The 2015 LPGA British Open has been at the center of golf history in the making more than once since it was first introduced as an LPGA event in 1994. This year, like so many before it, was filled with career ups and downs for many players, but no one saw an up as big as Inbee Park.
The 27-year-old golfer returned to the Open after her 2013 Career Grand Slam hopes were dashed by the harsh landscape of St. Andrews. Her loss at the Open in 2013 crushed LPGA fans, and Inbee herself was quoted on ESPN.com as saying, “I’ve done something amazing this season, I won three straight majors. I don’t know if I can do that again.” That, of course, was before she rose through the ranks to earn the number one spot in women’s golf.
This year, she was ready for the links at Trump Turnberry when the British Open came back around. Calm and cool, Inbee’s confidence didn’t waver as the pressure rose — her metronomic putts would have never belied the fact that she was just a few strokes away from making history by being only the seventh woman in LPGA history to achieve a Career Grand Slam.
In her last 12 holes, Inbee made five birdies and an eagle as she fought her way to a seven-under par, three strokes ahead of the number two player of the day, Ko Jin-young. There were plenty of touch and go holes, with the two trading places on the leaderboard until the 16th hole, where Ko double-bogied her way into history as the woman who came in second on the day Inbee Park made history.
Grand Slam Controversy
Although Inbee’s achievement was a great one, many nay-sayers are calling it an incomplete victory. They say that since the LPGA has added another major, the Evian Championship, Inbee should have to win that event as well to claim her accolade. The inconvenient truth is that Inbee took the Evian Championship before it became a Major in 2013.
In response to the hubbub, the LPGA issued a clear statement saying that accomplishing a Grand Slam still means winning exactly four different Majors. The addition of Evian wasn’t to create an extra hurdle, it was intended to give LPGA pros more opportunities to achieve greatness in their sport.
Despite this minor backlash, most of the players in the LPGA recognize Inbee’s massive accomplishment. She joins Annika Sorenstam, Pat Bradley, Juli Inkster, Louise Suggs, Mickey Wright and Karrie Webb as a giant in her game with her recent Career Grand Slam.