The Big Tournaments, or simply Majors, is the name given to the four most important tournaments of the men’s golf circuit. Originally, the major tournaments were the British Open, the British Amateur, the United States Open, and the US Amateur. Bobby Jones won the Grand Slam in 1930 by winning all four tournaments the same year.
With the appearance of the Augusta Masters in 1934 and the rise of professional golf in the 40s and 50s, the four current tournaments began to be called majors: the Augusta Masters, the United States Open, the British Open golf, and the PGA Championship. It is not easy to determine at what specific moment the term was coined with the current four tournaments, although some sources attribute it to Arnold Palmer, who in 1960 – after winning the first two tournaments of the season (the Augusta Masters and the US Open) – commented that if he won the British Open and the PGA Championship, he would have completed a “grand slam” of his own. did Bobby Jones in 1930.
The oldest major, the British Open, is the only one that takes place outside the United States. The Masters is the only one of the four tournaments that is played each year in the same field, the Augusta National Golf Club. Each of these tournaments is organized by a different association, but its special status is recognized throughout the world. The winners of any of the majors receive 100 points in the Official Classification of Golfers, in addition to the cash prize that each tournament implies. The tournaments are held annually in the following order:
- April – Masters of Augusta (weekend of the second Sunday of April). It is played at the Augusta National Golf Club.
- May – PGA Championship (weekend of the third Sunday of May, until 2018 was played on the fourth weekend after the British Open) – organized by the PGA and played on a golf course in the United States.
- June – United States Open (weekend of the third Sunday of June) – organized by the USGA and played on a golf course in the United States.
- July – British Open of golf (weekend of the third Friday of July) – organized by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and always played on a link of the United Kingdom.
Apart from other biennial events, such as the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup (selection competitions), the majors are the tournaments that bring together the most important golf players of the moment. Elite players from around the world participate in them, and their reputation depends to a large extent on the outcome they have had in these tournaments throughout their careers. And although the prizes of these tournaments are not the most succulent of the circuit, winning them boosts the player’s career more than the rest of the tournaments.
There is also a tournament called The Players’, which initially took place in the month of March, and from 2007 to 2018 was played in the second week of May, but from 2019 has returned to the month of March, and that is called by some as the “fifth major”. Although officially it is not yet one of them, the tournament attracts as much expectation and as many elite players as any of the majors. With the movement of dates produced from 2007, it is thought that it will officially be considered a major, even if it is not considered part of the Grand Slam. Outside the United States, however, the idea does not like, because if this new tournament were included, the proportion of majors that would be played in the United States would be four against one.