Summer is here, bringing a few things with it: intense mid-day heat, bright skies with the glare of the sun overhead, and the smell of fresh-cut grass. As any avid golf enthusiast knows, summer also heralds the arrival of the final two major golf championships. Kicking off with the Masters Tournament in April, the majors are the highlight of professional golf, and are comprised of the four most esteemed annual golf tournaments.
The Masters Tournament and U.S. Open may be over, but the Open and PGA Championships are right around the corner. Whether you’re considering a career as a professional golfer or simply a fan of the sport, the two remaining golf majors are events you don’t want to miss.
The Open Championship
The Open Championship, also referred to as The Open or the British Open, is the third annual major championship, and the second that takes place in the summer.
Of the four majors, The Open boasts the most history. The Open was first established in 1860, and the tournament became a part of the PGA Tour in 1995. Of the four major golf tournaments, The Open Championship is the only one that does not take place in the United States. The Open Champion can expect to take home around $1,607,681, with $8,931,562 in total prize money for the tournament.
The Open Championship is a standard stroke play tournament, consisting of 72-holes. The elite of the elite are invited to the British Open; the highest ranking golfers typically qualify for the tournament, and a Qualifying Series determined who fills the rest of the 156 spots. After the first 36 holes, a cut limits the second half of the game to only the top 70 players.
If you want to watch the 143rd Open in person, the 2014 tournament will be held from July 17th through the 20th, in Merseyside, England, at the Royal Liverpool Gold Club. Of course, those with more limited means can also view the tournament via any of a few media sources. The Open offers fans and golf enthusiasts an excellent opportunity to watch professionals at their best.
The PGA Championship
The final major tournament of the season, The PGA Championship (known as the U.S. PGA Championship outside of the States) usually takes place four weeks after The Open Championship. The very first PGA Championship was held in New York, the same year the Professional Golfers Association of America was established. Although the PGA Championship was initially born from two unofficial, amateur golfer championships, it has since become a renowned competition.
Like The Open, the PGA Championship is a standard 72-hole, stroke play tournament. The PGA Championship invites the winners of various major tournaments, the top finishers in the club pro championship, and the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Ranking who don’t qualify based on other criteria. Winning the PGA earns you a place in the other three tournaments for the following five years, and can introduce a golfer into the world of the golfing elite.
Several distinguished courses host the PGA Championship, primarily locations in the eastern United States. If you’re interested in spectating, the 96th PGA Championship will be held at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, from August 7th through the 10th.
If you love golf, watching the pros in action can be inspiring. And if you’re an aspiring golfer yourself, it can be a great learning experience, too – whether you’re viewing it in-person, on television, or over the internet.