Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Fifth Major?

Should the Tournament Players’ Championship be considered a major championship and thus raise the quantity of majors from four to five? This question arises every year and is debated everywhere in the golf world ad nauseam, ad infinitum, ad boredom. It’s no secret that Tim Finchem is trying his hardest, subtly or brazenly, to get the golf world to accept the TPC as a major. The answer to any golf traditionalist or purist is, of course, a resounding, “No!”

The most basic reason is that the math doesn’t work. The “Grand Slam” is based on the number four. It’s a baseball term with the number four at its core. A player hits one out of the park with the bases loaded and four runs score, he gets four RBI’s, he touches four bases and he makes four more million dollars. Everything is FOUR! If a fifth major comes about, no longer can we use the term “Grand Slam.” We have to use something with a connotation of five. Perhaps we could use “The Great Quinary.” Somehow that doesn’t seem to have the same quality as “Grand Slam.” Maybe we could borrow “The Mighty Quinn?” I think this would be good, then, if someone in his 50’s wins all five major championships, the media would have a linguistic Mardi Gras. The winner would be known as “The Mighty Quinquagenarian Quinn.” And further verbal possibilities are endless.

So you see how silly this whole idea is? In its elementary form it doesn’t work. In its corporate form it’s an avaricious, self-indulgent maneuver.

This year, in his continuing effort to force his will upon the golf world, Tim Finchem is employing that tried, tested and failed corporate strategy of “throw more money at it.” Before the ink dries on Stephen Ames’ check, bulldozers will be leveling the clubhouse and contouring the fairways. That’s right, a new clubhouse, better drainage in the fairways, and a pumped-in air duct system under the greens is all part of a plan to make the TPC more ornate and glamorous with perfect course conditions. All this for a cool $22-$28 million. If you can try to buy a game in the world of golf by spending an obscene amount of money on equipment, why not try to buy a major by spending an obscene amount of money on “upgrading” a golf facility that is already well-suited for the purpose. Why not cut back on a couple of new $500,000 columns on the clubhouse and employ that money to rebuild a few houses in the gulf coast states? That would be a major.

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