The Masters Tournament
The Masters is one of four major championships in men's golf and the first to take place each year. Unlike the other major championships, the Masters is held every year at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club, a private golf club in Augusta, Georgia, USA. The Masters was started by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones, who designed Augusta National with legendary course architect Alister MacKenzie.
In addition to a cash award, the winner of the tournament is presented with a distinctive green jacket, awarded since 1949, and highly coveted among professional golfers. The green coat is actually the official coat worn by members of Augusta National while on the club grounds; each Masters winner becomes an honorary member of the club. Winners keep their jacket for the first year after their first victory, then return it to the club to wear during tournament week each following year.
In line with the other majors, winning the Masters gives a golfer several privileges which make his career more secure. Masters champions are automatically invited to play in the other three majors (the US Open, British Open and the PGA Championship) for the next five years, and earn a lifetime invitation to the Masters. They also receive membership on the PGA TOUR for the following five seasons and invitations to THE PLAYERS Championship for five years.
U. S. Open
The United States Open Championship is an annual men's golf tournament staged by the United States Golf Association each June. It is one of the four major championships in men's golf and is on the official schedule of both the PGA TOUR and the PGA European Tour. The U.S. Open is staged at a variety of courses, and they are usually set up in such a way that low scoring is very difficult and there is a premium on accurate driving.
The first U.S. Open Men's Championship was played on October 4, 1895 on a nine-hole course in Newport, Rhode Island. It was a thirty six hole competition and was played in a single day. Ten professionals and one amateur entered. The winner was a 21-year-old Englishman called Horace Rawlins who had arrived in the U.S. in January that year to take up a position at the host club. He received $150 dollars out of a cash prize fund of $325 plus a $50 dollar gold medal and for his club, the Open Championship Cup, which was presented by the USGA.
In the beginning, the tournament was dominated by experienced British players until 1911 when John J. McDermott became the first native-born American winner. Very quickly American golfers began to win and the tournament evolved to become one of the four majors.
The U.S. Open is open to any professional, or to any amateur with an up-to-date USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4. The field is 156 players. Players may obtain a place by being fully exempt or by competing successfully in Qualifying.
Around half of the field is made up of players who are fully exempt from qualifying. There are seventeen full exemption categories, including winners of the U.S. Open for the last ten years and the other three majors for the last five years, the top 30 from the previous year's PGA Tour money list, the top 15 from the previous year's European Tour money list, and the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings as of two weeks before the tournament.
Would be competitors who are not fully exempt must enter the Qualifying process, which has two stages. Firstly there is Local Qualifying, which is played over 18 holes at over 100 courses around the United States. Many leading players are exempt from this first stage , and they join the successful local qualifiers at the Sectional Qualifying stage, which is played over 36 holes at several sites in the U.S. and one each in Europe and Japan.
The Open Championship
The Open Championship (sometimes referred to as the British Open to distinguish it from other national opens), is the oldest of the four major championships in men's golf. Each year the event is hosted by one of several prestigious golf clubs in Britain; however, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) administers The Open regardless of its site. It is always played on a links course.
The Open Championship is played in July, and is the third major to take place each year, after The Masters Tournament and the U.S. Open, but before the PGA Championship. It has been an official event on the PGA TOUR since 1995, which means that the prize money won in the Open by PGA Tour members is included on the official money list. In addition, all Open Championships before that date have been retrospectively classified as PGA Tour wins, and the list of leading winners on the PGA Tour has been adjusted to reflect this. The PGA European Tour has always recognized The Open as an official event.
The PGA Championship is an annual golf tournament, conducted by the Professional Golfers Association of America as part of the PGA TOUR. The PGA Championship is one of the four Major Championships in men's golf, and it is the golf season's final major, being played in August. It is an official money event on both the PGA TOUR and the PGA European Tour.
In line with the other majors, winning the PGA gives a golfer several privileges which make his career much more secure, if he is not already one of the elite of the sport. PGA champions are automatically invited to play in the other three majors (The Masters, US Open and British Open) for the next five years, and are exempt from qualifying for the PGA Championship for life. They also receive membership on the PGA TOUR for the following five seasons and invitations to THE PLAYERS Championship for five years.
The Championship has been held at a large number of venues, some of the early ones now quite obscure, but nowadays it is usually staged by one of a small group of celebrated courses, each of which has also hosted several other leading events.
The first PGA Championship was in 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York. The trophy was donated by Rodman Wanamaker, and is known as the Wanamaker Trophy. It was initially a match play event, and it moved to a stroke play format in 1958. It is sometimes said that this was a result of pressure from televsion, which prefers to see as many famous players as possible in contention on the final day. The first winner, Jim Barnes, received $500 (US) in 1916, while 2005 winner Phil Mickelson received $1.17 million (US).
The PGA Championship was established for the purpose of providing a high profile tournament specifically for professional golfers at a time when they were generally not held in high esteem in a sport that was largely run by wealthy amateurs. This origin is still reflected in the entry system for the Championship. It is the only major which does not invite leading amateurs to compete, and the only one which reserves a large number of places, 25 out of 150, for club professionals. The PGA Tour is now independent of the PGA of America, and it is an elite organisation of tournament professionals, but the PGA Championship is still run by the PGA of America, which is mainly a body for club and teaching professionals. The PGA Championship is the only major that does not explicitly grant entry to the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings, although it invariably invites all top-50 players who are not already qualified.