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PGA Champions Confidential: Vijay Singh, Lanny Wadkins, Ray Floyd, Shaun Micheel and Gary Player join our roundtable

Lanny Wadkins
Sports Illustrated
Lanny Wadkins won his only major at the 1977 PGA Championship at Pebble Beach.

Where does the PGA rank for you compared to the other three majors?

Micheel: That's hard to say. Players do have their favorites, for sure. I'm guessing that Europeans favor the Open Championship over any other. Many of us in the U.S. grew up thinking about having a putt to win The Masters. That may be the marketing machine of Augusta National. The mystique of "The National," may have contributed heavily in its success over the years. The PGA Championship has, arguably, the best field in golf according to the World Ranking System. Remember, the PGA Championship has a field of 156. So, maybe, the PGA of America hasn't marketed itself as well as the others have. The list of names on the Wanamaker Trophy are as impressive as any in the game of golf, so I'm not sure why "people" feel the way that they do about the PGA. I can assure you that Tiger and Phil are as proud of their PGA Championship victories as any of the others.

Floyd: Everybody wants to know that, but I don’t know how you can rank any of them 1-2-3-4. It’s not sensible. You only have four in the world, and the three tournaments in the U.S. that are majors all mean the same to the player. For that matter, all four. For an American they’re all important. It’s pretty hard to rank them. But like I said earlier, if you gave an American player one choice, and asked him which one he’d like to win, most likely he’d say the U.S. Open.

Singh: It's a major event, so pros perceive it as a major and it's important to us. I'm sure the fans feel the importance too.

Player: I have won the PGA Championship twice and I have won the Senior PGA Championship three times, so it has a very special place in my career and heart. Every major is special in its own way, so I would never be able to say that one is my outright favorite. The PGA Championship is a great test every year and this year at Oak Hill will be no different.

Wadkins: I don’t rank one major ahead of the others. It’s not like I won so many that I can pick and choose. But I always liked the PGA. They play great courses, and Kerry Haigh is the best set-up man in the business. Along with the Players, you’ve got the strongest field of any tournament, and the weather’s really warm. It’s a great way to cap off the year. I liked the PGA because of the courses, the Masters because it meant going to Augusta, and the U.S. Open because you never knew what you were going to get -- just tee it up and open the box of surprises.

Given the history of the PGA, what are the chances of a match play major ever gaining traction again?

Micheel: No, I don't see that happening. As we have seen with the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, there is a lot of excitement that comes with match play. But, I think that the nerves of finishing a tournament off are eased somewhat in a match play situation. Fans want and deserve to see PGA Championship end on the 18th.

Player: I do not think it will be likely that a match play major will ever be likely again. I do, however, believe that match play is very exciting for viewers. I think the Olympics have missed a great opportunity when they decided to make the 2016 competition stroke play. The Olympics would have been the perfect match-play event, and bring an atmosphere like the Ryder Cup or President’s Cup.

Singh: No.

 

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