The Majors

June 12, 2007 -

As the Men’s US Open approaches, we thought it might be interesting to find out which of the four Men’s Major Championships is your favorite?

The Masters. Always the signal that the golf year has begun. When the TV cameras wind their way up Magnolia Lane and then pan to Amen corner, complete with the dulcet tones of Verne Lundquist, eloquently summarizing the tournament. One can almost feel that we are walking in the footsteps of legends who have all made their way around Augusta. Jones, Sarazen, Hagen, Snead, Hogan, Arnie (yes, this will always be his tournament), Nicklaus (who will ever forget Lundquist’s great call in ’86, Yes Sirrrrrrrrr!, when Jack made his putt on #16). Perhaps more than any other, this tournament stirs the memories within us.

The US Open. The oldest of the three US majors and perhaps the hardest, mentally, to win. This year’s even at Oakmont, will stir thoughts of Johnny Miller’s incredible final round 63, which won him, his Open, 34 years ago. I don’t think that anybody will be shooting 63, at this year’s event. The governing body of the Open is the USGA and their formula for a championship is to make the golf course as difficult as possible. That formula often brings us what resembles a good Nascar pile-up as player after player, capitulates on Sunday afternoon. Close your eyes and think of the US Open and visions of burnt greens, diabolical rough and old man ‘Par’, come vividly to mind. I can’t wait.

The British Open. Or more properly, “The Open Championship”. The oldest of the four majors and the most steeped in history. St. Andrews, Royal Lytham, and this year’s venue at Carnoustie (these are three of the several courses that the R&A use in the Open rotation). For many they will remember, Jean Van De Velde’s disintegration on the final hole in 1999, making a triple bogey 7 on the last hole to become a household name; for all the wrong reasons. For me, my vivid recollection is of the 1975 Open at Carnoustie, where Tom Watson, won the first of his five, Claret Jugs. In a battle for the ages, Watson dueled with Australian Jack Newton during the fourth round after Newton had shot a magnificent 65 in the third round. Watson birdied the final hole of the fourth round to tie and went on the next day’s 18 hole playoff to record a one-shot victory.

The PGA Championship. The strongest field in golf, every year. The last of each year’s majors, is perhaps the least renowned of the four but it too, leaves us with indelible inprints. Mine, will always be of the rainbow behind David Love on 18th green at Winged Foot, in 1997. Davis’s had lost his Father, the legendary PGA professional, David Love Sr., two years before. After playing all afternoon is rainy conditions, the sky seemed to open up as Davis stroked his last putt and a magnificent rainbow, crossed the sky; “This one is for you, dad,” Love thought to himself as he sunk his final putt and peered into the sky. Still gives me chills.

4 thoughts on “The Majors

  1. Karl Spackler says:

    For me it is the Open Championship. I don’t know if it the courses, weather or the different kind of shots they have to play. Putting from 20 yards off the green, low running tee balls, the 200 yard 9 irons and the 150 yard 3 irons. But the best thing is the time difference. Waking up at 5:00 am Making a spicy Bloody Mary and watching the final round unfold. In my opinion, the best Major for viewing excitement.

  2. admin says:

    Nice blog; Mr. Spackler. The Open is perhaps the Major that requires the most different shots; and under some of the most extreme conditions.

  3. shivasirons says:

    My vote goes to the Open Championship, as well. How could the oldest and severest test of all conditions, not be considered the best Major?

  4. admin says:

    Well, Shivas, since we know your heritage, would there be any doubt as to which Major, you pick?
    But today, is Thursday morning and the carnage has begun in the US Open. Oakmont, may just be the hardest golf course in the USA, and it has been toughened up (can you say; “Freddie Kruger” scary!) for our national Open. To give you some idea how hard this week will be, imagine this; that the very best players in the world will probably prefer to have a 100 foot uphill chip, rather than a 3 foot downhill putt. There are some areas of tough, from which players may never return and if there is any significant wind, the winnning score might well be, double digits OVER par.

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