Why majors define a player's stature
Sitting listening to the statesmanlike tones of Greg Norman ahead of the Masters it was hard to believe he's only won two majors in his illustrious career.
The Australian occupies an elevated place in the game that seems at odds with the number of the biggies he has managed to win.
Norman's major haul (two Opens) is the same as Lee Janzen's. He has won fewer than Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els.
But he was so dominant elsewhere and came so close in so many majors only Tiger Woods has spent more time as a world number one.
This had me wondering whether we invest too much credence in the majors? Do they provide the ultimate barometer by which we should rate a player?
Of course there has to be room for shades here - this is not a black and white issue.
Has Paul Lawrie had a more successful career than Colin Montgomerie by virtue of his 1999 Open victory? Monty's major cupboard is bare but he is Britain's most prolific winner on the European tour with 31 titles.
Clearly not, but Lawrie has a trophy on his mantelpiece that his fellow Scot would dearly love to own.
In many respects Norman is defined by his near misses. "Of course I would have loved to have won the golf tournament," Norman says of the Masters.
"I didn't win but my name seems to be spoken about a lot of times when the Masters comes up, which is a good thing as much as a bad thing sometimes."
And the Great White Shark offers a fascinating take on how he dealt with blowing his six stroke lead over Nick Faldo in 1996.
"No one expected me to come in here," Norman said pointing to the interview room. "I think I took it the way I'm supposed to. It was the game of golf.
"It wasn't a great experience but you had to face the music and do what you had to do. It taught me a lot and taught a lot of players a lot about how you conduct yourself."
Norman gave one of the great press conferences after what could have been construed as a humiliating defeat at Faldo's hands.
"It's how you conduct yourself with a defeat is what makes you inside. I felt pretty darned good about myself when I left the press room. I felt like I won the golf tournament," Norman added.
Of course he didn't, but that wasn't the point. And it's one of the reasons why the 54- year-old occupies his the place he does in the game's history.
So there are other ways of measuring a player's stature. But ultimately it is the tournaments that they win that determine their place in history and those events have to be the majors.
It's why Jack Nicklaus and his 18 victories sets the target for Tiger Woods to shoot at - it's the main reason why he lets his clubs do the talking.
Not wanting to reopen the arguments put in the thread that followed yesterday's blog - but I'd like to point out that Woods is perfectly entitled to take the limited line that he does in the media centre.
Equally, it is a shame that he doesn't feel able to reveal the full extent of his wit during what amounts to the only occasions we are able to hear from arguably the world's greatest sportsman.
Anyway, I digress. Where Woods is ultimately absolutely right is in his desire to win majors and to be defined by those major victories.
And the major season is about to start. This is the moment that each and every one of the contenders here has been working towards since their invitation to play at Augusta slipped through their letter box.
They all know the rules. Win the Masters, the US Open, the Open or US PGA and you automatically elevate yourself.
If you don't you need to do pretty special stuff elsewhere - which is what Norman and Montgomerie have done.
But would they trade handfuls of victories elsewhere for individual major wins? Bet your life they would.