Friday, July 5

FOUR Is Right Number for Grand Slam

Inbee Park (Allison)
A GRAND SLAM IN BASEBALL has always been a bases-clearing home run. That is, driving in FOUR runs. A "Grand Slam" in golf has always been winning FOUR major championships.

In the days of Bobby Jones, those cherished four were the two Amateurs (United States and British) and the two Opens (United States and British). Jones won all four in 1930, and sometime after that the term "Grand Slam" was born.

The Grand Slam resurfaced after Arnold Palmer won the Masters and U.S. Open in 1960. Palmer wondered aloud if winning the British Open and PGA Championship would be considered a modern "Grand Slam," and the press ran with it. That's where we are today. Everyone accepts it.

Which brings us to the women's game.

The LPGA decided to make the Evian Championship, an LPGA event since 2000, a major beginning this year. Now there are five women's majors: the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Wegmans LPGA Championship, U.S. Women's Open, Ricoh Women's British Open and the Evian Championship.

That's one too many, in my opinion, especially with Inbee Park chasing the slam. In a historic season, Park won her third consecutive major last weekend.

ESPN.com's Bob Harig recently addressed the dilemma:
The Old Course would seem the perfect place for the pursuit of such history. So much of it has occurred there already. And so rarely has even a glimmer of hope existed in terms of the Grand Slam. 
The LPGA's muddled history of major championships makes putting it into context all the more difficult. Over the years, the tournaments deemed majors have changed. And it gets worse this year as the Evian Championship in France has been added as a fifth major. 
That appears an unfortunate decision now, one borne out of economics. To retain a valued sponsor and a big purse, the LPGA decreed a tournament with a modicum of history would suddenly be ordained a major -- not replacing a tournament but adding it to the existing roster. A shame, really, because majors typically take time to evolve. 
So does Park get credit for a Grand Slam if she wins the Women's British Open but not the Evian? There will surely be debate about that, just as there has been conjecture over the evolution of the Grand Slam. (It is interesting to note that Park won the Evian last year, when it was not considered a major.)
I'm sorry, but I can't accept the idea of winning FIVE, not four, but FIVE majors to complete a Grand Slam. It's hard enough to win four. The four have history.

What if the men suddenly added the Tour Championship as a fifth major? It would be ludicrous, right?

Inbee, if you win the British, I'm calling it a Grand Slam. As a major and as a tournament needed to complete the Grand Slam, the Evian doesn't hold water.

1 comment :

Brian Kuehn said...

Agree with you 100%