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Inbee Park is 3/4 of her way to The Real Grand Slam

July 2nd, 2013 · No Comments

O.B. Keeler, Bobby Jones’s close friend and biographer, had a knack for coining phrases and catchy slogans that would glorify Jones’s achievements, but none was more grandiose and false than the Grand Slam. Prior to Jones winning the two Opens and two Amateurs in 1930 there was no such thing.  So Keeler put 2 and 2 together, mixing pro and amateur majors, to come up with the Grand Sham, thus providing a memorable moniker for Jones’s supposed sweep of the majors that year.

Fast forward to 1960 and we have Arnold Palmer and HIS writer pal, Bob Drum, in route to the British Open. While on the plane they hatched a modern day version of the Grand Slam, one that would include the four professional majors. Their Slam has stuck for over 50 years even though no one has won it yet, and likely never will. If wiser heads had had the foresight to conceive of such a thing when the PGA Championship was born in 1916, the real Grand Slam would have been comprised of the two Open, the PGA, and the Western Open (later to be replaced by the Masters). Four pro majors for the best golfers in the world – no mixing of oil and water to fabricate the phony Jones Slam.

The point of all of this is that, even to this day, a Grand Slam is whatever we fans and the media want it to be. Why as recently as 2001 some, including Tiger Woods, felt that he had won the Grand Slam at the 2001 Masters, but it was later revised to the Tiger Slam. As for the ladies version, a rather vocal majority have strongly suggested that the first four majors are plenty. The Evian Championship, the recently coined fifth major, has no more business in the Grand Slam than a prostitute at a President’s Ball.

Let’s assume that the ladies Grand Slam through last season consisted of the Kraft-Nabisco, LPGA Championship, US Women’s Open, and Women’s British Open – all recognized as majors by everyone in golf. Then The Evian was designated a major by Michael “Mr. No-Sense-of-History” Whan. Does that mean, as part of its upgrade, that it automatically becomes a member of the Grand Slam? I don’t think so, and neither do these expert observers:

From Golf Channel:
“If she wins at St. Andrews that is a Grand Slam.”  – Amad Rashad
“If she wins at the Old Course, that is a Grand Slam.” – Matt Ginella
“It (winning the first four) would be a Grand Slam.” – Judy Rankin

Golf.com asked this question to their Golf Confidential panel: If Park gets to four, is that enough for you to call it a Grand Slam?
“Win at St. Andrews and give her the Grand Slam. I don’t think anyone will much care how she fares at the Evian — win or lose.” – Mark Godich
“She wins the British, she has the Grand Slam.”  –  Michael Bamberger
“You can’t just dub something a major. The Evian isn’t a real major and won’t be until it stands the test of time. If Park wins the other four, that’s a slam.” – Gary Van Sickle
“And if she wins the Women’s British Open, I’d consider it winning the Grand Slam. What fifth major? It’s so contrived.” – Stephanie Wei
“If she wins the British Open that’s four in a row, and that’s a Grand Slam. End of story.” – Jeff Ritter

In addition to expert opinion, there are more arguments for excluding The Evian from the party:
It mercifully comes last on the major’s calendar, so it is easy to lop it off. Imagine if Park won the four real majors, but failed to win The Evian and it was second or third on the calendar?
St. Andrews, the home of golf, could be the site of the crowning of not only the British Open champion, but also the winner of the Grand Slam. Anything that takes place at The Evian would be anticlimactic.
The Grand Slam is tough enough to win as it is – there is no need to make it geometrically more difficult by requiring a fifth major.
And speaking of the fifth major, the ladies already have one same-course major, the Kraft Nabisco – so they certainly do no need another.

I am rooting for Inbee Park to win the Women’s British Open, and what my fellow traditionalists consider to be the Grand Slam. I will not be rooting for her to win the supposed Super Slam, which would consist of the four real majors and the phony fifth major. If she won The Evian, it would create an argument in favor of it being a part of the Grand Slam, and a win would be too much of a good thing for Park as it would foster the belief that she faced too little competition.

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