Majors are majors and everything else isn’t

Watching the Masters last week, it occurred to me that nobody ever mentioned money. There was plenty of discussion about history, legacy and how good it was to have ALL of the world’s best players together. But nary a word about the size of the winner’s cheque.

That’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from the new elevated / designated big money, no cut events on the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. Those events are only about money, despite all claims to the contrary.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has held a number of press conferences lately touting the new format for 2024 that “will bring the best players in the world together more often.” But will they? The LIV players won’t be there.

With 12 of 18 LIV players making the cut at the Masters and Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka finishing T2 and Patrick Reed 4th, any argument that LIV players can’t compete anymore because they only play 54-hole events or because they lost their competitive edge when they sold out for a bag of cash just doesn’t wash.

Mr. Monahan may want to bring the best PGA Tour players together more often in his elevated / designated, big money, no cut events but I’m not sure I want to see that. There’s something forced about it, almost like a contrived made-for-TV exhibition. I want to see players struggle to make a cut on Friday afternoon. Or get a cheque that actually means something, instead of just padding an already bloated bank account.

Besides, seeing all the same players together so often, even if they are the best, could get tiresome. How much baseball would you watch if it was only the Yankees and the Red Sox all the time?

I’m not even sure the players want all these new-fangled events. Sure, they like the money but it comes at a loss of their freedom. Rory McIlroy, who has been one of the more outspoken advocates of the new PGA Tour format has already skipped two of the ‘mandated’ elevated / designated events, which presumably will mean the loss of some $3 million in PIP money too.

Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm both expressed how exhausted they were upon arriving at the RBC Heritage tournament. I wonder if Mr. Monahan considered a field of bagged athletes when he mandated they play so may back-to-back.

Of course, this is all a knee-jerk reaction to LIV Golf. That may all change as we move forward but in my opinion as a fan, nothing has been gained on either side by throwing more money at professional golf. Majors are majors for a reason, and it has nothing to do with money.

I have four dates in ink on my calendar to mark the majors, or at least I would if I still kept a physical calendar, but you know what I mean. I pencil in a few more like the Players, the RBC Canadian Open and the Ryder Cup. The rest are hit and miss. I don’t see that changing.

A Blast from the Past

Here’s a beauty. Our man Quinn, three hours behind the times on the Wet Coast, recently sent me the below ad for golf at Tam O’Shanter Country Club in Toronto. The ad is from some time in the mid-sixties.

As Hal pointed out, note the description of “green holes” and the M.C Freeway (Macdonald-Cartier) now known as the 401. Hal was a junior member there in the early sixties and recalls paying $25 a season.

The weather outside is ….

This week we’re enjoying an unseasonably warm stretch of weather and golf courses are opening all over. I seem to be on a lot of mailing lists, but the first notice of an Opening Date came from Tarandowah, quickly followed by many others. The strangest notice I received was from a course announcing they would be open this week but closed next. I guess somebody looked at the forecast. Either way it’s time to dust off the clubs and hit the range.

Enjoy the season!

Peter Mumford
Peter Mumford is the Editor of Fairways Magazine. He's played over 500 different courses in 21 countries and met some fascinating people along the way. He's also a long-suffering Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

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