The PGA Championship is almost frowned upon as the Ugly Sister of the four despite, even in an Olympic year, it being the fourth best tournament on the calendar by some distance. Which leaves the US Open firmly in third spot and only occasionally deviating from it. Part of its problem is the never-ending chat, in the build-up and most of the week itself, about the USGA and the set-up. You might have the pick of the greatest and classic courses in the whole of the United States but, year after year, we still get bogged down by the length of rough and speed of the greens etc etc. Most of our appetites ahead of Winged Foot were whetted by videos of balls disappearing into rough.
The USGA have their favourites – Pebble Beach, Pinehurst, Oakmont and Shinnecock – and maybe after this week Winged Foot. Next year we go to Torrey Pines, then Brookline before a debut for LA Country Club. And then we're into a run of those old favourites which will both improve its standing given a better familiarity of the courses and, here we go again, a chance to set a better test from more recent lessons learned. The story goes that after the 2004 debacle at Shinnecock the members were so upset that they wouldn't even consider playing hosts again for a number of years. Other courses, like a Chambers Bay or Erin Hills, will be considered but just less often.
Then again if you're a sadistic soul who likes to watch the best in the business grinding their way to a 74 then you'll probably already have it up there as your favourite major anyway.
Ask any golf fan which their favourite major is and you’ll tend to get one of two answers – the Masters or the Open Championship. To generalise wildly the American punter will likely go with the former – though there’s always huge kudos for the US player who trots out his love of the Open – to be followed by a few clichés about this is where the game began, how it took them a while to get their head round the nuances of links golf and so on. Again, to generalise, ask 100 club golfers anywhere in the world where their dream round would be and you might expect at least half of them to say Augusta National.