Let’s be honest. Golf is far from being the most popular and exciting sports to watch for most people. It does not have the same thrill that a lot of you will find in basketball, football, or similar contact sports. If you are a golf enthusiast, however, you will appreciate the beauty of the game. From impressive golf courses to amazing swings, there are a lot of reasons to watch golf.
Whether you are watching for the first time or you are an avid fan, you should know the best golf tournaments. They gather some of the best players in the world and have produced some of the most iconic golfers of all time, such as Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Keep on reading as we talk about some of the top tournaments you should know!
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Best Golf Tournaments You Should Know
The Masters Tournament
Also known as U.S. Masters, it is one of the four major golf tournaments. It started in 1932 and is currently amongst the longest-running golf competitions globally. Unlike others, it is held in the same location annually – the Augusta National Golf Club, an infamous private golf course in Georgia, United States.
When it started, it was called the Augusta National Invitational Tournament. The first winner was Horton Smith who won $1,500. After more than eight decades, the prize money has increased significantly. For the 2020 edition, The Masters will be held from November 12 to 15, 2020 without patrons. It is expected that the purse will become one of the most lucrative in the history of golf. In 2019, the purse was $11.5 million, and Tiger Woods earned $2.07 million for winning the tournament.
The Masters is an exciting golf tournament rooted in numerous traditions. For instance, since 1949, the champion is awarded an elusive green jacket. One year after victory, the winner must return it to the clubhouse. For golfers who win multiple times, they will be given the same green jacket that they have been initially awarded.
Jack Nicklaus is the most notable winner of The Masters, who has six championships (1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, and 1986) under his helm. On the second place is Tiger Woods, who has won five times (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2019). Andrew Palmer occupies the third spot, who has been champion four times (1958, 1960, 1962, and 1864).
The U.S. Open
Some of you might confuse this with the quintessential tennis event. However, it is also one of the most popular golf tournaments. It is one of the four major golf championships in the world. It has been around since 1895, making it a classic. The event is staged by the United States Golf Association, which is often held in mid-June. Provided that there are no delays, the final round happens on the third Sunday of the month. This year, however, because of COVID-19, the tournament has been postponed and was held on September 17 to 20.
The first edition of the tournament was held at the Newport Country Club in Rhode Island, a nine-hole golf course. Horace Rawlins won the event. Out of the $335 prize fund, he won $150, plus a $50 gold medal. This 2020, the pool money was $12.5 million. The winner was Bryson DeChambeau, who took home $2.25 million.
Willie Anderson of Scotland, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus of the United States occupy the top spot on the list. They all won four championships at the US Open.
The British Open
Another part of the four major championships, The British Open, also called The Open Championship or The Open, has been established in 1860. During its initial years, the fixed venue of the games was at the Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. Eventually, it has changed into a rotating venue in some of the top golf courses in the United Kingdom. This is the only major championship that is held outside of the United States.
This 2020, like many of the sporting events held globally, The British Open was cancelled. It has been announced that the next edition will be in 2021, which will be held at Royal St. George’s. If there’s one thing that players and fans are excited about, it would be the 150th edition of the event, which is scheduled to take place in 2022 at the infamous Old Course at St. Andrews, which is considered the oldest golf course in the world.
The winner of the tournament is awarded The Claret Jug, which used to be The Golf Champion Trophy. Harry Vadon holds the record for the most victories after winning six years of the tournament. The youngest winner was Tom Morris, who won in 1868 when he was 17 years old. Interestingly, the oldest winner is a Scottish golfer who also goes by the same name, Tom Morris. He won in 1867 when he was 49 years old.
Established in 1929, the PGA Tour is a collection of the most prestigious golf tournaments globally. It is an annual series of tournaments held in different days and in different locations. Players move around the United States to compete with some of the best golfers in the country, if not the world. It is a long and competitive season, making the game more exciting.
For the 2020 to 2021 season, the official PGA Tour includes 50 FedEx Cup tournaments, aside from the Olympic Golf competition. The tour has 94 active international members from 29 countries and territories outside of US. The games started on September 10, 2020 and will last until August 29, 2021. 30 players will compete at the Tour Championship, which will be held at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. The winner will take home $15 million. Meanwhile, the prize money for the second place is $5 million, $4 million for the third place, $3 million for the fourth place, and $2.5 million for the fifth place. Aside from the winners of the games, special awards are also given, including Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year Award, Arnold Palmer Rookie of the Year Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award.
Throughout the history of the PGA Tour, Sam Snead and Tiger Woods had the most wins, who both had 82. Jack Nicklaus comes next with 73 wins and followed by Ben Hogan who had 64 wins.
Also known as the US PGA Championship or USPGA, this annual tournament is hosted by the Professional Golfers’ Association of America. It is one of the four major championships. Established in 1916, the games used to be played from mid-August to the weekend before Labor Day. In 2019, however, the games were played in May until the weekend before Memorial Day.
The PGA Championship is held in different celebrated golf courses in the United States. This 2020, the tournament was held in San Francisco at the Harding Park Golf Club. This is the tour’s fifth time in California and first time in San Francisco.
The winner of the PGA Championship takes home the Wanamaker Trophy, which stands at approximately 2.5 feet. The winner, however, is given only a replica of the trophy. The original version belongs to the owner only for one year.
Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus hold the record for the most wins at the PGA Championship. They won the championship five times each. Tiger Woods, on the other hand, won four times. For the 2020 edition of the tournament, Collin Morikawa has bested all others and took home $2 million dollars out of the $11 million pool prize money.
