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Most difficult major to win...?

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  1. 1. Most difficult major to win?

    • Masters
      2
    • U.S. Open
      12
    • British Open
      3
    • PGA Championship
      3


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I read on  these pages someone's opinion that the PGA Tourney, the fourth of the lot, is the easiest of the major's to win. Man, i would have thought the PGA  the most difficult as the field is controlled (no amateurs), the variable track always long and winding, the lateness of the season,  fatigue of the players, the final big event of the year all make for tougher going. Who knows?

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I would have to agree with your "source" that, IMHO, the PGA would be the easiest to win.  The two most difficult would be the U.S. Open and The Open.  Why?

The U.S. Open is a course set up different than anything else these participants play.  We have seen the PGA become accustomed to tourneys that see the 72 hole scores anywhere from 10 under to 20 under.  If there is discerable rough, it is not tough enough to invoke dire consequences.  The U.S Open has higher rough, narrower fairways, and faster greens than any other venue.  Many, many years we see the U.S. Open winning 72 hole score at even par... or a shot or two over.

The Open can be a test due to weather.  If Mother Nature wants to make The Open a challenge, she can... and often does!

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I think the notion that one of the majors is the most difficult to win is kind of silly, IMO.  Doesn't each one have exactly one winner?

Now if we want to talk about the hardest one to win for a particular player that might make sense.  Clearly the US Open was the hardest one for Sam Snead to win.  The PGA was the hardest for Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson. The Masters was the hardest one for Lee Trevino.  The British Open was the hardest for Ray Floyd.

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if someone did a rough stat to see which major had the least amount of one-time winners since 1934 (the first masters), then i guess it would provide a basic argument for which major is the easiest/toughest to win.  augusta has had 16 multiple champions who combine for 45 of the 76 total green jackets, or 59%.  that's a pretty elite/elusive championship imho.

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The larger the field the lower each individuals chances are so statistically the Masters would be easiest with a 1 in 100 chance to win while the other three are 1 in 156.

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The larger the field the lower each individuals chances are so statistically the Masters would be easiest with a 1 in 100 chance to win while the other three are 1 in 156.

That's once you get in. But the smaller the field, the harder it is to get in. So do you look at which is harder to win starting from scratch, or which is harder to win starting from the first tee? Maybe the reason the Masters has so many repeat champs is because they have lifetime exemptions. Nicklaus would not have qualified for the 1986 Masters if it gave, say, a ten-year exemption for Masters winners, and a five-year exemption to winners of other majors, which is the scheme the US Open uses (ten years for US Open winners, and five years for the other three). The PGA and British also give effective lifetime exemptions to their winners (the Open cuts it off at 60), but with their larger fields, they aren't as hard to get into, so the lifetime exemption doesn't matter as much.

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I got a chance to go to the Sunday round at masters the greens this year. they are lot harder to play on than how they appear on tv. I would probably 4 put several if i had to play that

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True, so minus exemptions the Masters is the hardest to qualify for, but easiest to win.  The others are easier to qualify for but harder to win.

Originally Posted by brocks

That's once you get in. But the smaller the field, the harder it is to get in. So do you look at which is harder to win starting from scratch, or which is harder to win starting from the first tee?

Maybe the reason the Masters has so many repeat champs is because they have lifetime exemptions. Nicklaus would not have qualified for the 1986 Masters if it gave, say, a ten-year exemption for Masters winners, and a five-year exemption to winners of other majors, which is the scheme the US Open uses (ten years for US Open winners, and five years for the other three).

The PGA and British also give effective lifetime exemptions to their winners (the Open cuts it off at 60), but with their larger fields, they aren't as hard to get into, so the lifetime exemption doesn't matter as much.

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The Open is the toughest, IMO because its played on some of the most difficult courses in the nastiest weather.  Links courses when its windy and/or rainy are as tough as it gets.

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i'll have to choose the us open not only because it just happened, but because I think its more difficult then the british open only slightly and you have to be incredibly accurate to win at it.

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The Open. It fights with the US Open, but I believe the challenging courses and wind conditions they can face there are tougher than the sometimes tough layout of the US Open. Playing on windswept links courses is very different from what players normally face. Especially if the rough is half a meter high.

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The Open is the toughest, IMO because its played on some of the most difficult courses in the nastiest weather.  Links courses when its windy and/or rainy are as tough as it gets.

