(June 30, 2013)-If you are a casual golf fan and don’t know the name Inbee Park- get to know her name. Park picked up her third straight major championship and fourth overall when she won the U.S. Women’s Open this weekend at Sebonak Golf Club in Southampton N.Y.
Park didn’t just win this weekend she dominated a field of the world’s best women’s golfers when she finished at -8, and was one of only three players to post a final score under par. She finished four shots ahead of I.K. Kim who is still looking to redeem the 14-inch putt she missed at the Kraft Nabisco Championship last year. For Kim it was her second runner-up finish at a major championship and the only other player to sniff red numbers was So Yeon Ryu who won the U.S. Open two years ago.
But all eyes were on Park and as they should be. Since climbing the ranks to capture the number one ranking eleven weeks ago Park has been on a torrid winning streak. She now has six wins on the year and her victory this weekend has cemented Park’s place in golf history as only the second woman to win three consecutive majors in a calendar year. Babe Zaharias did it in 1950 when there were only three major championships and no one has done it since.
Now with the RICOH’s Women’s British Open looming just a month away Park has the opportunity to complete not only the career grand slam but also to win four consecutive majors. That is a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by anyone-male or female.
The 24 year-old South Korean native spoke about the prospect of winning all four majors with the media after her round.
“I think one of my goals for ?? 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,” said Park. “I mean, I haven’t done that yet. It would mean so much if I could do the grand slam. But takes so much hard work, and it takes a lot to do. I’m just glad that I can give it a try at St. Andrews. That’s going to be a great experience. Whether I do it or not, I’m just a very lucky person.”
The next part gets a little tricky. If Park is somehow able to win the British Open then in most years that would be enough to achieve the grand slam in golf. But this year the LPGA has added on a fifth major, the Evian Championship. Ironically a tournament that Park won last year.
Park however doesn’t seem ready to look ahead quite yet.
“I’ve just done three majors in a row now,” said Park. “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. I mean, grand slam is very big. I probably wouldn’t get this kind of opportunity ever again. I know this year is a good opportunity for me.”
Park is correct in that this is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity. Annika Sorenstam one of the best golfers in LPGA history had a chance in 2005 but was unable to pull off a win that year for her third consecutive major at the U.S. Open. Mickey Wright and Pat Bradley are the only other players to notch three majors in one season but they couldn’t do it consecutively. To win four majors consecutively in one year simply hasn’t been done before.
If Park can win next month at St. Andrews, site of the Women’s British Open then the debate will get interesting as to whether or not that is enough for the grand slam in a year that now holds five majors. But first things first-Park has to win. And hopefully more and more people are starting to take notice.