The problem is, the PGA Championship is the ugly stepsister of the major championships, a little too easy to be the U.S. Open, a little too young to be a British Open and a lack in tradition to be the Masters.
But that doesn't seem fair to the PGA Championship. Here are some reasons why the PGA needs more love.
It's the final major of the year -- When the Masters starts to near each season the entire golf world freaks out, giving up on every sport for an entire week because it's the Masters at Augusta National. The drought between majors is part of the reason this is so important, but if the first major gets that much attention, why shouldn't the last? Players that leave the PGA without a win have eight months to think about what they must do next to snag a major, and that is a lot of time to think, tinker with your golf game and possibly hurt yourself. The PGA being the last major of the year means every player gets on the grounds knowing this is it for the season, and if you can't produce all four days of this week, the offseason is going to be a very long one.
It's becoming a tougher test of golf, which all majors should be -- Throw out that ridiculous performance by Rory McIlroy a season ago at Kiawah Island (David Lynn, who finished second, was at 5-under), and every PGA except one since Oak Hill hosted this event in '03 has finished with a single-digit winner under par. That's good news for both the PGA Championship and the PGA of America, who have worked to make this championship more like the U.S. Open and less like the Humana Challenge. The scores have reflected that, and if Oak Hill plays like they want, four or five-under should be a good winning number come Sunday.
It started out as a match play major -- Now this is one of my biggest problems with the PGA Tour circuit and it bothers me each year at this time, because I feel at least one major should be a match play format.
That said, I still think it is cool that the PGA Championship was match play until 1958, and if money didn't rule all things, it would most likely still be that way.
The unlikely winner angle isn't that bad for golf -- Do you know what is cool about this game? That Tiger Woods can be going for a third major win in a row and the guy he can't seem to shake until the last moment is someone named Bob May. And then years later, Tiger can't overcome guys named Rich Beem or Y.E. Yang, and while we tend to root for the guy going for history, this event brings out the randoms, and that is a unique part to this championship (don't get me wrong, we all know about the likes of Steve Jones and Ben Curtis, but the PGA sure seems to create the unknown winner at a higher rate than any other majors).
While Shaun Micheel winning isn't going to sell out newsstands, the idea of an unknown like that beating the best in the world is great for the underdog in us all.
The Wanamaker Trophy is awesome -- Just look how big that thing is? That would really make for a solid centerpiece in your trophy room.
The drama is just as high as any other major -- The PGA Championship might not have the hype heading in of the other majors, but come Sunday it is just as high, if not higher, than any of the other three.
Just take a second to look at the last five PGA Championships if you want drama. Last year we had Rory going for history, still cool if you don't mind a potential legend adding a second blowout to his major resume. The year before that was Keegan Bradley making clutch putt after clutch putt to beat Jason Dufner in a playoff, and just three years ago was that ridiculous "bunker that wasn't a bunker" situation with Dustin Johnson.
We saw Y.E. Yang hit one of the best hybrids ever on the 72nd hole to close out Tiger Woods, and Padraig Harrington adding a second straight major by squeezing past a red-hot Sergio Garcia in '08.
It's smart that this tournament airs on TNT, because this major knows drama.
It's still a major -- Yep, this one might be obvious, but win this thing and you'll never have to worry about money again. Ask Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer which golf tournament they regret not winning the most and both would say this one, and just because there is no jacket, or entire country behind it doesn't mean it isn't just as tough to win as the other three.
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