For a professional golfer, winning a major golf tournament means everything. Such victories differentiate the amateur from the greats. It also determines the best golfers in the circuit.
The most prestigious golf tournaments include The Open, the U.S Open, the PGA Championship, and the Masters. Each tournament has a history and legacy. Also, winning all four majors makes a golfer a grand slam winner. These championships are played between April and July.
The Masters is one of its own kind, with a history that goes back to 1934 when it was founded by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones. Since the beginning, the Masters have been held at one venue only, Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia. It starts in the first week of April and inaugurates the majors’ season.
The field is probably the smallest of all the major tournaments. It can cater to around 90-100 players only. Interestingly, before the tournament, there are no qualifying rounds. To play in the Masters, players receive an invitation from the Augusta National.
The honor of winning The Masters is extensively high, with the winner receiving a green jacket, which is a symbol of pristineness. It also results in honorary membership of the club and the winner also gets the trophy inspired by the Augusta National clubhouse. The record for the most wins (six) is with Jack Nicklaus. Behind him is the living legend, Tiger Woods, with five wins.
The PGA Championship is the only major in which amateur golfers do not qualify. With the first tournament played in 1916 in New York, it is over a 100 years old. Initially, it was a knockout-style tournament played in a week. Later, it became a stroke-play like other major tournaments.
The field is probably the strongest, as only the best 20 golfers can participate. Whoever wins receives the trophy named after the pioneer of the tournament. The record for the most wins is with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods has the second-most wins with four victories.
There’s no age barrier in these competitions. An exemplary milestone was achieved in 2021 when Phil Mickelson won the trophy at the age of 50 and became the oldest champion in history.
The U.S. Open one of the toughest golf competitions, which also makes golf betting interesting. It is organized by the United States Golf Association (USGA). The event is held at different courses around the country.
In 2017, the association made some changes in order to declare a winner. When players tie after 72-hole stroke play, they compete in an 18-hole playoff system.
However, in early times, in the first three years, the U.S Open used to take place on a 9-hole course. The competition was played over 36 holes in one day. It switched to the 72-hole stroke play tournament making the U.S Open more competitive.
A total of 156 players take the field, and amateurs with a USGA Handicap Index below 1.4 are eligible for the tournament. The winner of the tournament receives a silver sterling trophy along with a gold medal. Jack Nicklaus, Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, and Ben Hogan are tied with the most U.S Open wins.
The Open is the only major tournament that is held outside of the U.S. Originally known as the Open Championship, the world’s oldest golf tournament is now referred to as the British Open. The first tournament was played in 1860 at Prestwick.
The Open is played across the United Kingdom, including England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. It is played on rotation policy across ten courses, with St. Andrews having hosted more than any other course.
Similar to the U.S Open, 156 players take the course. Both amateurs and professionals can participate in the event because of qualifying rounds. At the post-tournament ceremony, the winner receives arguably the most prestigious trophy in golf, the Claret Jug, and a gold medal. The runner-up receives a Silver Salver and the leading amateur gets a silver medal.
The winner of The Open is also named the Champion Golfer. Harry Vardon holds the record for the most wins with six wins.