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The Loop

The Players: Another View

One of the things they do in America is call themselves "world champions" in sports where they are the only ones playing. Seve Ballesteros

According to a post yesterday on the Editors’ Blog: “The Players will be a major someday and the field is why.” This is a position endorsed in the May issue of Golf Digest by both the Editor-in-Chief, Jerry Tarde, and the Architecture Editor Ron Whitten. But does golf really need five majors? And more to the point, even if it does, does one country deserve the right to host four of them? Haven’t we ever heard of globalization? (Come to think of it, didn’t America invent it?) Such blinkered, insular thinking is the reason that none of this year’s “World Golf Championships” are being held outside America. It’s the reason a team event was created, the Presidents Cup, in which a U.S. side squares off against a completely bastardized, concocted squad that can best be described as “the-rest-of-the-world-except-Europe.” Whoever heard of such a team? No matter—the important thing is Uncle Sam gets to take on (and preferably beat) a bunch of “furrners.”

We can’t help but be reminded of what Seve Ballesteros told us in September 2000: “One of the things they do in America is call themselves ‘world champions’ in sports where they are the only ones playing. They have the mentality that America is the whole world. America is a great country, but there are many other places, too.” There sure are. Lots of them. And in golf terms, watch out because they are growing fast. If there is ever to be a fifth major—or a replacement for one of the existing majors that doesn’t deserve the status (step forward the Masters and the PGA)—it won’t be a tournament in a reconstituted Florida swamp with a tricked-up island hole and a roster of champions like Mark Hayes, Jodie Mudd and Craig Perks. It’ll most likely be an event in China that we haven’t even heard of yet. As Tiger Woods said a decade ago, at his first press conference as a pro: “Hello world.”

—John Barton

Golf Digest Publications International Editor