Masters Legends Rank It Fourth Best Of The (Four) Majors

The perceived wisdom is that you either have the Open or the Masters down as your favourite major. The former is one for the traditionalists, it's the oldest (and the best), it's played on a rota of world-class links courses and it's almost impossible not to have it in your top two.

The Masters on the other hand brings familiarity courtesy of the biggest bucket-list course on the planet and constantly delivers thrills and spills at every corner, particularly of the Amen variety. It throws up heroic champions and traditions that, as much as we might snigger on occasion, are part of the fabric of the game. Golf played on a film set and it comes at a time of year when there's plenty of optimism in the air.

So, for a three-time Green Jacket winner and one of its honorary starters, to put it bottom of the quartet is something else. Gary Player, who's not afraid to say something controversial, had this to say on the Big Four.

“But, never mind the Masters, the Open is by far the greatest tournament on the planet,” Player told the Daily Mail. “I rate the Open at one, the US Open two, PGA three and Augusta four; four marvellous tournaments. [The Masters is] the youngest of the Majors. The others are steeped in tradition and history and they still have to catch up. Nothing comes to the top without time.”

For the record Player has three Masters, three Opens, two PGAs and one US Open. The South African was the first non-American to win the Green Jacket when he triumphed in 1959.

All of which led to the Golf Channel digging out some quotes from Jack Nicklaus, one of Player's fellow starters at Augusta. in a documentary that they made. Though Nicklaus would qualify his remarks with plenty of common sense behind his listing.

“I have the US Open as the No. 1 tournament,” Nicklaus said in the documentary. “For the rest of the world, the British Open is probably the No. 1 tournament. The Masters falls fourth because it’s not meant to be ahead of those others. The Masters tournament is not a championship. You can’t rank a tournament ahead of championships.”

All of which is fair enough and, as he would add, there's nothing quite like Augusta to get the juices flowing.

“You know I made my whole life toward winning the Masters and winning the first Major (of the year). Most people would put the Masters No. 1 and that’s OK. I’d put the Masters No. 1 as far to play in and enjoy doing that kind of stuff. But as far as importance of the game, and being American, the US Open is No. 1.”