This is a biennial golf tournament that is participated by teams from the United States and Europe. The contest is held alternatively between the two every two years. It was established in 1927 and the name was derived from Samuel Ryder, an English businessman who donated the trophy.
To be eligible, participants need to meet the selection requirements, which vary year after year. The European and American teams have varying criteria for eligibility.
The tournament includes playing various match play competitions between two teams with twelve members. 28 matches are played throughout the event at 18 holes. On the first and second day, four fourball and four foursome matches are played daily. On the last day, there are twelve matches. This is the only day where all members are playing. On the first two days, the captain chooses the eight players who will play.
The 2020 Ryder Cup will be held on September 21 to 26, 2021 at the Straits Course at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.
Out of the 41 Ryder Cup tournaments, the United States won 26 times. Since the Cup recognized Europe as a continental team, it has already won 11 out of the 19 tournaments. In two instances, in 1969 and 1989, there has been a tie.
The Solheim Cup is the counterpart of the Ryder Cup. It is held in alternating years with the latter. This biennial event is for women while the Ryder Cup is for men. It also pits teams from the United States and Europe.
It was held for the first time in 1990. Since then, it was held every two years in even number years until 2002. It switched to odd number years in 2003, following the attack of the World Trade Center.
The games are played over three days. There are 28 games played throughout the tournament. The distribution of the games over the days of the Solheim Cup is similar to that of the Ryder Cup.
To select the players to appear on the Solheim Cup, there is a point system. The United States and Europe teams have different requirements.
Despite the popularity of the tournament, there is no prize money involved. Golfers play for recognition and honor of the country they are representing.
In the history of the Solheim Cup, the United States has the most wins at 10. Europe, on the other hand, has six victories.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
A part of the PGA Tour, this tournament was hosted for the first time in 1937 in Rancho Santa Fe, California. At that time, it was called the Bing Crosby National Pro-Amateur Golf Championship. The current name started in 1986 when AT&T became the event’s title sponsor. Meanwhile, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation is the organizer.
This annual tournament is held mostly in February at three golf courses – Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and Pebble Beach Golf Links.
The tournament starts with 156 professionals and 156 amateurs. Ever amateur is paired with a professional. For the first three days, 156 teams will complete a one-round format on three courses. On the last day, only those who made it to the 54-hole cut will be playing. The tournament also has a portion wherein individuals will be playing, but this is limited only to the professionals.
Sam Snead won the first edition of the tournament, and he was awarded a $500 prize money. For the 2020 tournament, Nick Taylor won $1.4 million in prize money. The purse reached $7.8 million, which was divided amongst those who were able to make it top the 54-hole cut. Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, and Phil Mickelson are some of the most notable players who joined this tournament. There are also celebrities who participated in recent years, including Justin Timberlake, Tom Brady, and Kevin Costner.
The Players Championship
This tournament is one of the main events at the PGA Tour. It started in 1974 when it was called Tournament Players Championship. This 2020, the prize fund was $15 million, which is the first time in history. It currently ranks as the golf tournament with the highest prize money. Half of this prize money has been distributed equally among the participants, which means that each received a minimum of $52,000. The winner, on the other hand, is expected to receive $2.7 million, which is 18% of the purse.
Informally called The Fifth Major, it is held annually in TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The 2020 edition of the tournament was held in March. However, as a response to COVID-19, the event was cancelled after the first day.
What makes this a notable event is that it is by invitation only. It gathers the top 50 individuals in the world golf rankings. You can expect that only the best of the bests will be playing. This is also the reason why the purse is unbelievably high.
The person with the most victories in this elite golf tournament is Jack Nicklaus. He won in the tournament’s inaugural year. He won three times. Meanwhile, Fred Couples, Steve Elkington, Hal Sutton, Davis Lowe III, and Tiger Woods have all won the event twice. The most recent winner of the tournament was Roy McIlroy from North Ireland. He was also the favorite to win in the 2020 event.
U.S. Women’s Open
Like in the case of many other sports, golf is dominated by men. The U.S. Women’s Open aim to put the women at the spotlights, making it one of the best golf tournaments. It is organized by the United States Golf Association.
The first edition of this tournament was held in 1946. This 2020, the tournament was supposed to be last June 4 to 7, but it has been moved to December 10 to 13 as a result of the pandemic. The games are scheduled to be played at the Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas. The event will be conducted without spectators as a health and safety protocol.
Any amateur or professional golfer can join this tournament. The minimum requirement for amateurs is to have an updated USGA handicap index of at least 4.4. Aside from competing successfully in the qualifying rounds, players can also be part of the tournament through exemptions. This year, however, with the cancellation of the qualifying round, all participants should past the exemption criteria. Some of those who are exempted are the winners of the US Women’s Open in the last ten years, ANA Inspiration Championship in the last five years, and the Evian Championship in the last five years, among others.
Patty Berg claimed the inaugural victory at the US Women’s Open. Meanwhile, Betsy Rawls and Mickey Wright hold the most victories with four wins each. Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Annika Sorenstam, on the other hand, have won three times each.
The best golf tournaments mentioned above are some of the events you should watch out for! These are held in some of the top golf courses in the world and they gather the most brilliant sportsmen. Not to mention, these games have the highest prize money in golf! Watch any of these tournaments and you are surely in for a treat!