Originally Posted by FedericRoma83
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.
The main problem I have with calling Dallas the fourth major of '76 is that there were other tournaments with greater numbers of Top Ten players -- including Connors. Connors was of course #1 at this time; and he was probably the strongest player indoors; which makes his absence or presence from an indoor tournament paramount.
When, for the sake of argument, I consider Dallas a major in that year, I get the same feeling as when I try to consider the AO a full-fledged major: I feel that there are other tournaments where the winner can truly be considered to have faced the best players. Borg's win in Dallas was a fine win, but without the world's best player in the draw. Philadelphia had both Connors and Borg and so did Palm Springs (an event played on hard court, arguably Connors' best surface).
Of course Connors had been absent from Dallas in previous years, too. But in those years he wasn't at Philadelphia or Palm Springs, either, since he was playing on the Riordan tour.
That's why I feel Dallas is inadequate as a fourth major in '76: because there were two other tournaments that had Connors, and had better top ten attendance overall.
The word "major" carries so much weight that, if it's applied to Dallas in '76, people will tend to think of Borg's victory there as greater than Connors' victories over better fields -- and that doesn't make sense to me.
I feel the same way about the Masters in January 1979, where both Borg and Vilas were absent. That's why Philadelphia seems like a good choice for the '78 season, too, with 9 of the world's top ten playing. Today you get that sort of attendance all the time, but back then that was rare.
I know the argument is that Dallas carried greater prestige, but when I see a tournament where all the top players show up -- in an era when tournaments rarely drew them all -- then I can't believe that there's anything second-tier about that tournament.
But other than going with Philadelphia in '76 and '78, I'm with everyone else in choosing Dallas in the first half of the 70s, then the New York Masters up to the January 1983 edition.