Below is a list of the courses that I think have provided the best major championship venues over the years.
Augusta National Golf Club; Augusta, GA
Frankly, this is a little unfair. My criteria for this list is what golf course has hosted the best and most dramatic
major championship tournaments. Given that 3 of the 4 majors are played on rotating sites and the one that is
always played at the same place every year is played at Augusta, Augusta almost has to be #1. And it is. But
let's not let that diminish the settings, the events, and the historic matches that have taken place at Augusta
National like the; 1986 Masters where Jack made his historic charge and won his final Masters at the age of 46,
the 2004 Masters where Phil nailed an 18 footer on the 18th to lock up his first major championship, the 1935
Masters when Sarazen launched his "shot heard round the world" which eventually allowed him to win his first
Masters and become a member of the career grand slam club, who could forget Tiger's 1997 Masters where he
absolutely decimated the competition, I could detail some of Mr. Norman's carnage at Augusta…but I won't.
Nevertheless, over the years Augusta has brought us some of golf best moments.
Oakmont Country Club; Oakmont, PA
Some of golf most memorable battles have taken at Oakmont. In total Oakmont has hosted 3 PGA
Championships, and 8 US Opens. Oakmont has seen perhaps the greatest round ever played when Johnny
Miller rip off his 63 in the final round to win the 1973 US Open. Nicklaus came back to beat Palmer in a playoff in
the 1962 US Open. Hogan won the 1953 US Open in the midst of, perhaps, his best season. The great Slammin'
Sammy Snead also lifted the Wannamaker Trophy as he won the 1951 PGA Championship. What is really cool
about Oakmont is that is has hosted its fair share of PGA major championships throughout the years…20's, 30's,
50's, 70's, 80's, 90', and 2000's. It was and still is a truly excellent place to host a major championship for the
world's elite golfers.
St. Andrews (Old Course); St. Andrews, Scotland
There is absolutely no place on the earth that has as much golfing history as St. Andrews. The Open has been
played there as far back as 1873. Although, The Open rotates its venue St. Andrews has seen its fair share of
championship golf. Members of "The Great Triumvirate" have won championships there. The great Bobby Jones
become an honorary citizen of St. Andrews during his reign as King of Golf World. As have Snead, Nicklaus,
Faldo, and Woods. It is said among the elites of the game that your career is not complete until you've won at St.
Andrews. This alone makes it an ideal host of a major championship.
Baltusrol Golf Club; Springfield, NJ
Baltusrol is without question one of the finest golf courses in the world and has hosted some of the greatest
championships in the history of the PGA tour. Seven times it has hosted the US Open and it has also hosted a
PGA Championship. During the course of its US Opens the golfing world has been treated to seeing Jack and
Arnie's last big duel in 1967, Nicklaus' record setting 1980 US Open, Willie Anderson's wild ride in the 1903 US
Open, and Phil becoming a repeat winner as he won the 2005 PGA Championship. Lots of big time tournament
golf, but more importantly…lots of high quality big time tournament golf.
Muirfield Golf Course; Muirfield, Scotland
Muirfield is home to the oldest golf club known to man, The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. This club
was formed in 1744 and in 1891 they built their private club, Muirfield. Muirfield has hosted the British Open 15
times and has seen some of the greats of the game win the Claret Jug on its hallowed grounds. Some of those
great champions are: Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Nick Faldo, and Harry Vardon. With
a storied history and a pedigree like this, how can Muirfield not be an ideal place to hold a major championship?
Pebble Beach Golf Links; Pebble Beach, CA
There may be golf courses that have held more exciting championships than Pebble. There might even be golf
courses that have a more robust history than Pebble Beach. But, without question, nothing says golf more than
the iconic images of Pebble Beach. Especially scenes and pictures of Pebble's 7th hole. A tricky little par 3 that
plays way down hill to a green surrounded by a craggy coast line and constantly bombarded by crashing waves.
As a youngster, I can vividly remember watching Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson playing that hole with my
grandfather and enjoying every minute of it, despite the fact that I was too young to understand what was going
on. Many other courses on this list have held numerous major championships, Pebble is not in that category.
However, the significance of the majors its held combined with its idealyic setting give it great cause to be on the
list. Who could ever forget Nicklaus and Watson slug it out in the 1982 US Open. How about Tiger's romp in
2000? Nicklaus, Wadkins, and Kite are other major champions crowned at Pebble. Honestly, I can't wait for the
2010 US Open!!!
Royal Birkdale; Southport, England
Royal Birkdale has hosted the Open Championship 9 times. It was founded in 1884 and is ranked as one of the
best courses in the world by many of the golfing magazines. Oddly enough, Birkdale is one of the few sites in the
Open rotation that has failed to produce a champion from the United Kingdom. Over its nine championships
Birkdale has seen Thomson, Palmer, Trevino, Miller, Watson, Baker-Finch, O'meara, and Harrington hoist the
Carnoustie Golf Links, Carnoustie, Scotland
Carnoustie is considered to be the most difficult course in the Open rotation and has earned the nickname "Car-
nasty" for this reason. A young Sergio Garcia ran into his mothers arms in tears after missing the cut at
Carnoustie and posting two rounds in the 80's. In fact, there is a psychological term called "The Carnoustie
Effect" which refers to the degree of mental anguish which is experienced when false and unrealistic expectations
collide with reality. I would say the 19 year old Sergio Garcia had a fairly bad case of the Carnousite Effect. Now
that I think of it, maybe Jean Van de Velde also felt this effect pretty intensely. Open Champions at Carnoustie
include: Ben Hogan, Padraig Harrington, Peter Lawrie, Tom Watson and Gary Player.
Cherry Hills Country Club; Denver, Colorado
Cherry Hills has hosted 3 US Opens and 3 PGA Championships. The US Open champions crowned at Cherry
Hills were: Rudy Guldahl in 1938, Andy North in 1978, and Arnold Palmer in 1960. In fact, Cherry Hills was the
site of Arnie's historic charge in 1960. The most dramatic moment of that charge is arguably when he drove the
first green right out of the box on Sunday. Hubert Green won the 1985 PGA Championship at Cherry Hills and Vic
Ghezzi defeat Byron Nelson in match play format "1 up" to take the 1941 PGA Championship.
Medinah Country Club; Medinah, IL
Medinah has hosted 3 US Opens and 2 PGA Championships. Medinah's #3 course, which is the course that's
hosted all their major championships, measures over 7,500 yards and is the longest course in major
championship history. Middlecoff, Graham, and Irwin have all won US Opens at Medinah, while Tiger Woods has
taken both of the PGA Championships hosted at Medinah. Perhaps one of the most exciting moments at Medinah
was in the 1999 PGA, when Sergio Garcia closed his eyes and swung as hard as he could at a ball which had
come to rest right next to a tree. His shot turned out to be one of the best shots in major championship history
and the image of a young Sergio running and jumping down the fairway to see where the ball ended up is a
lasting image in golf history. Despite his great shot, he was unable to beat the great Tiger Woods for the title.