That's true, but the tougher the course, the easier it should be for the best players to win. However, IMO the Open is the hardest major for the best players to win because it involves the most luck. A good player can get the bad weather draw. Or the course might have crowned fairways, or (like this year) a couple hundred pot bunkers, so you can get some very bad bounces with good shots.

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The good players should be managing their game so their shots can't run out in to the bunkers.

And for that reason (amoungst lots of others), despite one of his worst Open performances at the last Lytham Open, I think Tiger will stand a great chance this year.

They're all hard, in the old days, when fewer of the European players played in the US and were less use to US style conditions, returning to the same venue made the Masters easier for them, now that most of them play a split schedule on both tours it doesn't make as much difference. Also, it was historically very hard for European's to get into the PGA & US Open.

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Originally Posted by brocks

That's once you get in. But the smaller the field, the harder it is to get in. So do you look at which is harder to win starting from scratch, or which is harder to win starting from the first tee?

Maybe the reason the Masters has so many repeat champs is because they have lifetime exemptions. Nicklaus would not have qualified for the 1986 Masters if it gave, say, a ten-year exemption for Masters winners, and a five-year exemption to winners of other majors, which is the scheme the US Open uses (ten years for US Open winners, and five years for the other three).

The PGA and British also give effective lifetime exemptions to their winners (the Open cuts it off at 60), but with their larger fields, they aren't as hard to get into, so the lifetime exemption doesn't matter as much.

jack was 33rd in the world according to the first issue of the sony ranking that debuted the week ending april 6th, 1986.  the masters began april 10th that year.  i'm not sure if augusta had the same qualifying standards, but as we all know, top 50 in the owgr gets you in nowadays.

http://dps.endavadigital.net/owgr/doc/content/archive/1986/owgr01f1986.pdf

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The PGA, the deepest field of the four majors. The Opens have too many qualifiers (who rarely win), and the Masters has a tiny field.

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jack was 33rd in the world according to the first issue of the sony ranking that debuted the week ending april 6th, 1986.  the masters began april 10th that year.  i'm not sure if augusta had the same qualifying standards, but as we all know, top 50 in the owgr gets you in nowadays.   [URL=http://dps.endavadigital.net/owgr/doc/content/archive/1986/owgr01f1986.pdf]http://dps.endavadigital.net/owgr/doc/content/archive/1986/owgr01f1986.pdf[/URL]

Thanks for the link. I can't find the 1986 qualifying standards, either. It seems unlikely that they could have used the world ranking if it came out just four days before the tournament started, and Woosnam, who was one spot higher than Jack in the rankings, was not in the field, but it's probably a moot point with Jack, since it's hard to believe he wouldn't have gotten a special invitation if he didn't otherwise qualify. But I think it's reasonable to assume that they would have taken the top 50 from the previous year's money list, and Jack was 43rd in 1985, so I was probably wrong about him not qualifying. I was just going by the fact that he hadn't won anything in almost two years. When Tiger was in that situation, he failed to qualify for the WGC in China last year, as well as the FedEx Playoffs.

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Originally Posted by iacas

The PGA, the deepest field of the four majors. The Opens have too many qualifiers (who rarely win), and the Masters has a tiny field.

And, further, you first have to be a pro to even get into the PGA, so a Beau Hossler wouldn't even be in the field in the first place.

This is a good question though. Certainly they're all extremely difficult to win...they're majors after all. But I would have to agree with iacas - the PGA.

The Masters has a small field populated with past champions who have no real shot at winning, but having said that, Larry Mize, for example, could win a major. So the Masters is out. Field's too small & too many players that are graced in simply by winning the thing three decades ago. In reality, only about 20-30 players in a given year have a true sot at winning. That's why it's more unusual to see a darkhorse win the Masters.

The US & British Opens have qualifiers. They're 'Opens'. One could conceivably catch a hot streak at the Sectionals & carry that into the Open. Very unlikely, but could happen. Two weeks of hot play & you're the Open champ.

But the PGA - first you have to be a pro, then you have to beat all the other pros, the best pros in the world.

I voted US Open, but after giving it more thought I would change my answer to the PGA.

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British Open or US Open.  Huge fields.  Super tough conditions.

The Masters is obviously the hardest tournament in the world to get into, but once you're there I think you have a better chance of winning the thing than either open championship.

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