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Thursday
Sep142017

Evian's Move To 54-Holes Locks In Permanent Fifth Major Status

Keeping sponsors happy is no easy proposition given the premium they are paying, but when it comes to majors we rarely have to deal with the bill payers. In elevating the Evian to major status, even when the tour already had four, the Golf Gods have worked dilligently to make that decision look bad.

After first round play of the 2017 Evian was called at 10 am due to rain and the slate wiped clean, the understandable griping began.

Beth Ann Baldry for Golfweek:

This was the best decision, Whan said, to “have the cleanest, fairest competitive round that’s still going to finish on a Sunday with somebody jumping from an airplane with a flag behind them.”

That last statement, which refers to the elaborate 18th green celebration that includes a parachutist, shows the importance to the sponsor of having a Sunday finish. No tournament on the LPGA schedule has more glitz and glamour than Evian, where there are galas and cocktail parties and fireworks that rival Disney World throughout the week. Evian rolls out the pink carpet here, and it’s lovely to see.

But, as one player put it, “it’s never been about golf here.”

Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel says this is a credibility killer for Evian as a major, if it had much to begin with.

If you want the Evian to be viewed like a major – and, to be fair, its worthiness was debated long before this week – then you have to treat it like one. Every attempt should be made to play 72 holes.

And Steve Eubanks at Global Golf Post talked or texted with many and no one was pleased with the Commissioner.

He’s was right about that last part. Whan has seldom blundered in his tenure as commissioner. If anything, he’s worked far more miracles than he’s made mistakes. But this was a whiff. Yes, the golf course was wet (although by 4 p.m. in France, the sun was shining and there was very little wind).

While this is a credibility killing moment for the Evian and LPGA Tour's bid to force unwanted major status on us since 2013, but the episode also reminds us that for all of our quibbles with the various majors, they have earned credibility by insisting on playing 72 holes and never shaping the conclusion around a parachutist.

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Reader Comments (23)

I really love watching this tournament, and i have no issue with 5 majors or 3 or whatever. This ''THERE MUST BE ONLY FOUR MAJORS'' is as big a pile of poop as the golf hole size, dictated by a piece of drainage (poop) pipe.

But a major should be 4 rounds unless absolutely impossible, and this sure seems like a major- blunder; that is.

Whan wanting what would not wait, woefully went wrong.

Wrong in calling it 54 without giving it a go. He needs to ''unfriend'' the major tag or change his call in a way that restores some respect to the tourney next year. A front nine of birdies is easily undone by an ''other'' on the back. This call was an ''other''///////////

dig
09.14.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Why cant this mirror the Players on the Men's side, Great money, fun course and a good field without being a "major"

I also have to wonder if the pace of play of the ladies would make it hard to play 36 on sunday
09.14.2017 | Unregistered Commentermark
Bingo on the pace of play.

Evian is a terrible tournament. Chief Thunderlips must have lived in Switzerland for a while because it rains all the time. Their commissioner does a fine job for doing the best for the product he has, but this tournament is not a major.
09.14.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMJR
@ MJR- played in 6 Swiss Opens-never had a wet day. Did have snow once though-in July!! Lovely place-even though it wasn't a great course it was one of my 3 favourite events.
09.15.2017 | Unregistered Commenterchico
Gorgeous location, nothing else to add in the way of a compliment. Although I do wonder about sanity of promo writers: "The one everyone wants." Please correct me if I heard that wrong.
09.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
I've never understood how an event could simply be deemed a major. Don't events simply morph into and out of major status? The Players will, eventually, be considered a Major, maybe in 20 years or so, simply due to the importance the Pros actually give it. The Western Open was a Major 60-70 yeasr ago, due to the pros all playing it, but somewhere it lost its status.

Simply saying The Evian is a Major because the Commissioner deems it so has a very hollow ring.
09.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBDF
Two majors in women's golf: US Women's Open and KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
Wham has done wonders for the LPGA. He doesn't get enough credit and unfortunately a few blunders this year on LPGA get highlighted.

Also, never liked idea of this being a major and how can a major be named in title with the sponsors name? Doesn't fly for me. Nor did I like the partnership with PGA being named PGA championship with a sponsor name.
09.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul
Hard to add a fifth major and respect major records of old. I can't see the PGA Tour adding a fifth major. How would they address it if someone broke Jack's record with the opportunity to play in 5 every year when he only had 4? The women adding a 5th has diminished their majors importance in my mind.

