How Hard Is It To Win The Grand Slam in Golf?
You might think that with all the golf legends out there, there would be a decent list of winners of golf’s coveted Grand Slam achievement. In the men’s category, there’s only been one. Ever. For the women’s Grand Slam, no one.
This puts things in perspective how tough this is to achieve. For this Grand Slam title, a set of 4 tournaments all have to be won in the same calendar year. Kinda like winning a top marathon 4 years in a row. Most of us can’t even run one of those!
Many of the golf greats have accumulated all 4 majors, but not in the same calendar year. Still, a huge achievement in itself. Probably easier trying to get Super Bowl tickets on the 50-yard line.
Who Won Golf’s Grand Slam?
Golf legend Bobby Jones is credited as being the only Grand Slam winner. He won the sport’s four biggest tournaments played in 1930 before the Masters was founded. Some quick math tells us that it was some time ago!
If Bobby Jones looks more like a lawyer than a gold pro, it’s because that was his day job, playing golf as a part-time amateur.
Since those days, the purse now hovers around US$10,000,000 – 12,000,000. so we know these pros are giving it their best shot.
There Are 4 Tournaments of Golf’s Grand Slam
The Masters Tournament Starts the first full week of April.
This starts the Grand Slam season and is always held at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club, a private course in the city of Augusta, Georgia.
Golf is known to have very strict protocols and high-brow rules to even step on the green, which in itself is an oxymoron since it’s the norm for a beer cart to roam the course.
What Is The Masters Green Jacket For?
A little fun fact about The Masters is that the famed green jacket that gets awarded to the champion, must return it to the clubhouse one year after his victory.
It still remains his personal property and is stored with other champions’ jackets in a specially designated cloakroom.
In most instances, only a first-time and currently reigning champion may remove his jacket from the club grounds. Or else.
So how do they know the size of the winner and that the jacket will fit? They make it Tiger Woods size. With 5 Masters under his belt and 15 career major championships that’s a recurring size the clubhouse tailor probably has written on a post-it.
The PGA Championship starts in May, on the weekend before Memorial Day.
Privilege comes with this tournament, as PGA champions are automatically invited to play in the other three majors for the next 5 years.
The winners are also eligible for the PGA Championship for life. The course played on vary, but always some exclusive location. The 2020 PGA will be played at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
The trophy for this grand slam tournament is epic. It’s called the Wanamaker Trophy, named after businessman and golfer Rodman Wanamaker.
Standing nearly 2.5 feet tall and weighing in at 27 pounds, it’s not a lightweight. And it’s supposed to be returned every year.
The trophy was lost briefly, for a few years until it showed up in 1930 in the cellar of L.A. Young and Company, a company that by coincidence, happened to make golf clubs for the man responsible for losing it. Hmm…
The U.S. Open Mid-June, scheduled so that the final round is played on the third Sunday.
The U.S. Open is open to any professional, or to any amateur with a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4. The tournament is staged at a variety of courses, set up in such a way that scoring is very difficult, with a premium placed on accurate driving.
This year, U.S. Open awarded a US$12.5 million purse, the largest of all 4 major championships. One thing these majors all seem to have in common is a colorful trophy history.
The original U.S. Open Championship trophy was destroyed in 1946. Lloyd Mangrum, the winner of that year’s U.S. Open, took the trophy home to show off in the clubhouse of his home course, Chicago-area Tam O’Shanter.
The clubhouse burned to the ground and the 51-year-old trophy with it. That must have been quite the celebration!
The Open Starts the day before the third Friday in July.
Founded in 1860, The Open Championship, often referred to as The Open or the British Open, is the oldest and one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world. It is called the Open, because it is in theory “open” to all but you still need to be invited and up to par.
The Open trophy is the Claret Jug, which has been presented to the champion since 1873. Before that, the winner received the Challenge Belt.
This was a wide, red Moroccan leather belt decorated with a large silver buckle. It was also adorned with a golfing scene and additional medallions denoting the winners and their scores.
That look would probably only work on a Kardashian – or as Tom Morris is shown here, winning 3 consecutive Open Championships.
Indicative of medieval pageantry, we’re guessing this was nixed and replaced with the silver jug due to the inconvenience of not being able to reach your drink at the clubhouse bar. Pure speculation of course.
The Open is usually played in a rotation with three Scottish and two English courses hosting in a five-year period with St. Andrews hosting about every five years. Northern Ireland returned to the rotation this year.