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.

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