Punch Shot: Does British win give Park Grand Slam?

By Rex HoggardJuly 30, 2013, 7:35 pm

All eyes are on Inbee Park this week as she tries to win her fourth consecutive major at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. But what exactly is on the line at the Old Course in St. Andrews? The traditional Grand Slam? Or would she need to also capture the LPGA’s fifth major, the Evian Masters in September, to complete some kind of Super Slam?

We asked our panel of writers: If Park wins this week, would you consider it the Grand Slam?


By RYAN LAVNER

Yes.

Forget what the schedule says. The Evian Masters doesn’t deserve to be a major, not yet anyway, and certainly not just because the LPGA wanted to appease a deep-pocketed sponsor and pushed for a status change. Major status is earned, not bought. The Big 4 in women’s golf are the Kraft, the LPGA, the Women’s Open and the Women’s British, for now and the foreseeable future. Winning all five is a bonus, a Super Slam. Requiring a clean sweep now is a disservice to Park, and the game in general. In Scotland she is attempting to become the first player, male or female, to win four professional majors in a calendar year. Make no mistake: that’s the Grand Slam.


By REX HOGGARD

Let it be told in 50-point bold type, if Inbee Park wins this week’s Women’s British Open it will be the Grand Slam, regardless of what the historians and housekeepers may claim.

With respect to the Evian, a first-year member of the LPGA’s major party, the symmetry of the grand four far outweighs the economic urgency of the one, to pencil whip history would be a disservice to Park and everyone who came before her with the singular notion of winning the single-season Grand Slam.

The LPGA can call it whatever they wish if Park goes on to win the Evian (may we suggest the Super Slam, or maybe the Park Slam), just don’t muddy the major waters with small print or an asterisk.

To put Park’s accomplishment in context, Tiger Woods – the best player of this generation and perhaps all time – has never won the first three legs of the single-season Grand Slam and Phil Mickelson is still a U.S. Open title away from the career Grand Slam ... at 43.

When Bobby Jones collected the single-season slam in 1930 he won the U.S. and British opens and U.S. Amateur and British Amateur championships, there was no footnote on that accomplishment pointing out the PGA Championship, which would later join the major rotation, had been played since 1916.

Similarly, if Park makes history this week at St. Andrews it will be the Grand Slam. Let the historians figure out what to do with the Evian.


By RANDALL MELL

If Inbee Park wins the Ricoh Women’s British Open this week, it will be the grandest feat in the history of professional golf, but it won’t be a slam, at least not a Grand Slam.

I’m with the folks who play bridge, the card game from which the term Grand Slam was borrowed. You've got to sweep all the points in the card game to win the Grand Slam. You've got to sweep all the majors in a single season to win the Grand Slam in golf.

Now, it’s unfortunate, even aggravating, that Park doesn’t arrive at St. Andrews with everything on the line in a Grand Slam bid. It’s such a terrific story, and the drama would be heightened knowing this is it, that a victory makes her the first man or woman to win professional golf's Grand Slam. However, there’s no ignoring the LPGA declaring the Evian Masters will serve as the fifth major this year. While I think the more big events the LPGA has the better, the timing’s unfortunate. It’s the LPGA’s sour luck that a Grand Slam bid would arrive the first year it goes to five majors.

Then again, maybe it’s just the opposite. Maybe it's grand luck. If Park wins the Women’s British Open and next month’s Evian Masters, it’s over-the-top good luck for women’s golf. Then it’s perfect timing. It's not only grand, it's a Grand Slam.


By JASON SOBEL

Poor Inbee Park. Just her luck: On the year when she claims the first three major titles, the LPGA added a fifth one. That’s like knocking out Mike Tyson in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, only to find out you’ve then gotta beat Muhammad Ali or someone like that.

It’s not Park’s fault, but rules are rules. The same executives who smack title sponsorships on major championships and make players compete in pro-ams before they start decided that the Champions Tour must have it right, since they followed suit by adding another major.

It was a bad decision in the first place, but now looks even worse, as debate will continue over whether the first four alone would give Park the Grand Slam title.

I say no. The term Grand Slam in baseball means four, but in golf it includes all major championships. The LPGA has five of ‘em now, so despite commissioner Mike Whan’s plea that Park will hold the Grand Slam with just the first four, he’s made this bed and now he’s got to lie in it. If you want to earn that title, you’ve got to win ‘em all.

Of course, there is a silver lining for Park. If she wins the first four, but fails to claim the Evian Masters, she’ll still hold four majors in one year. It won’t be a Grand Slam, but it’s still pretty damn good.

Getty Images

Mullinax fires course-record 62 at Valero

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 9:01 pm

Trey Mullinax surged into contention during the third round of the Valero Texas Open, shooting a 10-under 62 that set a new course record on the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio.

Mullinax started the day seven shots off the pace, but by the time he completed his round he had taken a one-shot lead with the overnight leaders still on the course. The former Alabama standout caught fire on the back nine, shooting a 7-under 29 despite a bogey after chip-ins for eagle on No. 14 and birdie on No. 16 to go along with an eagle on the home hole.

"It's probably one of the best rounds I've ever had," Mullinax told reporters. "To go out there and shoot 62 on a hard golf course is really good."

Mullinax appeared headed for a missed cut after a 74 in the opening round, but he bounced back with a second-round 68 to earn a weekend tee time and his third-round score broke the previous course record of 63 held by multiple players.

The 25-year-old finished 137th in FedExCup points last season, leaving him with only conditional status this season. His lone top-10 finish of the year came at the Valspar Championship, where he survived a Monday qualifier and went on to tie for eighth, and this marks only his third start since the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

"Obviously I would like to play a little more, but the tournaments I get in, I'm really excited about playing golf," Mullinax said. "I've loved every start I've gotten, and I'm very thankful to be in the position I'm in."

Mullinax holed a putt to clinch a national title for the Crimson Tide in 2014, and he finished T-9 at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills. But success has been fleeting among the professional ranks, meaning Sunday's opportunity to notch a career-best finish or breakthrough victory is nothing short of enticing.

"I'm sure you'll be nervous," Mullinax said. "To have a chance to win or just go play good golf is what I came here for, so that's what I'm going to do."

Getty Images

Quiros maintains one-shot lead through 54 in Morocco

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 7:46 pm

RABAT, Morocco - A birdie on the last hole gave Alvaro Quiros a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Trophee Hassan II.

Quiros' birdie on No. 18 allowed the Spanish golfer to sign for an even-par 72 on Saturday to stay at 7-under par overall and clear of four players in second place.

South African pair Erik van Rooyen and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, France's Alexander Levy, and Finland's Mikko Ilonen were just a shot behind at 6 under heading into the final day at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat.

Quiros is a seven-time winner on the European Tour, but went six years without a victory until last year with his triumph at the Rocco Forte Open in Italy.


Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II


He's seeking a wire-to-wire victory in Morocco after sharing the first-round lead with Bradley Dredge before taking it outright on Day 2.

Quiros had an on-off day in the third round - he said it was ''suddenly great shot, suddenly not so good'' - and carded four birdies and four bogeys to come out even and still hold on to his lead.

Van Rooyen shot 71, Bezuidenhout 68, Levy a 69, and Ilonen the best round of the week so far with his 6-under 66.

Ilonen had seven birdies and just a single bogey - on his first hole - to leap 23 places up the leaderboard and into contention for a first tour title since 2014 when he won the World Match Play Championship.

Getty Images

M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

Marina Alex was second after a 68.


Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

Getty Images

Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.