What Are The Four Major Golf Tournaments?

When it comes to professional golf, it doesn’t get any bigger than a major championship.

Major championships are the pinnacle of the game and a win at any one of the four helps cement your name in the game’s history books.

So what are the four major tournaments in golf? Let’s have a look at each one and learn a little more about their history.

What are the four majors?

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

What Are The Four Major Golf Tournaments

The Masters Tournament

  • Location: Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia, USA
  • Organised by: Augusta National Golf Club
  • First played: 1934
  • Most wins: Jack Nicklaus (6)

The Masters, held annually at the Augusta National Golf Club, is perhaps the most iconic of all the majors.

From the par 3 tournament on Wednesday to the stunning azaleas lining the fairways in April, The Masters Tournament is a tradition like no other.

It’s unique in the fact that it’s played at the same golf course every year and is famous for its immaculate condition and beautiful layout.

The winner of The Masters Tournament earns a green jacket and a lifetime exemption to play in the event, whilst also giving them a Champions Dinner the following year.

The course itself, co-designed by Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie, is a masterpiece of golf architecture, known for its beauty and the strategic thinking it demands from players.

The tournament has given us many of golf’s most memorable moments, including Tiger Woods‘ historic win in 1997 and Jack Nicklaus’ emotional victory in 1986 at the age of 46.

It’s the one we all look forward to seeing as it marks the start of the golf season and the first major championship of the season.

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The PGA Championship

  • Location: Varies across the United States
  • First played: 1916
  • Organised by: PGA of America
  • Most wins: Jack Nicklaus (5)

Moving from an August date to May in 2019, the PGA Championship now serves as the second major of the season.

Originally a match play event, it switched to stroke play in 1958, with the winner receiving the Wanamaker Trophy, one of the largest and most iconic trophies in the sport.

The PGA Championship is considered the most accessible major for club professionals, as it reserves 20 spots in its field for PGA of America members, highlighting the deep connection between the tournament and PGA professionals.

It uniquely reserves spots for PGA professionals, bridging elite tour competition with the broader golfing community and as a result has created some amazing stories.

The event has been hosted at some of the most challenging courses in the United States, testing every aspect of a golfer’s game.

The PGA Championship has a history of producing first-time major winners and dramatic finishes, such as the 2000 duel between Tiger Woods and Bob May, showcasing the depth of talent in professional golf.

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The U.S. Open

  • Location: Varies across the United States
  • First played: 1895
  • Organised by: United States Golf Association
  • Most wins: Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus (4)

The U.S. Open is renowned for its difficulty, often played on punishing courses that demand precision, endurance, and strategic play.

Known for its challenging course setups, the U.S. Open aims to test golfers’ skills under the toughest conditions.

The tournament setup aims to identify the best golfer under the most challenging conditions, leading to high scores relative to par.

Characterised by narrow fairways, thick rough, and fast greens, making it a true test of golfing skill and mental toughness.

It’s often referred to as the ultimate golfer’s challenge.

Historic venues like Pebble Beach, Oakmont, and Shinnecock Hills have created some of the best memories in golf, including Tiger Woods winning in 2008 pretty much on one leg.

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The Open Championship (British Open)

  • Location: Rotates among coastal links golf courses in the United Kingdom
  • First played: 1860
  • Organised by: The R&A
  • Most wins: Harry Vardon (6)

The Open Championship is the oldest of the majors and the oldest professional golf tournament, with a history that stretches back to the mid-19th century.

Known for its Claret Jug trophy and its often unpredictable weather, The Open Championship is the major that every golfer wants to win and be crowned as the “Champion Golfer of the Year”.

Played on the UK’s iconic links courses, The Open is defined by its deep bunkers, undulating fairways, and the unpredictable UK coastal weather.

The Open Championship has a rota of courses which it cycles through for the event, returning to St Andrews Old Course, The Home of Golf, every five years.

Winning The Open Championship requires a golf game that can manage the elements, usually dealing with strong winds and the test that links courses present.

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Final Thoughts

The four majors are not just golf tournaments; they are the pillars upon which the history of the sport is built.

Winning a major is a pinnacle achievement for any golfer, a testament to their skill, perseverance, and place among the legends of the game.

Very few can win one, but even fewer have managed to claim the career grand slam, winning all four major tournaments.

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