The unofficial "Fifth Major" designation has rested with The Players Championship for so long that it's verging on officialdom. Every year, the question arises: should The Players be a major? (We haven't had a new one in half a century, you know.) And every year, the decision gets deferred to another year.
Guess what: at long last, somebody's called The Players' bluff. A new European Tour release touting the upcoming BMW Championship at Wentworth straight-up terms the tournament the "Fifth Major." Leading the PR charge? Lee Westwood, who's got a notably contentious history with The Players.
"The BMW PGA Championship is the biggest title that I play for outside of the Majors," Westwood said in the release. "It's bigger than the World Golf Championships because of what the tournament represents for us as The European Tour."
And I'm sure that has absolutely nothing to do with statements like the one Westwood made last year when discussing the tournament: "I think The Players probably used to be regarded as the fifth major, and it felt that way back in the late '90s. But since the invention of the World Golf Championships, I think it's actually stepped back from that ... So what is it, eighth on the list now?"
Oof. Well, say this for the BMW: it'll have the No. 1, 2 and 3 players in the world in its field in Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald. Still, the ongoing debate over whether Westwood's designation is legitimate, seeing as how he beats up on much weaker fields, will certainly color the perception of his words.
The BMW Championship runs from May 26-29. And with all this "fifth major" talk, it damn well better be exceptional.