Fifth of Four Majors Watch

So I try to start the second annual fifth of four majors watch--that's when we watch for a golf scribbler to declare the TPC The Players Championship THE PLAYERS The PLAYERS a major--and then we have Scott Verplank making a mess of things by declaring the Byron Nelson a fifth major.

But we must focus on to the real fifth of golf's four majors. The Players. And oh does this year figure to be the prime year for major championshp declarations.

Golf Digest featured Jerry Tarde listed five reasons it's a major:





Sorry Jerry, but to win our watch, you have to actually leave humor and those traces of skepticism out of the equation.

No, to win our coveted prize, our judges here looking for that special scribe who in some delusional moment after a particularly good press room meal actually sits down, skims past Jodie Mudd and Craig Perks's names, and by golly, declares the Players a major. Preferably designating it the fifth major...of golf's four.  

sawgrasscomp2.jpgWhich makes Ron Whitten's feature story in the May Golf Digest a near winner. Ron starts humping away on the fifth major concept, but cleverly actually avoids making that inane sweeping declaration we so enjoy.

If ever the Players Championship is to be elevated to the status of a major golf championship in the mind of the players, the media and the public, this is the year. 

He also manages to get in a few interesting points.

For greens, Dye selected the latest turfgrass innovation, MiniVerde Ultradwarf Bermuda, as fine-bladed as any bent-grass green, so it can be mowed as short as bent. It’s never grainy, and it’s also the rare Bermuda that keeps its green color throughout the winter.

That's right, they're playing the fifth of four on Bermuda greens this year. Not something you see your run of the mill fifth major. Should be fun to see what the players say about this exciting new turfgrass development.

This is now a golf course, and a championship, that combines attributes of all four majors.

And isn't that precisely the problem? It borrows a bit too much from everyone? Oh, sorry, I interrupted. 

If the tour wants, it can grow U.S. Open- and PGA-style rough, because the May dates provide extra growing time. The Players’ finish is akin to Augusta National’s Amen Corner, only in reverse: a short, gambling par 5 followed by a treacherous little par 3 before the long, hard par 4. And it will surely play British Open firm and fast. The Players Stadium Course will play much like Royal Liverpool did for the British Open last year, forcing players to calculate roll, maneuver shots and invent strategies to avoid hazards and hit targets.

That’s the best of all worlds. Not even a major championship can say it has that. 

So close, but still, no fifth major declaration.

Readers, please help me keep a watch for our first declaration. I feel this is the year we're going to here a record number of declarations for fifth major status!