Editors' BlogJuly 29, 2008

Strongest Major ?

Tom Sheely writes with his "proof" that the Masters is the strongest major and that next week's PGA Championship ranks third, ahead of the U.S. Open and behind the Open Championship. He considers the Masters the clear winner.

Sheely uses two tests, both based on winners from 1986 thorugh 2007. Let's post his first "proof", essentially the argument that the the event which has champions winning the most other majors is the strongest. (The second argument is based on the total number of majors won by champions during that period, but he counts the totals of repeat winners more than once).

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Many have wondered, "Which is the best major?" "Which major is the greatest test of championship ability?" We can we answer those questions by analyzing objective data?>

The main purpose of any tournament and certainly for the majors is at the end of the day you have identified the best golfer. The pros will tell you on any given week any player can win. But we want more from the majors. We not only want the best player for the week to win, we want majors to identify one of the best players of the year. When you look at who wins the majors, it's not a long list of "anybody's". It is a list of golfers who have demonstrated a high performance for the entire year and for their entire career. Which major does the best job of identifying the best players?>

The Masters is Best >

When you look at the end of year rankings of the four major Champions over the past 21 years, the major championship that most often identified the player with that year's best World Golf Ranking was the Masters. The British Open was second, the PGA was 3rd and the US Open was the least capable of the four majors in identifying a player with the best WGR. >

Did a player who won a Major have the ability to win a different Major sometime in their career or was this the only Major they could win? The Major with the fewest would be ranked as the Best Major because their champions had a greater ability to win other Majors. The Major with the most Champions who could not win a different Major was ranked last . For years 1986 - 2007: >

    Best major: Masters, 5 (champions with only one major); second best, British Open, 9; third best, PGA Championship, 10; fourth best, U.S. Open, 15.       __>

Okay, but why only the last 20 years? And should we consider any other tournaments? For example, in the list above, the Players would rank second, with only six champions over the past 20 years who had not won a major.

What do the rest of you think?

--Bob Carney

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