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Jordan Spieth: Will He Be Stopped After Masters and U.S. Open Wins?

Kathy BissellCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2015

Jordan Spieth spends time with fans at British Open.
Jordan Spieth spends time with fans at British Open.Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

We know that only six golfers won the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year. One of them is Jordan Spieth.

Ben Hogan did it twice, in 1951 and 1953. But in 1951, Hogan didn't enter the British Open. In 1953, he followed up his first two majors with a third, the British Open. He is still the only person in golf history to have won those three events in the same year.

If you believe many, Spieth has a decent chance to win three in a row, adding the British Open to his Masters and U.S. Open victories. However, many don't know a lot about golf history and may not know the difference between tea time and a tee time.    

Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Craig Wood also won the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year. None were able to carry the momentum of those first two majors to victory at the British Open. Their bids for the Grand Slam ended in Great Britain.

What happened to stop them?

Craig Wood won 21 professional events including two majors, the Masters and the U.S. Open, in 1941. He had the bad fortune to win those two tournaments during World War II, causing the suspension of the British Open. Wood was second at the British Open eight years earlier, losing to Denny Shute at St. Andrews in 1933.

Wood and Greg Norman share the distinction of being the only two golfers who lost the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship in playoffs.

In 1951, when Hogan won both the Masters and the U.S. Open, he did not compete in the British Open. Hogan stopped Hogan. Max Faulkner won the British Open that year, which was played at Royal Portrush.

In 1953, Hogan dominated, winning three in a row. He defeated Ed " Porky" Oliver at the Masters, Sam Snead at the U.S. Open and four golfers including five-time British Open champ Peter Thomson, with his victory at Carnoustie.

Arnold Palmer won the Masters and U.S. Open in 1960. He decided to enter the British Open, which was not a tournament many U.S. players participated in at the time. On the flight over the Atlantic, Palmer asked sportswriter Bob Drum what it would be called if he were to win the British Open and the PGA to back up his first two majors of the year. Drum said it would be the equal of Bobby Jones' Grand Slam. That was the birth of the modern Grand Slam.

Unfortunately, Palmer lost the British Open to Australian Kel Nagle. The next two years, 1961 and 1962, Palmer won the British Open.

Lee Trevino won the 1972 British Open.
Lee Trevino won the 1972 British Open.Uncredited/Associated Press/Associated Press/Associated Press

Jack Nicklaus, for all his titles and major championships, had a chance to go 3-for-3 in Grand Slam majors just one time: 1972.

After beating Bruce Crampton, Bobby Mitchell and Tom Weiskopf at the Masters, Nicklaus topped Crampton at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Then it was on to the British Open at Muirfield where he had won in 1966. Unfortunately, Nicklaus was defeated there by Lee Trevino.

In his illustrious career, Nicklaus had five seasons when he won two majors. He never won three in a season.

Nicklaus won the U.S. Open in 1972.
Nicklaus won the U.S. Open in 1972.Anonymous/Associated Press/Associated Press

Tiger Woods had a similar experience to Jack Nicklaus in 1972 when he came to Muirfield for the British Open in 2002.

After winning the Masters, defeating Retief Goosen by three shots, and the U.S. Open, beating Phil Mickelson by three at Bethpage Black, Woods headed to Scotland for the British Open. There, he caught the worst weather that many competitors had seen in their careers.

At the end of the third round, he signed for an 81. On Sunday, Ernie Els, who admitted he benefited by not having the bad side of the draw based on weather, triumphed.

Now, Spieth is ready to take his shot at history. It's been 62 years since Hogan won three majors in a row. Spieth already defeated Mickelson and Justin Rose at the Masters and Dustin Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen at the U.S. Open. In a pairing that only a wicked villain could create, he plays the first two rounds with Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama.

Spieth's tee time is 9:33 a.m. on Thursday. According to Ducks Unlimited and Sir Nick Faldo in several comments on CBS, the wind picks up when the tide turns. Low tide in St. Andrews is 9:05 a.m. that day, and high tide is 3:16 p.m. You can do your own forecasting at an Accuweather site for St. Andrews.

Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials from the PGA Tour, USGA, R&A or PGA of America. 

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