The Majors are golf’s most important events, where elite golfers from around the world compete with each other. And, although there are a lot of esteemed golf tournaments, only a few fall under the “Majors” category.
So, what golf tournaments are Majors?
In modern-day golf, only four tournaments are considered Majors. These are the Masters Tournament, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open, and the Open Championship.
The Major tournaments are highly-exclusive events, dedicated to established golfers only. As a result, they’re the most important of the golfing season, which spans from June to August. Read ahead to know more about each Major tournament in detail.
What Are the Major Golf Tournaments?
Unlike other sporting championships, the Majors are invitational. This means that no matter how famous a golfer may be, they’d only be invited to participate in the Majors if they fit certain criteria and are deemed skilled enough.
Winners of one of the Majors have a great advantage. They’re automatically invited to the other three for the following five years! This gives the Majors an exclusive prestigious quality.
Now, you’re probably curious about each one of those tournaments, where it’s held, and what makes it unique in the grand scope of things. Let’s dive in!
The Masters Tournament, also known as the U.S. Masters, marks the start of the golfing season as it’s set in the spring. It’s scheduled for the first week of April and is hosted by the Augusta National Golf Club.
The Augusta National Golf Club course contains one of the hardest and most challenging stretches of holes in golf history. The Amen corner is a trio of holes that, if successfully hit, mark a pivotal turning point for any golfer’s career.
It’s the most exclusive of the Majors, inviting only about 100 golfers who must meet specific criteria. These include Masters winners for the previous five years, the top 50 players in the official world golf rankings, the Olympic gold medalist, and the world’s golf champions.
Participating in the Masters tournament is a great honor for any golfer. Furthermore, winning grants the golfer high status, respect, and other perks.
First, a monetary prize is offered to the winners, which can equal millions. This is in addition to the sponsorships, dinners, and gifts the winners may receive.
Moreover, the winners get the reputable green jacket. Plus, their names are recorded for history by being engraved on the silver Master trophy.
The PGA Championship is organized by the Professional Golfer’s Association of America. It’s the second of the season, recently being moved forward from August to May.
It’s held at different renowned venues all around the eastern United States. And here, more golfers are invited than to the Masters tournament.
The PGA Championship is the only one of the Majors that doesn’t explicitly invite the top 50 players in the official world golf rankings. This further adds to its exclusivity as a high-profile tournament.
Unlike the Masters tournament, the PGA championship is restricted only to professional golfers. Amateur golfers can only qualify if they meet the criteria of winning one of the other three Majors.
Winning a PGA championship offers great privileges to golfers. The most prominent perk is that they’re exempt from the other Majors’ criteria.
Like the Masters tournament, PGA winners get a hefty monetary prize, along with one of the most prized trophies in golf history, the Wanamaker trophy.
The third championship of the Majors is the U.S. Open. The U.S. Golf Association is responsible for organizing it annually in June, and it’s played on a different course each year.
Not only are the hardest courses usually played in the U.S. Open, but the scoring is also incredibly strict with many U.S. Open winners emerging over par. The U.S. Open stages such tough courses to the point that several modifications are made to develop narrower fairways and bumpier greens.
The U.S. Open is available to 156 players. To qualify for the U.S. Open, any golfer, amateur or professional, male or female, can enter. They only need a USGA Handicap index of no more than 1.4.
Otherwise, invitations are reserved for winners of the Majors, the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and other championship winners.
The U.S. Open has the highest payout out of the Majors. A great sum of cash is given to the winner, alongside securing their career and obtaining exemptions from other golf tournaments.
The Open Championship
The last of the Majors is the Open Championship, more known as the British Open. It’s the oldest and most prestigious golf tournament in the world, being organized by the Royal and Ancient Club of St. Andrews.
The golfing season concludes with the British Open in July. It’s held on different courses in the United Kingdom, their overall number is ten.
156 golfers are invited to the open championship. To qualify, the golfer must win the Open Qualifying Series. This ensures all skilled golfers have an equal chance of participating in the British Open.
Other players can be locally qualified or exempted due to being Major champions. Otherwise, the highest-rated players in the official golf rankings are invited if the field hasn’t reached 156 players.
Winners of the British open get plenty of perks, the first being the payout prize. Then, there’s the coveted Claret Jug, along with all the other tournaments’ invitations and exemptions.
The Majors are the most prestigious of all golf tournaments, so, every novice golfer should know what golf tournaments are majors.
They compromise the three U.S.-based tournaments: the Masters tournament, the PGA Championship, and the U.S. Open, along with the British Open.
Golfers need to be invited so they can participate in the Majors, and they must follow specific criteria to qualify. However, winning one of the Majors means you automatically qualify for the others for years.