Whenever The Players Championship -- sorry, THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP -- comes around, there's always the talk of "fifth major," which the PGA Tour doesn't promote but doesn't really do much to downplay, either. (The mandatory CAPS in the name are one clue.)
Any talk of a "fifth major" is pretty silly; we've got four, that's all we need, right? Golf scribe extraordinaire John Feinstein takes on the perception of The Players, along with its greatest misstep, in his current Golf Channel column. Here's a sample:
For a good long while the Tour pushed the notion that The Players was the fifth major. No one bought it. If there is a fifth major in golf it is either the Ryder Cup or Q-School. It is not The Players.
The reason why the PGA Tour pushes The Players so much is because, as Feinstein notes, the tour has no control over any of golf's majors. The Players needs the players more than the players need The Players, if you get what we're saying.
Feinstein also notes that The Players' move to May from late March was a key misstep, making the tournament less hospitable to players and galleries alike. He notes that the tour's collective heads surely exploded a few years back when Greg Norman pulled out of the tournament -- sorry, championship -- with a damning-with-faint-praise line from his agent: "Greg truly regrets not being able to play. He has always looked forward to The Players as a great warm-up for the Masters."
In the tour's defense, the event no longer competes with March Madness, and is now part of an unbroken line of lower-case "m" major tournaments stretching from the Masters in April to the PGA Championship in August. The Players is nobody's warm-up, not anymore. But is it a fifth major? Does it deserve to be? Consider this your space to vent.
The Infamous Move To May [Golf Channel]