In 2002, Tiger Woods went into the Open Championship with his eyes set squarely on his third-consecutive major championship. He had already completed the “Tiger Slam” the year before, but his wins at Augusta and Bethpage Black gave him a legitimate chance at the first Grand Slam since Bobby Jones in 1930. As we all remember, a crazy storm blew through Muirfield that year, sending Woods’s hopes for the Slam off the tracks.
This year, just across the Firth of Forth at St. Andrews‘s famed Old Course, the same may be happening for LPGA star Inbee Park.
Park, who hasn’t finished outside the top 10 in a major championship since last year’s Kraft Nabisco Championship, struggled with the wind on the Old Course. After firing a one-over round of 73, Park has fallen eight shots behind leader Na Yeon Choi and is going to have her work cut out for her if her bid for the women’s Grand Slam is going to come to fruition.
As we often see in the Open Championship, conditions at St. Andrews were much more favorable in the morning, before the notorious British winds started to blow harder. Park didn’t blame all her troubles on the weather, but it’s impossible to ignore the part it played.
“A little bit of everything wasn’t working well out there today,” Park said via USA Today. “I don’t feel like I played horrible today. A little bit unlucky with the draw, not playing in the morning when it’s lovely. But that’s the way it is.”
I readily admit that I don’t follow the LPGA Tour on a weekly basis, but regardless of what happens this weekend for Park, three-straight majors is an accomplishment that should be celebrated. Whether it’s on the men’s or women’s tour, fields in major championships are so tight that it takes a level of talent and determination you don’t just see any week.
With the addition of the Evian Championship (formerly the Evian Masters) as a fifth major, even if Park doesn’t win this week at the Old Course, she’ll still have a shot at four in one year. It’s not a Grand Slam, but it would certainly be a historic achievement.
There’s still a lot of golf left to be played this weekend, so its hard to count Park out completely, but it looks like, for now at least, history may have to wait.