The Next-Best Thing to a Major

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Not that anybody has been losing sleep over it, but I’ve been pretty hard on The Players Championship over the years. The whole fifth-major thing just doesn’t sit well in my tummy, and though the PGA Tour is careful to avoid branding it on such a designation, perception amounts to approximately 85 percent of reality.

Blame it on the cockeyed media, which tends to build stuff up so it can generate interest, and then tear it down to invite controversy. In this business, hype + conflict = recyclable copy. A vast majority of Tour pros certainly don’t consider The Players to be as important as the U.S. Open or PGA Championship. When someone such as Bubba Watson chooses to skip this tournament to spend more time with his family, you get the sense Camp Ponte Vedra could double its promotional onslaught of the event and it wouldn’t change a...

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