Sports Outside the Beltway

Juggernaut- Inbee Park wins the US Open

The #1 ranked player in the world did it again. With a four-shot lead going into the round, Inbee Park cruised to a four-shot win. Park has won the last three tournaments, the last three LPGA major championships, and every LPGA major played in 2013.

Park opened the final round with her closest challenger being In-Kyung Kim. Inky, my nickname for In-Kyung, was one of my picks for this week and one of my favorite players. I was pulling for her but Inky didn’t get closer than three shots to Inbee. No other golfer contended and Park won without much of a struggle.

Lets put Park’s win in perspective.

She has joined Se Ri Pak as the only South Korean golfer to win three different LPGA major championships. Pak has won five majors in her career. Park has four triumphs. Her first was the 2008 US Open.

Park has won the last three LPGA tournaments played. She has won ALL three LPGA major championships this year. The last time a LPGA golfer won three majors in one year was Pat Bradley in 1986. Mickey Wright also won three major championships in 1961.

The only other golfer besides Park to win the first three major championships in a year was Babe Didrickson Zaharias in 1950! 1950 was the LPGA Tour’s first ever season.

Tiger Woods is the last golfer to win three majors in one year. He did it in 2000. Woods won four consecutive majors. The last three of 2000 and the 2001 Masters. It was titled the ‘Tiger Slam’.

In 1961 and 1962, Mickey Wright won four straight majors but I might be about the only person to note it in recent memory. She won the last two majors of 1961 and the first two of 1962.

Ben Hogan won three majors in 1953.

Bobby Jones remains the only golfer to complete a Grand Slam. He did it in 1930. Note- Hogan won all three major championships he played in that year. The British Open and PGA Championship at that time were played at almost the same time. Hogan won the British Open but couldn’t compete in the PGA.

Park is one win away– The Women’s British Open which she finished 2nd at in 2012 — from becoming the seventh golfer to win four different LPGA major Championships. The others are- Mickey Wright, Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Juli Inkster, Louise Suggs and Pat Bradley.

Ordinarily a Park British Open triumph won give Park a career Grand Slam, except the LPGA has designated the Evian Masters as a major championship also. Beginning THIS YEAR. So Park would have to win two more majors this year to do a Bobby Jones. Memo to LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan- Do you wish now that the Evian wasn’t made into a major championship?

Inbee Park BTW is the defending Evian Masters champion.

So Park will be going for four majors in one year in a little over a month. It will be played at St. Andrews, the same course Tiger Woods completed a career Grand Slam at back in 2000. A run at golf or any other sports history like this would ordinarily gather lots of media attention but I’ll be surprised if the Women’s British Open gets more than a minor increase in coverage. Golf bloggers who I won’t mention, are paying attention to silly things from golfers with wet pants to a player firing their caddy in the middle of a round. Newspapers will have the story buried on page 8. They can hardly be bothered to write about a LPGA major and I’m not expecting much from them on the WBO ESPN does broadcast the WBO, but I again will be surprised if they do anything extra for this year’s tournament. That Park is South Korean, has something to do with it. The ugly reality is that a good chunk of the media has a bias towards the Asian players. I will however the 4th major being not in the United States will be one reason for the limited coverage though the Men’s British Open rarely has trouble getting talked about. If it was Paula Creamer going for the Slam five weeks from now in say New Jersey, there would be plenty of people writing and talking about it. With Park trying to do it in Scotland, hardly anybody.


It is the second straight major championship triumph for the 24-year-old South Korean.

Thirty-six holes of golf were not enough, but 39 worked out just fine for Inbee Park at Locust Hill Country Club on Sunday.

Park, the world’s top-ranked player, defeated Scotland’s Catriona Matthew in a three-hole playoff Sunday afternoon to win the Wegmans Rochester LPGA Championship, the second major on the LPGA Tour schedule this season.

The playoff was the sixth in the 37-year history of LPGA golf in Rochester and the first since Lorena Ochoa defeated In-Kyung Kim in 2007.

Park, 24, shot a 4-under-par 68 in the third round on Sunday morning but struggled down the stretch in the afternoon to a final-round 75 with bogeys on three of her last five holes (Nos. 14, 16 and 18).

Park and Matthew matched pars on the first two holes of the playoff (Nos. 18 and 10), but Matthew found the right rough off the tee on the third playoff hole while Park hit the fairway and was safely on the green in two shots.

Matthew chipped her fourth shot on and had about 15 feet left for bogey, but Park sank a birdie putt from about 18 feet to seal her third major victory.

Suzann Pettersen of Norway shot the low round of the week, a 65 on Sunday afternoon, to tie for third with Morgan Pressel, the 36-hole leader who began Sunday with a two-shot lead over Park and Chella Choi, at 4-under.

The victory makes Park, a native of Seoul, South Korea, the seventh woman in LPGA history to win the first two majors of the season. She also captured the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April. Asian-born players have won the last nine majors on the LPGA Tour.

- Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Park nearly didn’t win today. Her driving was not very good throughout and she played the 72nd and last hole of regulation terribly. She needed to get up and down from the fringe to make bogey and get in the playoff.

Nevertheless Park came out on top. She now hold three legs of the Women’s Grand Slam. Before this year, she’d be one win away(The Women’s British Open) from a career slam but the LPGA decided to elevate the Evian Masters to major status. So she needs two more wins now.

The way Park is playing right now, I wouldn’t bet against her winning another major this year.


Arizona Diamondbacks draft paralyzed player

His name is Cory Hahn. From AP-

Bypassing conventional wisdom in the draft, the Diamondbacks used the 1,020th overall pick of the draft on Arizona State’s Cory Hahn, an outfielder who was partially paralyzed during a game in 2011.

“It was a very emotional selection for us to make,” Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said on Saturday. “When (scouting director) Ray Montgomery and his staff came up with the idea and presented it to me, it was a no-brainer.”

Hahn was one of the nation’s top prospects in 2010, when he was California’s Mr. Baseball after leading Mater Dei High School to a state title.

He was drafted in the 26th round by San Diego that year, but likely would have gone much higher had he not announced plans to play at Arizona State.

Hahn’s college career lasted three games.

Playing against New Mexico on Feb. 20, 2011, he suffered a spinal injury after sliding head-first on a steal attempt and colliding with Lobos second baseman Kyle Stiner’s knee.

Hahn was taken off on a stretcher and had surgery later that night, but was paralyzed from the mid-chest down after fracturing his C-5 vertebrae. He’s spent the past two years helping Arizona State’s program as a student coach.

The Diamondbacks waited until the 34th round to pick Hahn because he wore No. 34 at ASU.

“It’s not about us. It’s really about Cory and his family,” Hall said. “I was able to spend time with them right after the injury in his hospital room and he’s a wonderful kid. We want to make this permanent. We don’t want this to just be about the selection and him being a draft pick, but about him working in full-time employment with the Diamondbacks and hopefully we’ll make that come to fruition for he and his family here soon.”

A nice gesture by the Diamondbacks. Picks in the 34th round or later seldom develop into star baseball players, Mike Piazza being a notable exception, so no harm was done.


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