It is only fitting that St. Andrews, the grand church of golf, should be the venue for the Women’s British Open this week, an event at which Inbee Park will try to make history by winning her fourth major of 2013.
Only two players in the history of golf have owned four consecutive majors, and only one has won all four in the same calendar year, which is an indication of the task that lies ahead for South Korea's Park.
Woods won the U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship in 2000, which he followed by winning the 2001 Masters. This is not considered a true Grand Slam and instead has been dubbed the “Tiger Slam.”
Bobby Jones won the four major championships that were around in 1930: the U.S. Open and the British Open for professionals and the British Amateur Championship and the U.S. Amateur.
The golf media is now struggling with what to call Park’s accomplishment should she win the Women’s British Open, since the LPGA Tour returns to Europe in September for the Evian Championship, which has been designated the fifth major.
If Park wins at St. Andrews and again at the Evian Championship, would that deserve the title “Penta Slam?”
One of the greatest athletes of all time, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, won all three majors on the LPGA Tour in 1950: the Western Open, the U.S. Women’s Open and the Titleholder’s Championship
Park has already tied Zaharias, and has secured a further three LPGA titles this season to go with eight top-10 finishes. She currently tops the LPGA money list with $2.1 million and leads American Stacy Lewis by more than $1.2 million.
Park also has a commanding 400-point lead at the top of the Rolex Rankings.
The pressure and media attention have been mounting for Park ever since she won the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack GC on June 30.
Although Park appears to embrace the media buzz, she only tied for 14th at the Manulife Classic and tied for 33rd at the Marathon Classic following her U.S. Women’s Open win.
Park is at the top of the women’s game right now, but she may learn a lesson from the experience of Yani Tseng, who won five majors in a three-year span and was the leading lady of golf for a time.
But Taiwan's Tseng tired of the constant demands. The journey to reach the top spot in golf is difficult, but the pressure to maintain the top spot is even more daunting.
All eyes are on Park this week as she looks to continue playing with the calm confidence we have witnessed at the first three majors.
But will St. Andrews be the site of more history and allow Park to win her fourth major title of 2013?