Despite having to clarify his comments, Rory McIlroy last week spoke of the importance of the Masters and it’s place in the heirarchy of the Majors.
Now Phil Mickelson has sided with the Irishman in also placing the Masters, a Major he’s now won on two occasions (2004 & 2006), also up on a pedestal ahead of the other three Majors.
Mickelson, a winner of five Majors, was asked ahead of this week’s Players Championship what he thought of McIlroy’s comments.
“I think they’re important”, he said smiling. “I think the one that has eluded you is the one that you look at more importantly, but when I was a kid and thought if there was only one I could win it was The Masters.”
“The reason you choose the Masters every time is because you become a part of that history and get to be a part of it every year, whereas the other majors you go back to that course every five or ten years and you don’t get to really relive the experience the way you do at the Masters.”
A very diplomatic answer from the now 47-year old.
And as a follow-up Mickelson was quizzed where he would place The Players Championship, an event he won by two shots in 2007, in terms of importance on a golfer’s CV.
“It certainly is up there for me, given the strength of the field and the quality of the event”, he said. “It’s one of these events where, over time, it may very well become or be looked at as a major championship, much like the Western Open used to be considered a major. It kind of fell away.”
“I think that this may have the opposite effect. You kind of look back on it and 50 years from now view it as a major.”
And reigning Open Champion, Jordan Spieth found himself also drawn into the ‘Majors’ discussion despite not being aware of McIlroy’s comments.
Spieth said: “I have no idea what Rory said, so I’ll just answer the question, I guess, separately. Do the majors rank above another? I think it kind of depends on the individual. I’ve always thought of the Masters as my favorite tournament in the world, and if you told me five years ago you can win one tournament for the rest of your life, what is it, and I would have chosen the Masters.”
“At this point in my career, I obviously have the PGA circled. I think it just kind of depends who it is and what’s happened. At the beginning of each year, the Masters is still kind of the No. 1 to peak at. But then I have not won The Players, and we look at this tournament it’s up there in about equal value with the major championships.”
“The only thing that holds it away from being a major is simply people jotting down how many majors people won. I mean, it is one of the toughest tests in golf with potentially the best field in golf. I think it is the best golf in all of golf. If you win here, you can win anywhere else.”