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March 10, 2024

LIV-PGA Tour woes dim Players major chances

By Staff and Wire Reports
Players Championship Triphy

Weakest field in years, some critics say

The continuing drama between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf has dimmed the chances of The Players Championship becoming the fifth major, a new poll of golf influencers shows.

The absence of LIV golfers from the field of the 50th edition of the event, which begins on March 14 at TPC Sawgrass, has a majority of respondents to a Power Poll giving a thumbs down to The Players as golf’s fifth major any time soon.

The occasion might have been a natural place for everyone to finally agree that the Players now had the history, tradition of excellence and stature to be anointed the “fifth major’ on par with the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and Open Championship.

The majority of the voters in this month’s golf Power Poll agree that the exclusion of a good chunk of the best players in the world is disqualifying of the event’s major chances.

“The Players mighta been inching towards major status but with LIV players missing, it’s over,” said Sports Illustrated’s Gary Van Sickle. “Major derailment.”

Sean Fairholm of MyGolfSpy agrees: “You might have picked the single-worst time in the past 20 years to ask this question. This year’s Players Championship will be the worst field we’ve had at Sawgrass in recent memory. No event has been hurt more by LIV than the Players. Forget calling it a major — the PGA Tour will just be praying for a decent winner.”

Bad luck that 50th Players comes amid LIV-PGA Tour feud

The tournament has consistently delivered high drama on a memorable course for what is now the richest purse in golf. Even though the LPGA Tour and the senior PGA Tour Champions each count five major championships on their annual calendars, 58.5 percent (69 of 118) of our Power Poll respondents don’t feel like the men’s game needs a fifth major and 61 percent don’t think the Players warrants major status.

“The Players is a really good tournament. All the fifth major talk only distracts from the quality of the event,” said Nicholas Heidelberger, editor of GolfLink.

What former commissioner Deane Beman started in 1974 at Atlanta Country Club in Marietta, Georgia, and shuffled to Texas (Colonial CC) and Florida (Inverrary and Sawgrass CC) has become a spring fixture at its permanent home since 1982 at Pete Dye’s Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Only 11 of the previous 49 tournaments  have NOT been won by players with major championship wins on their résumés. The other 38 have been won by 30 players with at least one major victory, two with career slams and three more players one shy of career slams.

This Power Poll survey was sent to 358 members and 118 responded. Members include golf writers and top golf industry executives. Among respondents were the two editors of Alabama Golf News.

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Featured image of the The Players Championship trophy courtesy of the PGA Tour

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