. There’s an Olympic Games to fit in, the PGA Tour’s precious, money spinning FedEx Cup, a slew of tournaments on both the PGA and European Tours, but the majors are the tournaments that matter. They should take preference over regular tournaments. Admit it, bet you can name more champions of The Open, U.S. Open, PGA Championship and Masters in recent years than you can FedEx Cup winners, not to mention run of the mill 72-hole stroke play events that blend into one another in one big amorphous mass.
Speaking of run of the mill 72-hole stroke play events, I’m guessing more eyes will be on a tournament held in Sunningdale this week than one being played in Wales.
The Senior Open over Sunningdale Golf Club features an all-star cast that reads like a Who’s Who of golf: Bernhard Langer, Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Paul Lawrie, Tom Lehman, Paul McGinley, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and Ian Woosnam headline the field.
The corresponding Cazoo Open, formerly the Wales Open (I know which title I prefer), can’t compete against the Sunningdale side, even with players of the calibre of Matt Wallace, Oliver Fisher, Chris Wood, Oliver Wilson, Soren Kjeldsen, Nicholas Colsaerts, Sam Horsfield, Renato Paratore, Richie Ramsay, Robert Rock and other European Tour winners.
It’s not often senior golf trumps the regular tour, but this is one of those weeks. Still, that’s perhaps to be expected with a near 52-week European Tour schedule. The big stars can’t play every week, and are naturally going to play in bigger purse events than the €1.25 million on offer in Wales.
Whisper it quietly, but there’s an oversupply of golf tournaments. So much so that many golf fans have no idea what tournament is being played in any given week. Unless it’s a major championship of course, and they’re over in the blink of an eye.
It’s major madness. Still, just 258 days to go…
#JustSaying: “I’m going to be flat out honest. I can’t focus. A major I get excited and I feel stuff on the first tee; I just struggle to do that in regular events.” Brooks Koepka