Now that Inbee Park has secured her place in the record books alongside Babe Zaharias by becoming just the second LPGA Tour golfer to win the first three major championships in a season, all eyes turn to next month’s Women’s British Open. At St. Andrews starting August 1, the hottest golfer on the planet will go for an unprecedented fourth major in a row.
In any other year, the 24-year-old South Korean would sew up the traditionally four-major Grand Slam with a win at the British, but this, unfortunately for her, is not any other year. In 2013, for the first time, the golfer her peers call “Win-bee” would have to earn five majors to qualify as a Grand Slam winner (what a commenter on GolfChannel.com, “ChristopherCDoll,” cleverly tabbed the “Inside the Park” Grand Slam; sure wish we had come up with that).
“It wasn’t a major, but I won Evian [last year],” Park told reporters Sunday night at Sebonack Golf Club after capturing the U.S. Women’s Open by four shots over I.K. Kim. “It would be great if I could win five, but I still think four means a grand slam. Four out of five is very big.”
While any ballplayer would happily go four for five, Park must bat a perfect 1.000 to claim the elusive and virtually unheard-of Grand Slam. A bridge term referring to a player scarfing up all tricks and adapted to golf when Bobby Jones won the four most prestigious events of his day in 1930, the Grand Slam requires a clean sweep, golf historian Martin Davis told Golfweek’s Beth Ann Baldry.
“It doesn’t refer to four,” Davis said. “It refers to running the table.”
Despite winning all three majors of her era, Zaharias received no credit for accomplishing the slam.
Park, fairly or not, could win on The Old Course and come up short at the new fifth major, the Evian Championship, in September, and fall victim to the technical definition of a slam.
While her fans may rail at the fates should Park reel off four straight and lose in the fifth, the golfer herself was not quite ready to consider what it would mean to rewrite history with a win in Scotland and a falter in France.
“Well, I’ve just done three majors in a row now. I think it’s too early to think about the next one. I think I really want to enjoy the moment as it is in the moment,” said Park.
“One of my goals for my career was the career grand slam, not the grand slam, but I think career grand slam is good enough for me,” she added. “I mean, I haven’t done that yet. It would mean so much if I could do the grand slam….I’m just glad that I can give it a try at St. Andrews. That’s going to be a great experience.”