Power Ranking the Majors
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The elite players on the professional golf tour have a chance to add huge amounts of money to their bank accounts on a weekly basis.
For those players who are struggling to earn their tour card, the idea of playing even one or two events on the PGA tour would be spectacular.
However, the best players on the tour may not look at a regular event in January or February as one of the big events. To the top golfers in the world, it's all about the major golf tournaments.
That's how golfers make their reputations—by winning majors.
Those tournaments include the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA tournament. They are played in that order on the calendar.
Here's our opinion on how the majors rank amongst each other.
The U.S. Open
The U.S. Open has been played since 1895 and is often considered the toughest test on the professional golf tour.
When the tournament was first played, it was dominated by the best European players, and it regularly remained in their possession until 1911, when American amateur John McDermott won the first of two consecutive titles.
The U.S. Open has been the tournament to win since that time. While golf started in Europe and the British Open is a very prestigious title, the U.S. Open tests golfers with challenging pin placements, high rough and difficult courses.
When a golfer wins the U.S. Open, he knows he has earned his title on the toughest of all courses.
Championships won by Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have only added to the cache of this tournament.
British Open (The Open Championship)
Many will have an argument with this selection because the Masters has such a high-profile in the United States. In fact, a case can be made that the Masters is the top-ranked of all the majors.
However, the history of the British Open (known as The Open Championship in Europe) and its meaning in the birthplace of golf should not be overlooked.
The British Open owes much of its standing to Arnold Palmer. Prior to Palmer's ascendancy to the top of the golf world in the 1950s and the 1960s, many of the top American players would not make the trip across the Atlantic to play in the British Open.
That's no longer the case. Palmer set the standard for American players competing in the British Open (source. CNN.com).
The top American players compete with Europe's best in what may be the best fields in all of golf.
The British Open features wide-open, wind-swept courses that are often contested in difficult weather conditions.
Any golfer good enough to win the British Open is clearly a stellar golfer.
Masters Golf Tournament
There is little doubt that the Masters Golf Tournament is played at one of the most picturesque golf locations anywhere in the world.
Golf legend Bobby Jones helped build this classic Augusta, Ga. course, and the tournament grew in stature very quickly.
Golfers know that when they complete the Amen Corner on the back nine, they have gotten through one of the great tests of shotmaking in golf (source: PGATour.com).
The Masters is also associated with the discriminatory practice of exclusion (source: CNN.com). Augusta National did not admit its first female members until August 2012, and there are very few African-American members as well.
Getting a membership to the club is nearly impossible for all but the most well-to-do and elite members of the golf world.
Still, it's a thrilling tournament that often has seen some of the most competitive finishes in golf history.
There's little doubt that the PGA Championship is considered the least of the majors.
It's a powerful championship, but it doesn't compare with the U.S. Open, the British Open and Masters. In fact, WorldGolf.com referred to the PGA Championship as the "U.S. Open Junior."
Like the U.S. Open, the PGA is played at various prestigious courses throughout the United States. The courses are often difficult challenges, but not quite as precarious as the U.S. Open.