The Players: An Orange ?

There is no reason to compare apples and oranges. This is one hell of an orange, probably the best orange you can have, but it is not a major. Justin Leonard

Not that I agree with him, but the most eloquent argument yet for the Players not being a major is Bill Fields' column in this week's Golf World, The Players: golf's fifth wheel. It's not just Fields resurrects that wonderful quote from Leonard eight years ago but rather puts the debate in historical perspective as only he can do.

__A good question is not whether there should be a fifth major now, but what would have been the fourth in the modern game if the Masters had not come along in 1934?


Fields names the Western Open and the North and South Open as well as the Met Open and the Los Angeles Open as contenders.

__If the Players is a major, then so are some events that had just as much (if not more) prestige and worth to golfers of yesteryear....In fact, with some revised accounting, Woods is no longer chasing the Golden Bear but the Haig.


Fields gets there by counting Walter Hagen's victories in the Western, North and South and Met Opens, all tournaments that had the Players prestige in their heyday.

For an international perspective see John Barton's previous entry here. Barton addends his view with a comment that only three British papers are sending representatives to the Players, compared to, well, an army to the Masters.

For reasons that begin with field (including internationals), architect, and past winners, I take the other side, but these two make formidable cases.

—Bob Carney