The PGA Championship enjoyed a nice run during the mid-2000s thanks to some fine setups, one outstanding week at Southern Hills in 2007, and at times, help from a bungling USGA.
While the Keystone Kops were running the Open at Shinnecock Hills, the PGA looked pretty solid if not better at running a championship. Then there was the first hiccup at Baltusrol in 2005, when giving 60 Minutes a solid lead-in meant not moving tee times up, and a Monday finish was rescued by Phil Mickelson. Since then it's been a quiet decline--interrupted by Southern Hills--and capped off by the Whistling Straits bunker disaster along with this year's plugged lie boondoggle where either (A) setup man Kerry Haigh overlooked the stockpiling of sand in faces or (B) the PGA went way too far to restore the hazard element.
This was the kind of stuff you'd expect from a muni course employee tricking up the city championship, not something you'd expect at a major championship.
Either way, such careless moves, combined with the PGA's awful television presentation, propensity to lock up dreary venues too far in advance and overall irrelevance to the world game, has many questioning the PGA's stature as a major. There is also the matter of three majors in America, as stated by Mark Reason, and a few days before him, by John Huggan.
So the fourth major needs to be mobile, one that travels indiscriminately around the world -- to Japan, to South Africa, to China, to Argentina, to Australia. Anywhere but the U.S, really.
Can you imagine the reception a proper major championship would get in any and all of those so-far neglected places?
The absolute last organization on the planet to recognize this changing world and take its championship globe trotting is the PGA of America. Yet, taking the "major" status away from the PGA is not going to happen in the near future. However, as Reason pointed out, it's easy to envision an organized effort in Asia to offer an eye-popping purse on a rotation of courses supplanting the PGA in importance to world golfers. Say, throw a $20 million purse up the week of the PGA and let those market forces do their thing.
In the meantime, the other major bodies in golf need to let the PGA know that it is not holding up its end of the bargain. Perhaps the PGA needs to lose its seat at the International Golf Federation table. Nothing against PGA CEO Joe Steranka, who represents the PGA at various shindigs, but until his organization can show that it's looking to keep its major up with the times and play a serious role in the world game, it seems unfair to the world for the PGA of America to be involved in serious decisions related to international golf.
Of course, I'm open to other suggestions as to how the PGA of America is put on probation, assuming you think a wake-up call is warranted.