Which Golf Tournaments are the 'Major Championships'?

Professional golfers and golf fans alike often talk about "major championships." But do you know which golf tournaments have that title? The men's major championships are the most-famous, but here we'll also go over which tournaments make up the major championships in women's professional golf and senior pro golf.

People who don't follow golf closely or at all can be confused by the term "major championships." It is not a generic term that applies to any big event. It is a term that applies specifically only to a handful of tournaments per year — the biggest of the big events, you might say.

The majors are considered, by far, the most-important tournaments in golf each year. Winning a major — and the number of majors won over time — can establish a golfer's historical reputation.

The Men's Major Championships

There are four golf tournaments played each year that carry the major championship label. Although all four of these majors are part of the PGA Tour schedule each year, the PGA Tour doesn't run any of them.
  • The Masters Tournament: Established in 1934. The Masters is the only one of the four men's majors played at the same golf course every year — Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. It was founded by and is run by Augusta National. It is played in April. Winners of The Masters
  • PGA Championship: The PGA Championship is run by the PGA of America. It is played on a different golf course each year. It was first played in 1916, and used a match-play format until switching to stroke play beginning in 1958. It is currently played in May. Winners of the PGA Championship
  • U.S. Open: The U.S. Open is run by the United States Golf Association (USGA). It rotates to a different golf course each year. The U.S. Open was established in 1895 and is the oldest American pro golf tournament. Today it is played every June. Winners of the U.S. Open
  • British Open: This, formally named The Open Championship, is the oldest professional tournament in golf: It was first played in 1860. The Open rotates to a different golf course each year, but fewer than 10 golf courses typically make up that rota. It is played in July and is run by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A). Winners of the British Open

The Women's Major Championships

The identity and even number of the tournaments called major championships in women's professional golf has changed multiple times over the years. But the U.S. Women's Open and Women's PGA Championship (originally called the LPGA Championship) have always been included.

There are currently five women's major championships, all of them part of the LPGA Tour. The months in which they are played sometimes change, but they are currently played in the order listed:

  • Chevron Championship: First played in 1972, when it was named Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner's Circle, it has had major-championship status since 1983. Other names used by this tournament over the years include Nabisco Championship, Kraft Nabisco Championship and ANA Inspiration. From 1972-2022, it was played every year at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. Beginning in 2023, the tournaments takes place at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas. Winners of the Chevron Championship
  • U.S. Women's Open: Established in 1946, the U.S. Women's Open is considered the most important of the women's majors. It is run by the USGA, and rotates around the United States to a different golf course each year. Winners of the U.S. Women's Open
  • Women's PGA Championship: Called the LPGA Championship and run by the LPGA Tour from its founding in 1955, since 2015 it has been named the Women's PGA Championship and is run by the PGA of America. Today the tournament rotates to a different course each year. Winners of the Women's PGA Championship
  • The Evian Championship: The youngest of the women's majors, The Evian Championship was first played in 1994 but has only been called a major championship since 2013. It is played on the same golf course each year — Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France. It is co-run by the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour. Winners of the Evian Championship
  • Women's British Open: Formally named The Women's Open and today run by the R&A, which took over the event beginning in 2017. The tournament is played at a different golf course each year. It was first played in 1976, but has been called a major championship only since 2001. Winners of the Women's British Open

Major Championships of Senior Golf

"Senior golf" means professional tournaments for golfers age 50 and over. There are five tournaments that are part of the Champions Tour that are called senior majors. The are listed here as they fall on the Champions Tour schedule:

  • The Tradition: The Tradition was founded in 1989 and has been one of the senior circuit's majors from that point. It was originally based in Arizona, then in Oregon. Today, The Tradition is played each year at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Hoover, Alabama. Winners of The Tradition
  • Senior PGA Championship: The oldest tournament in senior golf, the Senior PGA Championship dates to 1937. It was created, in part, at the urging of Bobby Jones and first played at Augusta National Golf Club. Today it is run by the PGA of America and played at a different golf course each year, although some courses do get to host multiple times within a short span of years. Winners of the Senior PGA Championship
  • U.S. Senior Open: The U.S. Senior open is run by the USGA. It was founded in 1980, coinciding with the inaugural year of the Champions Tour. Played at a different course each year, it is considered the biggest title in senior professional golf. Winners of the U.S. Senior Open
  • Senior Players Championship: The 50-and-over companion to the PGA Tour's Players Championship, but unlike the under-50 version, the Senior Players is classified as a major championship. It has been played at many golf courses over the years, but typically remains at one golf course for multiple years. Currently, that course is Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. It was first played in 1983. Winners of the Senior Players Championship
  • Senior British Open: Formally known as The Senior Open Championship and run by the R&A, the Senior British Open was founded in 1987. It was elevated to a senior major by the Champions Tour in 2003. The tournament rotates to a different golf course each. Winners of the Senior Open Championship
Are there any senior majors in women's professional golf? Yes, both very recently created:

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