Wed May 05 09:30am EDT
Every year when The Players Championship rolls around, everybody trots out their classic "should it be a major?" columns. You could make a drinking game out of it. Shoot, we did our own take on the idea right here last year. But this time around, let's leave the decision to the guys who actually have to play this silly little game.
Last week, Lee Westwood was asked about how he views The Players against other golf tournaments. His answer probably won't make the promotional material of The Players: "I think it depends on whether you're a PGA Tour member or not. 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. They have to go in now [on the list of important events] before The Players Championship. So what is it, eighth on the list now?"
Ouch. And Westwood wonders why he got the locker out by the dumpsters this week.
On Tuesday, Jim Furyk offered his take. He's a bit more charitable than Westwood, but not to the point of elevating The Players into major status. When asked where he ranks The Players in connection with the four majors, he replied, "Fifth. You know, the majors are the majors. This is a very difficult golf course. It is the best field in golf, and because of that, I always rank the major championships right up there and this is the next event in line for me. And then you've got the World Golf Championships and then you've got your Quail Hollows and your big events. Colonial is a big one for me. Memorial is a big one for me. The ones I really love to play."
He declined to press further in comparing The Players to, say, the PGA Championship, but noted that in his estimation, the strength of the field in The Players puts it far above any other non-major tournament.
Another golfer with a bit of experience agreed with Furyk, taking issue with the idea that the World Golf Championships are more prestigious than The Players. "I would say I think this event is much bigger," said the golfer, whose name I'm withholding to prevent a prejudicial reading of his words.* "The field is so much deeper. Generally you probably get, what, 95 or above of the top 100 players in the world each and every year. And you don't really get that in all the World Golf Championships. Usually the cutoff is around 50. This field is so much deeper, and I think it's played on a much more difficult golf course."
All right, so, your turn. Where does The Players rank in your mind? Major status? Best of the non-majors? Below the World Golf Championships? Have your say.
* -- It was Tiger Woods. Now, bomb away.