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PGA is much more than the “fourth major”

August 7th, 2012 · No Comments

The PGA Championship deserves far more respect than it gets. In years past, it was felt that their venues were somewhat suspect. If so, then those that host the U.S. Open must be as well because 15 of the last 21 courses that have hosted the PGA have also been home to the U.S. Open.

The six that have not include such highly regarded layouts as Whistling Straits, Vahalla, Sahalee (all members of Golf Digest’s Top 100) and Kiawah Island’s The Ocean Course, the site of this week’s contest. The course ranks 26th on Golf Digest List, one spot AHEAD of Olympic, the site of this year’s U.S. Open!

With Tiger Woods still in the process of regaining his dominance (although he does appear “close”) there is no clear-cut favorite. As a result, much of the focus will be on the course, which figures to be the star of this year’s PGA.

A local has assured me that the course will be “gorgeous” on TV. Add in the mystique of a Pete Dye design, the wind and weather, the paspalum greens, and the history (it was the site of the War on the Shore in 1991) and Kiawah Island has the makings of one of the best of the major championships courses.

Another big plus is the PGA’s position on the rotation. CBS calls it Glory’s Last Shot, a moniker that has never quite caught on. Still, being fourth makes it the final act in the major’s four act play and so, as such, it is in position to help decide so many honors for the season, including who is the Player of the Year. If one of the winners of this year’s majors (Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, and Ernie Els) wins it, their double major winning season would make them the odds on favorite for POY.

The PGA also offers the chance for a player to turn their year into a great one, and to salvage a lost campaign. Take the case of Tiger Woods. He’s won three PGA Tour events, but no majors. So, in his mind, this season will be a disaster if he does not win the PGA. And, should he fail, he knows full well that his major’s slump will be 58 months long by the time that he arrives at the 2013 Masters.

In 1999 and 2007 Woods won the PGA to avert a shut out in the majors. Could he do it again? That story, the race for POY, and the venue are only three of many reasons why this year’s PGA is so compelling, and why it is so much more than just the fourth major.

Tags: The Game · The Majors · Tiger vs. Jack

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