Is pressure of majors heartfelt or simply external?
It’s no surprise that the week after the Masters is the perfect time to sit back and ask a chicken-or-egg question: Does the media put too much emphasis on the majors or do the majors put too much pressure on the players?
Carl Pettersson acknowledges that the major championships have the most history behind them, but feels that the media has created an atmosphere where you can’t be considered great without having at least one on your resume. “I definitely think you should be able to be in the Hall of Fame without having won one,” he said.
So he’s firmly in favor of Colin Montgomerie’s upcoming induction?
“Absolutely,” Pettersson said. “Monty was a world-class player for so many years. At one time, I think he was the best player in the world.”
Bo Van Pelt thinks there’s a little of both going on, but he has noticed in past years that the madness of a major has crept into the range situation.
“It seems the ranges are crazy. It’s so hard to get work done early in the week. Everyone’s there. It’s a big event.”
That’s why he appreciates the one-week-a-year practice range at Augusta National, which still blows players away.
“They keep the range uncluttered (there). It’s nice to be able to practice, and you get a lot done (at Augusta),” Van Pelt said.
Webb Simpson, who won the U.S. Open last summer in just his fifth start in the major, sees the frenzy as media-driven.
“(A major) is such a big tournament, but at the end of the day, it’s still just a tournament,” he said. “For great players who haven’t won a major, it is so hard to win only because there are only four chances a year. It would be like saying Webb Simpson’s career won’t be complete till he wins Charlotte. Well, I only get one shot a year at my hometown tournament.”
Still, Simpson realizes the landscape is what it is.
“I wish golfers weren’t remembered for the majors, but I think that’s how it is.”