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Jim Huber is an Emmy Award-winning announcer with TNT.
Jim Huber is an Emmy Award-winning announcer with TNT.

Major Champion: The words that change everything

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TNT Emmy Award-winning essayist Jim Huber says winning a major championship is a life-altering experience. Just ask Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera, Padraig Harrington and whoever is fortunate enough to hoist the famed Wanamaker Trophy next Sunday at Southern Hills.

By Jim Huber, Special to PGA.com

You should be able to tell it by their walk, a kind of swagger that can come only after heavy lifting. You should be able to see it in their eyes, the confident look of a man who recently lifted a large and valuable trophy named Wanamaker or Claret. You should be able to hear it in their hearts, the beat of a different drummer, one muffled sometimes by a green jacket.

You should know a major championship winner on first sight, then, because, like the first signs of stubble on a man's chin, his world is changed forever and ever.

Some, like Tiger Woods, get that first one and simply become ravenous for the next. Others, such as Angel Cabrera or Zach Johnson, savor that first one like the last drop of a very old and expensive bottle of wine. But whether it is one major championship or 10, whether it is a collection of Wanamakers or just one, the simple fact that the words "major champion" automatically come after your name is life-altering.

And it is not simply the physical benefits, the large check and the subsequent free rides. It is much more internal than that. You have knocked on the door of a very exclusive club and gained entry ... forever.

No matter if it eventually becomes the only victory on your resume, it remains a major and there aren't many among your peers who are allowed that inclusion.

And so these four will travel to Bermuda for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a quartet of very privileged men. Their swagger, their heartbeat, the look in their eyes telling us everything we need to know.

They will journey to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf as the most elite members of a very special class of athlete. Of the millions who try to play the game every week around the world, only a few somehow are able to do it for a living, however modestly.

Even fewer gain access to the professional tours, and what are the odds of winning one of the four major championships from that pool of talent?

But perhaps, in retrospect, we shouldn't look at those who will travel to Bermuda in October at all, but rather the men in their wake. See the look in their eyes instead, and you will know everything there is to know about the worth of a major championship.

Jim Huber

Jim Huber is an Emmy Award-winning announcer with TNT. This essay, portions of which appeared in the 2005 and 2006 PGA Grand Slam of Golf Official Programs, appears courtesy of the 89th PGA Championship Journal.


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