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The 4 Golf Major Tournaments Explained

Golf has always been one of New Jersey players’ favorite sports. It's competitive, social, and packed with mega-money prizes. Only 4 golf tournaments reign supreme – the 4 golf Majors. Every year from April through July, golf aficionados gather en masse, in person, or in front of the TV, to watch the finest players in action.

A Major victory is one of the highest accolades a golfer can win. Winning all 4 majors is a dream come true – a feat rarely achieved in the professional golfing world. The glory of winning a Golf Major trumps all other PGA Tour contests by a long margin. The 4 golf majors include The Masters, the PGA Championship, the US Open, and The Open Championship. Let's take a look!

1.    The Masters Golf Major

The world-famous Augusta National Golf Club hosts the Masters every year. Two renowned personalities founded the Masters, including Clifford Roberts (investment banker), and Bobby Jones (pro golfer). As the first golf Major, the Masters is widely regarded as the most illustrious contest of all. Feel free to enjoy our competitive golf odds at 888 Sport NJ!

What makes it unique is the fact that it is played on the same golf course year after year. In fact, it's the only golf Major that plays out this way. Unsurpassed since inception, the Masters has a long and celebrated history dating back to 1934. When winners are crowned, they are gifted green jackets – a rite of passage as an honorary club member.

Of course, a beautiful trophy is handed out to the winner, but the jacket must remain on site at the Augusta National Golf Club. Only current champions are able to keep the jacket for a period of a year, after which it must be returned. Considering that the first winner of the Masters was Horton Smith ($1500 payday), the pay has increased substantially since inception. In 2019, Tiger Woods won his 5th Masters tournament and scooped up a prize of $2,070,000.

Membership to the Augusta National Golf Club is near impossible to get for the average golf fan. The likes of Silicon Valley billionaires and Washington elites frequent Augusta National Golf Club – everyone else simply has to watch the action from the sidelines, at home, on the go, or on TV. The stunning azaleas, and the magnificent Magnolia lane driveway are a sight to behold. The Masters is the first of 4 golf majors, and it's a big one!

2.    The PGA Championship Golf Major

The PGA Championship is the second golf Major of the year. It plays out in May, and is not specific to one golf course. In fact, the PGA Championship predominantly takes place on the East Coast, but has been known to feature on the West Coast too. Over the years, the PGA championship has been played in New York almost a dozen times, and in 2020 it was hosted at TPC Harding Park, in San Francisco, California.

Qualification for the PGA Championship is possible if a pro golfer has won any of the 3 majors, or a PGA Tour event through sponsorship exemption. The PGA Championship got started well over 100+ years ago. Winners received a trophy from an established NYC entrepreneur named Rodman Wanamaker. Prize money of $500 was awarded too. The trophy is really heavy, at a weight of 34 lbs, and for the past 60 + years, features details of the host golf course and the prevailing champions.

The Rodman Wanamaker Trophy remains locked up in a display cabinet with the PGA Gallery, in Florida, USA. In the old days, prize-money was substantial, but hardly comparable to today's payouts. According to CBS Sports, first-place gets paid out $2.7 million, second place receives $1,635,000, and third place a cool $1,035,000.

3.    The US Open Golf Major

Come June of every year, the golf world prepares for one of their favorite golf majors – the US Open. Like the PGA Championship, the venue for the US Open changes every year. Many golfers feel that the US Open is the most challenging of all the 4 golf majors, and for good reason. It is hosted by the USGA, and not the PGA.

Back in 2019, the total prize pool for the U.S. Open was $12.5 million. Professional golfers have to put in a monster effort to win the U.S. Open, given the course’s complexity. Over the years, dozens of US pro golfers have won the U.S. Open, and a large minority of UK and European golfers have chipped in with some fine performances of their own. A unique format characterizes how the winner is selected. In the event of a tie, players may end up competing in a sudden-death format.

4.    The Open Championship

In July of every year, pro golfers converge for the British Open a.k.a. the Open Championship. As the only golf Major hosted outside of the US, it also has the honor of being the world's oldest golfing tournament. There are 10 golf courses across the UK which host the Open Championship, and a full spectrum of competitors is welcome to participate, including amateurs and pros. It began in 1860, and was won by Willie Park Senior, a Scotsman. The Earl of Eglington donated a Challenge Belt to him, as the winner.

The first US winner of the Open Championship (British Open) was Walter Hagan in 1928. Wind conditions often require golfers to change up their entire game during the 4-day period of play. The greens are incredibly slow with the Open Championship, thanks largely to the winds interfering with ball velocity, creating friction and changing conditions on the ground. In 2017, the Open Championship started making payments to winners in US dollars. Before that, everything was paid in British pounds.

There you have it! All 4 golf majors in one article. Feel free to browse our golf betting blog where you will find information on everything golf related. We bring you details of the biggest winners, biggest paydays, and most competitive head to heads.

Naturally, every pro golfer wants to win all 4 golf majors, but this honor has eluded most everyone except for a handful of professional players, including the legendary Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Jean Saracen, and Ben Hogan.

*Photo Courtesy of Matt Slocum and AP

About the Author
Brett Chatz

Brett is an internationally published sports journalist, political analyst, and medical fiction author. His commentary is seen in The Star, The Citizen, Tampa Bay Times, The Street, The Sowetan, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Independent, and across hundreds of online and print media platforms. He is the author of ‘Cricket Chatz’ and the highly-acclaimed, ‘Serum’. 

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