We need to hold on to some of the history of the game. I'm not saying that I wouldn't want to see a deserving player break Jack's record but it would be hard to respect the accomplishment if there were somehow 5 every year.
09.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJupiter
@ Jupiter and others. Unlike Men's golf, women's golf has had alot of instability with regards to the number and composition of their major championships. The British is a (relatively) new one, the LPGA Championship became the KPMG Ladies PGA, the Kraft Nabisco/ANA/Dinah Shore has changed names, there used to be the DuMarior or whatever. My view is they are doing the best they can with severely limited budget as compared to the men. The fact that both the PGA of American and the R&A have only belated stepped into the women's game - and have seen the need to involve sponsorship - is something of a travesty.

The only "record" issue around 4 majors is are the records around how many the ladies have won in their careers. And since there have been many years with less than 4, I don't see how massively awful it is that we have 5 for now. Does the Evian fit the bill as far as the course and the entry requirements ? I don't know, but they seem to be trying pretty hard. The weather is unfortunately not within their control.
09.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
The "majors" is just a term coined by certain media years ago to add significance to whomever they wanted to promote. It is worth noting that somewhere after Jack won 2 U.S. Ams and Tiger winning 3 it lost its "major" status. Whan has done a great job and weather issues always create problems but it seems poor judgement to admit on a Thursday that the women play so slowly they have no chance of getting in 72 holes by Sunday. If they don't take their tourney seriously why should the fans?
09.15.2017 | Unregistered Commentermunihack
"Simply saying The Evian is a Major because the Commissioner deems it so has a very hollow ring."

BDF, that's exactly what happens at the Players. And its just as hollow.

Jupiter +1
09.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
LPGA doesn't need majors.
09.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterFC
And neither does Champions.
09.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterFC
The Players is a major in the eyes of the players, and that is why it is.

dig
09.15.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Sorry digs, can't agree. Even Tiger after winning it said "No it isn't " when asked by the reporter. It's a big one to win, no doubt. Big cheque and excemption and that's the attraction.
09.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
Kentucky Bluegrass
The Women's British Open was established by the Ladies' Golf Union in 1976 and was intended to serve as the women's equivalent of The Open Championship. Isn't 40 years enough to qualify?
In descending order of current prominence, the five women's majors are:

US Women's Open

KPMG Women's PGA Championship (previously LPGA Championship)

ANA Inspiration (formerly Colgate/Dinah Shore and Kraft/Nabisco) - ladies' equivalent of The Masters: first major of the season, played at the same venue since its inception and with its own traditions. Even before becoming a major it was a popular tour stop and in its early years a lucrative one relative to the rest of the tour schedule thanks in large part to the backing of pioneering daytime talk show hostess Dinah Shore.

RICOH Women's British Open (major status switched to this event after Canadian law banned tobacco sponsorship of sporting events such as what was the duMaurier Championship and sufficient money couldn't be found to keep what is now the Canadian Pacific Women's Open a major) - now under the R&A's stewardship in partnership with IMG after absorbing the Ladies Golf Union at the start of this year.

Evian Championship (popular tour stop for the players even before becoming a major; enjoyed better weather when played in July in tandem with the Women's British Open)
09.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterIceCat
How do you deem a tournament to be a major? It should be organic & historic... not artificial & contrived.
09.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn C
At least there is some women's coverage finally on here

Of course, it's negative coverage, but there no such thing as bad publicity
09.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterP Thomas
John C- exactly
09.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
EW-

Tiger won The Players years ago- If he had won now he would have had a different opinion, I would think. Time and history have ALL the players and press discussing IF it ''is a major?'' and IMO it has served the Pro Golfing Industry well; as well as the other major played at the same course every year.

Some criticize the course, but so what? It is a fantastic event, and yes the money is the largest prize in gof, bt you have to beat EVERYONE- it is the most well attended event in golf, by the BEST PLAYERS IN GOLF. The Masters , on the other hand has the smallest field of ''possible winners'' of all Majors. Everyone knows its history and the back 9. But so does everyone recognize the Players history, maybe not all of it, but who knows all the Masters as well? Maybe not the year of the victories, but the same goes for the Masters with the exception of a few special wins. 1986- everyone knows, for example.

EW- it is certainly debatable if it is or isn't, but doggone - I'm right and you are wrong!!! :)

dig
09.16.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Digs it's certainly debatable :-)

Many in the States would welcome the Players as a major. But its a self serving thing for the tour, imo. Worldwide, it's just another tour event, albeit a big one. Ranking points have become huge to ensure players get and stay in the top 50. WGC events no cuts etc. The Pkayers is a cog in that machine now. But the majors are the real glory in golf, not how much money you win, certainly not how many Players titles you might have.
09.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold

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