Originally Posted by krosero
Love that last phrase, I don't recall hearing it.
But to do that with the 70s and 80s, it is not necessary at all to give the era 5 or 6 majors per year.
To understand that era you have to take Dallas and the Masters into account, but there is no reason that cannot be done by simply considering them special tournaments -- and in certain cases, yes, one of them will be the fourth most important event of the year, maybe even rightfully called a major. There is no reason to call them all majors, every year they were held. All that needs to be done is to highlight the Dallas and Masters wins that a player may have.
In other words, you can highlight McEnroe's wins in Dallas and New York, in order to evaluate his career rightfully in the context of the era. On occasion you can even say that one of those titles was the fourth most important event of a particular year, and perhaps rightfully called a major. But calling all of Mac's wins in Dallas and New York majors just gives him an inflated place in tennis history as a whole, since champions of every other era only have 3 or 4 chances per year to win majors.
I definitely agree with you on that, expecially on bolded parts.
My personal view is to give no more than four "Majors-or-their-equivalent" per year. That means the Masters (1977-82) or the WCT Finals (1972-76), but surely not both in the same year, and no one of them since 1983 (only the Masters in 1986, but just because there was no AO).
Coming back to Philadelphia - I agree with you that the 1976 WCT Finals were not great as in 1975: nonetheless, I'm still not persuaded in pointing Philadelphia as the fourth tournament this year. For example, in 1976 Palm Springs was entered by the same players who entered Philadelphia. Add to that the cumulative money prize: in Philadelphia it was around 120,000 dollars, while at Palm Springs was 200,000. The only Philadelphia advantage is the best-of-five-set final & semifinals (not a little advantage, I admit), but with the same field and more money around, Palm Springs can also be a legitimate choice (it would not change anything, Connors won both, but now I'm talking about the methodology).
Still no one of those prizes can compete with the Dallas one (100,000 but they are distribuited to 8 players instead of 64), no one of those tournaments was called a Major back then (while the WCT Finals were) and I guess they had less resonance (tough I don't have official informations on this theme).
I'm totally confused now, it seems that we have a lot of candidates for the fourth Major placement in 1976.
Another messed up year was 1970. Wimbledon and US Open were ok, but is nearly impossible to pick up two other tournaments, there were a lot of great ones: the Masters (my personal third choice, but I can understand eventual disagreements on that), the Tennis Classic round robin, the Dunlop Internationals, an amazing Torneo Godō on clay, and so on...