Originally Posted by krosero
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.
So your list for 4th event of the 1970's through to the 1982 season is:
1971 - Australian Open or WCT Finals (The Australian Open had a deep field that year)
1972 - WCT Finals
1973 - WCT Finals
1974 - WCT Finals
1975 - WCT Finals
1976 - Philadelphia or Masters?
1977 - Masters
1978 - Philadelphia or Masters?
1979 - Masters
1980 - Masters
1981 - Masters
1982 - Masters
If you could please elaborate on your choice for 1970, 1971, 1976, 1978 Thanks
Also be interesting on your view of the 4th event from 1983 through 1987. My belief is that from 1988 the Australian Open was definitely up to full slam status again being in the new stadium and 128 draw and very deep field. I know top players started coming back in 1983 but did it still have the depth from 1983 through 1987? (I know it was much better than 1972 to 1982 - but was it up to full slam speed from 1983 through 1987?).
The only WCT finals that seemed particularly week was 1976 and 1978. It seemed to be have strong fields the rest of the time even right until the end in 1989.
Regarding the 1976 WCT Finals. I know the Pepsi Grand Slam organizers for their tournament in early 1977 regarded the WCT finals as one of the majors they used to select participants for their event. It was rated by them before the Masters. The Philadelphia event doesn't get a mention.