The Four PGA Tour Majors- Explained

By Joel Harrington
August 12, 2011


While watching the PGA Championship this week, I asked my fiancé to name the 4 professional golf majors (those that know me know that I like to randomly quiz her and others like that).  She got the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open correct, but for the fourth she said “PGA Tour.”  I laughed thinking that it was quite funny, but then it dawned on me how misleading and confusing it can be.  The avid golfers very likely know the majors inside out, but for many casual fans the below information hopefully will clear things up a bit:

 The Masters is the only major held at the same venue each year, and is run entirely by the green jackets at the Augusta National Golf Club.  The Masters and all other majors are co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour, therefore making them an official event.

– The U.S. Open is governed and run by the USGA- The United States Golf Association.  One note is that every event is governed by USGA rules, even the majors.  There are no other sets of golf rules that are used at any professional event played in the U.S.

– The British Open is run by the R&A- The Royal and Ancient Club of St. Andrews.  The R&A used to have its own set of rules for the game and for equipment, but thankfully over a decade ago now jointly governs along with the USGA.

– The PGA Championship is run by the PGA of America, not to be confused with the PGA Tour.  The PGA of America is the governing body for all club and teaching golf professionals (ie- Head and Assistant Golf Course Professionals), whereas the PGA Tour is for touring professionals.

So, hopefully this helps clear things up a bit and can maybe even allow you to win a bit of trivia yourself next time.

Joel Harrington

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