The good news for LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan is that his sport is dominating the golf conversation, which is rare.
For the last 2 days, it seems like every time Whan turns on TV he is hearing about Inbee Park, and that’s how it should be. When she completed a masterful week of putting and precision at Sebonack Golf Club, the 24-year-old South Korean had won the U.S. Women’s Open for her third straight major this year.
Next up is a chance for Park to do what no golfer has done in the history of the royal and ancient game – win four professional majors in a single season. Adding to the moment is the venue – the Women’s British Open will be at St. Andrews, the home of golf. Any other year, the golf world would be buzzing over the prospect of a Grand Slam.
But not this one. Because for such an historic occasion, there is way too much confusion.
It was Whan who decided for noble reasons in 2010 to elevate The Evian Championship in France to major championship status starting in 2013, giving the LPGA Tour five majors for the first time in its 63-year history. Just his luck, it turned out to be the year one of his players had a shot at the Grand Slam.
“If you would have asked me as a golf nut about five majors, I would have said, ‘It doesn’t feel right to me,’” Whan said. “Then you become commissioner of the LPGA Tour. Do you or don’t you? Your job here is to grow the opportunities for women in the game worldwide.”
Golf always has been about four majors, at least it seems that way.
The spirit of the term Grand Slam is a clean sweep, whether it’s four, five or 13.
“If Inbee wins the British Open and it’s 2011, the media writes a bunch of stories and for the next 7 months, ‘See you guys next season,’” Whan said. “Now if she wins, there will be more attention on The Evian Championship than even Evian could ever have fathomed,” he said. “It could be good or it could be bad.”
At least they’re talking. And for women’s golf, that’s never a bad thing.