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Is The Players worthy of a major debate?

The First Call readers weigh in on whether The Players Championship is on the level as the grand slam — or just a notch below

The Players Championship
The Players Championship balls with logos.

> Question of the Week (March 7-13): In your opinion, is the Players Championship on par with a major championship in terms of field and prestige?  
Should The Players have major status? Well, let's see. You have to qualify to get into this tournament. You play on an iconic course each year. The strength of the field is stronger than any major field and far superior than the Masters, where only the top 25 have a reasonable chance to win. Included in the Masters field are a handful of aging past champions taking spots and having no reasonable chance of winning. 

This pretty much goes the same for the PGA of America tournament. Based on all of these facts, I believe the Players should be anointed a major status. 

Robert Fish 
Sun Lakes,  Ariz.

Yes, The Players Championship is on par with a major championship in terms of field and prestige.

Thomas Hughes
Naperville, Ill.


And why exactly do we need a fifth major? To make it 25% easier for some random golfer to win a major and/or feather his best for the HoF? Not good enough. To further glorify the PGA Tour at its home course? Not good enough.

Full disclosure: I play left-handed.

Tim Miller
Durango, Colo.

Should it be considered a major?
— The Masters is in a class by itself and meant to played in April.
— The U.S. Open and British Open are national championships and can’t be touched.
— The PGA is there for professionals only. A very special tournament if you can win it. 

The Players is close to the PGA in prestige, but, in my opinion, still a step behind those four prestigious tournaments. The Players being moved back to March was the right move. A great tournament to win and a wonderful segue into the spring and summer golf seasons.

Rich Kaplun
Webster, N.Y.

Enough with comparing The Players to the other four majors. A golden delicious apple versus four great varieties of oranges. There will only be four majors, though the Western Open historically gets slighted as it was clearly a major before WWII.

The Players, on the other hand, is in a league of its own, and intended that way. It’s unfair to say it’s better or worse than major championships. It’s just different, starting with the best golf course on any Tour for being able to watch golf in person, and it was intended that way.

And remember, this is the championship for the members of the PGA Tour and the association itself. It’s their championship, spawned by the brilliance of Commissioner Deane Beman, significantly grown and improved under Commissioner Tim Finchem, and growing and improving yet again under Commissioner Jay Monahan. It’s a fantastic event.

So golf fans (and golf media), set the needless comparisons aside, tune in to the exceptional live coverage on ESPN+, Golf Channel, and NBC, and appreciate The Players for what it is: a stand-alone event that is most enjoyable to attend and watch in every way.

Ric Clarson
Dallas, TX

Absolutely, except for the history.

Larry Guli
Charlotte, N.C.

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I believe The Players is the fifth most important tournament in golf, but I also believe there are only four majors. It's the fact that it is played on the same course each year that many people have played, the fact we know every hole on the course and the fact that it probably has the best field. That all adds to its importance, but a major is a major and some things have to be sacred. Four is the number, but The Players is much-watch tv. 

Jimmy O’Malley
Needham, Mass.

The players say they always want to play against the best. That’s what you get at The Players. The best field in golf on a great, exciting golf course. A major all the way. 

Barry Duckworth 
Knoxville, Tenn.

The Players has checked all the boxes of a major, including how long it has survived relative to the other four. Each of those became majors far sooner than the Players. The new schedule of five big events played at a once-per-month pace will go a long way toward the Players finally being accepted as No. 5. Including the Players isn't any different than excluding the Western Open, the North-South or the Met Open. Who decides?

Michael Schurman
Ontario, Canada

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