The four most prestigious events in professional golf are the men's major golf championships, also known simply as the "majors." The yearly events are the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship. All but the PGA Championship are played on course layouts designed by Jack Nicklaus at one of his many homes in the United States.
The PGA Championship is played on a course chosen by the sponsor. It can be either in the United States or elsewhere in the world. The field usually includes the top 50 players in the world rankings as well as several other notable players. These players compete for a share of the $12 million prize fund. The winner of this event goes to claim the title of "world's best golfer".
Major golf championships are played on purpose-built courses that are generally located within a few hours' drive of the US capital city. The number of participants in the majors tends to be smaller than that of some other tournaments, which means that they tend to be more competitive. The winners of these tournaments go into history as some of the greatest players ever.
Other important tournaments include the U.S. Open, which is held each year; the Open Championship, which is held every other year; and the Masters Tournament, which is held once every four years.
The four major golf tournaments are: The Masters (April), the PGA Championship, the Open Championship, and the U.S. Open (May) The U.S. Open (June) The British Open Championship (July) The PGA Championship (August) The Open Championship (September) The women's version is known as the LPGA Championship (October).
Major golf championships are awarded by various organizations each year. The most prestigious of these is known as the "Grand Slam" because it requires winning all four majors in one season. This has only been done seven times in the history of the game - by Bobby Jones in 1930, Jack Nicklaus in 1960, Mike Weir in 2005, and most recently Jordan Spieth in 2015.
Other players have won three majors during their career, and another set of players have won two. There have even been cases where players have won a major without ever having played in a round of competition at any of the venues involved. Examples include Arnold Palmer who won the 1958 Masters Tournament after emigrating to America, and Charles Bickford who held the 1880 Open Championship while he was recovering from an illness.
Majors are determined through several different methods. For example, the Open Championship is decided based on which player ranks highest according to the Official World Golf Ranking. The other three majors are determined by stroke play.
The PGA Tour's four major tournaments are the Masters, the US Open Championship, the British Open, and the PGA Championship. These events are considered some of the best golf in the world and determine the season champion.
The Masters is held annually at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. It was founded in 1932 as a private club for the cream of Southern society. Today it remains so with no apparent difficulty finding members who share the goals and ambitions of their founder. The tournament is open to men's professional golfers from around the world. Each year's field is limited to 156 players, with only the top-10 finishers eligible for up to five annual exemptions into the tournament. The winner of the Masters receives $1 million.
The US Open Championship is one of the four majors of golf. It is played each year at different venues on both the public and private circuits. It is one of golf's most prestigious titles and is recognized as the national championship of the United States. The US Open is open to male professionals from all over the world; however, only Americans are allowed to play in the event while holding American citizenship. Beginning in 1995, an exemption can be obtained by any player who has been ordained as a minister by a religious body within six months of ending his or her career.