Understanding the Men’s major golf championships

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The Men’s major golf championships are often referred to simply as the majors and represent the four most prominent tournaments in the PGA circuit.

  • Masters Tournament
  • PGA Championship
  • S Open
  • The Open Championship

The Masters Tournament

The Masters takes place in April and is an invitational hosted by the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia USA. This is the only major to be hosted on the same course every year and is the smallest in terms of the field with just 100 players. Even though it is an invitational the world’s top 50 golfers are ensured entry.  All winners of the Masters are awarded a green jacket and receive a lifetime invitation.

Course: Always played at Augusta the course lacks primary rough but, makes up for that with rolling fairways and greens, scattered with tricky ponds and creeks on crucial holes in the back nine.

18th Hole "Holly" at Augusta
18th Hole “Holly” at Augusta

The U.S Open

The U.S Open takes place in June and is the championship event of the United States Golf Association. The qualification process is strict with only half of the 156-person field qualifying as recent major championship winners or pros in the top ranks. The rest of the field is made up through two qualification rounds held in the US, Europe and Japan.

Course: The U.S Open is known for its challenging courses with characteristically tight fairways, difficult greens with demanding pin positions and a thick rough. These types of courses require a fair amount of accuracy from payers.

The Open Championship

The Open is played in July and often referred to as the British Open it carries the title of being one of the most prestigious and oldest golf tournaments and is the original “Open” Championship.  All past winners under the age of 60 and recent major championship winners qualify along with the top-ranked professional golfers. Leading golfers from around the globe are able to qualify by playing in events hosted around the world as well as the qualifying events in the UK a few weeks before the competition. All winners have their name engraved to the base of the Famous Claret Jug which dates back to 1872.

Course: The Open is generally played on a links-style course in either England or Scotland. A links style course is generally coastal, flat and for the most part, windswept, the fairways are cute through dune grass making the rough particularly difficult, the bunkers are deep and the greens have been set for slow play.

The PGA Championship

Played in May the PGA usually tends to be at a parkland club in the United States. The PGA is the only Championship Tournament to invite the previous year’s winners from the PGA field, other Master Champions and Previous PGA Championship winners get a lifetime entry.

Course: The parkland club selected generally tend to have courses as difficult as the courses used in the U.S Open, however, the PGA does not tend to set up the course as difficult as the USGA does.