Four significant championships are the most recognized annual events in professional men’s golf. Shortly referred to as the Majors, have a full official recognition: The Men’s Major Championship. A-listed golfers around the world participate in these events. Winning in even a single major is enough to boost a pro golfer’s career at a significant level. Winning these majors also adds the highest possible allocation of 100 points from the Official World Golf Ranking.
Almost every golfer dreams of winning at least one major championship in his career. One single major championship is much prestigious and money-making than any PGA tour.
The four Major Championships are,
- Masters Tournament (arranged in April)
- PGA Championship (placed in May)
- The U.S. Open (placed in June)
- The Open Championship (arranged in July)
Major Championships have been the center of fascination since the beginning of the golf history. The Open Championship is the oldest of all four championships, widely popular also as British Open. Before introducing Masters in 1934, the four majors were two British tournaments; The Open Championship and The Amateur Championship, two American tournaments; The U.S. Open and The U.S. Amateur. In 1934, Masters was introduced to Men’s major championships, and then in the late 1940s and 1950s, these four tournaments were widely recognized as four majors. Eventually, the PGA championship was also included in four Majors instead of the Amateur championship.
In the year 1960, Arnold Palmer won Masters and The U.S. open and set the goal of winning The Open Championship and PGA Championship to achieve a grand slam of his own. These four championships are highly considered as most prestigious events and essential to winning for career grand slam.
Every four championships have distinctive features as they are organized by different organizations and at various courses.
The Masters is the first significant event of the year held in April. It was introduced in 1934 and also known as the U.S. Masters. It is the only Major championship held at the same course Augusta National Golf Club, a private course in the southeastern United States, in Augusta, Georgia, since the first played the year 1934. The Masters were first played by iconic sportsman Bobby Jones and banker Clifford Roberts. Horton Smith first won it.
This tournament is also very popular for its significant traditions. One of the essential practices and attractions is the green jacket awarded along with the trophy. The green coat symbolizes the victory, and the champion can keep it with him for the next year of winning. After one year, the jacket must be returned to the clubhouse and stored in a designated cloakroom with other champion’s jackets.
The winner of the Masters is awarded a gold medal, a green jacket, name engraved of the champion on the silver Master’s trophy, which weighs about 130 pounds, and a massive number of cash. Horton Smith won $1500 back then in 1934. Now the amount has increased to an extreme level.
Champions Dinner is another great attraction of this tournament, which is rendered on the Tuesday before each tournament since 1952. This event is only open for past winners, legendary golfers, and some essential board members of the clubhouse.
The participants of this event are required caddies to wear a Master’s uniform. It consists of a white jumpsuit, a green Master’s cap, and a pair of white tennis shoes.
Currently, Masters Champion is none other than legendary Tiger Woods for the fifth time.
2. PGA Championship
PGA Championship is held in May every year at different prestigious courses such as Baltusrol Golf Club, Medinah Country Club, Oakland Hills Country Club, Oak Hill Country Club, Winged Foot Golf Club, etc. by the Professional Golfer’s Association of America. A recent championship in 2020 was arranged at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
This PGA Championship started its journey in 1916. Professional Golfer’s Association of America (PGA) was established in February 1916. After eight months of establishment, the first PGA Championship was held in October 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York. The first winner of this Major is a very well-known golfer at that time, Jim Barnes was awarded a diamond-studded gold medal donated by Rodman Wanamaker and took $500 home. This championship formerly played as match play until it was changed to stroke play in 1957.
Not every pro golfer can participate in this elite event. This is the only major where organizers do not invite amateurs who didn’t win any major to the date. But every former PGA tournament winner, current senior PGA Champion, top 70 leaders of official money standings on the PGA tour, top 100 golfers of official world golf ranking are eligible to participate. There are 156 vacancies in total for golfers in this event.
As this is a money event, winners get a massive number of cash in a prize every year. Along with that, the Wanamaker Trophy is another fascination of this championship. However, champions have to return the trophy for the next championship, and they get a replica trophy precisely like the original one to keep that for a lifetime. Currently, Collin Morikawa from the United States is the winner of the recent PGA Championship, 2020. He got $198000 as the prize money.
3. The U.S. Open
The United States Open Championship is the third major tournament of the year and the only major event organized by the United States Golfer’s Association (USGA). It is staged in mid-June at various distinguished courses such as Shinnecock Hills, Oakmont, Winged Foot, Hazeltine, Pebble Beach, Congressional, and Pinehurst No 2. The upcoming U.S open tournament 2020 will be held at the Winget Footgolf club.
U.S Open is considered the most challenging major played every year. Courses for this event are set with tight fairways, challenging greens, demanding pin positions, and other difficulties that make harder scoring.
The first U.S Open championship was formerly played in October 1895 at Newport, Rhode Island. A young Englishman, Horace Rawlins, held the glory of the first-ever winner of this event. The British golfers dominated this tournament till John McDermott became the first American winner in 1911. Since then, American started capturing the victory consecutively, and only six countries won the title except for America since 1950.
The USGA has a very strict principle in qualifying participants. Recent major champions, top-ranked in world rankings, leading amateurs from current USGA events, are primarily invited to fill 156 vacancies of field. The remaining vacancies are filled with professional, amateur, female golfers who have to go through two qualification events. However, no female golfer was able to pass the qualification round till the present. USGA encourages pro golfers to participate as long as they meet the qualifier’s needs.
Since this is the most challenging tournament among other majors, the prize money is also very high compare to other events. The last U.S Open held in 2019 was Gary Woodland, who got $2,250,000 as prize money. Golfers who capture the victory get the privileges to play in the other three majors and The Players Championship for the next five years. Winning U.S Open can be a life-changing event for any golfer even if he’s not among one of the elite players of the sport.
4. The Open Championship
Here comes the year’s final major, The Open Championship, usually held in July outside of the United States. It is also known as The Open in short. This is the oldest of four majors and has a very prestigious value to all the golfers and athletes. In 2010, it completed its 150th anniversary.
The Open was first played at Prestwick Golf Club, Scotland, on 17th October 1860. Willie Park Sr is the first-ever winner of this glorious championship and was declared as ‘The Champion Golfer Of The Year’ with the challenge belt, made of red leather with a silver buckle donated by Earl Eglinton. From 1864, the cash prize was introduced to the event along the challenge belt. In 1872, Claret Jug, widely known back then as ‘The Golf Champion Trophy,’ was decided to be the winning prize instead of a challenge belt and evolved as rotating in some selective significant coastal courses throughout the UK.
The event’s current organizer, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, became the sole organizer of The Open in 1920. Walter Hagen is the first Native American who won the championship in 1922. Since World War II, the Open has been canceled in 2020 for the Covid-19 pandemic. The next Open will hopefully appear in 2021.
The qualifying requirements of participants are they should be one of these following categories. Previously championed in the Open, winners of other majors in the recent calendar, well-performer in other global tournaments, high position achievers on world rankings, and golfers who passed qualifying events with great scoring.
Most Major Wins in Golf List
Fortunately, we have five iconic golfers to look at for inspiration who won all the four majors several times and achieved career grand slam. Jack Nicklaus is the most significant winner in history, having 18 times winning. Let’s have a glance at the achievements in majors of all five golfers.
To the date, a total of 224 different golfers participated in 452 majors. The above five golfers managed to capture all the four significant victories, and about 82 players have conquered at least two majors. Walter Hagen has won 11 majors, which is high in number than Ben Hogan and followings. But he has not won all the fours.
Each of the four majors holds its distinctive prestige and traditions. These four events are always the center of attraction for every golfer out there and will remain so.