St. Andrews a magical site
I am sitting here 24 hours after Inbee Park claimed her third straight major of the LPGA's 2013 season, and I am struck by the great hope that parallels will collide a month from now at St. Andrews as the greatest in the women's game gather at the home of golf for the season's fourth major.
You may ask what parallels exist, and I offer you these eerie similarities, not only between Bobby Jones, the last golfer to complete the Grand Slam, but also Tiger Woods, Merion and how the common denominator is St. Andrews.
Ponder this for a moment:
In 1930, the British Amateur was held at St. Andrews, where Bobby Jones would go on to capture the first leg of his Grand Slam. While not crucial to the eeriness of this argument but worth noting, Jones would go on to complete the slam at Merion, where we just three weeks ago watched the U.S. Open be contested.
Inbee and Tiger Woods are both former USGA junior champions, Tiger winning three consecutive championships in 1991-1993, while Inbee won hers in 2002. The Tiger Slam, in which he held all of golf's major championship trophies from June 2000 to April 2001, had its second leg completed at St. Andrews.
So much of the talk leading into the U.S. Women's Open last week was of Inbee's chance to do what no other woman had done since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1950 -- win the first three majors of a season. With that now in the rear-view mirror, we turn to all of golf history, not just women's history, to put Inbee's last 83 magical days into perspective. Will there be a ticker-tape parade in downtown Seoul much the same as there was for Jones in New York after he won the final leg of his slam?
As the Women's British Open returns to St. Andrews for the first time since 2007, keep in mind that Inbee had reasonable success there the first time around with a tie for 11th place as a 19-year-old. Since that time she has won four major championships and comes in playing, arguably, the best golf of anyone in the game today. She won every time she teed it up in the month of June and will play two more events before she arrives at St. Andrews, possibly on history's doorstep.
Bobby Jones once famously said of championship golf, "It is something like a cage. First you are expected to get into it, and then you are expected to stay there. But of course, nobody can stay there."
Without a doubt, Inbee Park is in that cage right now, and I consider myself to be darn fortunate to be able to announce all four days of the Women's British Open on ESPN. We'll all be able to watch a run at history at St. Andrews, and let's hope Inbee stays in the cage for just 72 more holes of championship golf.