Women’s British Open: Why Inbee deserves more recognition
On the following morning after Inbee Park secured her third consecutive major of the season courtesy of a four shot victory at the US Open, the BBC golf page led with a story about Paul Casey’s win in the Irish Open at Carlton House.
On that occasion, Inbee was relegated to a slot on the top right hand side of the golf section, and barely appeared on the sport homepage despite an unprecedented third consecutive major victory.
Not that I’m suggesting that the BBC’s golf coverage is in any way bad, or that Casey’s first tour win in over two years was not newsworthy, but it does illustrate the current balance of power across the sport in general.
Not since the famous Tiger-slam in 2000 has any golfer, male or female, won three consecutive major titles.
Should Inbee secure the Ricoh Women’s British Open at St Andrews this weekend, she would become the first player in history to win four majors in a single year. Although Tiger held all four majors at once following his victory in the 2001 Masters, his failure to win the tournament the year before prevented him from completing a millennium clean sweep.
Perhaps if Inbee does get her fourth consecutive major win, we will start comparing achievements in the men’s game to what the South Korean has achieved this year Woods was an unbeatable force at that time. He would pitch up to every major as the automatic favourite and would, almost without exception, compete in every tournament that he played in. While the state of the men’s game lacks that kind of presence at the moment, Inbee is dominating the women’s game in a Tiger-like fashion and will head into this week’s tournament as the clear outright favourite.
The slightly cruel twist of fate is that up until this year – a victory for Inbee at the Home of Golf would have secured the elusive grand slam, but the powers at the top of the game decided to grant the Evian Masters major status from this season, meaning that even if Inbee does win at St Andrews, we will have to wait until September to see if she can secure a clean sweep.
Should the win come at St Andrews, I sincerely hope that Inbee gets the recognition and coverage that she deserves. Whatever happens this week, she is a once in a generation golfer and golf fans of both genders should enjoy watching a master of the game in action.
Who knows, perhaps if Inbee does get her fourth consecutive major win, we will start comparing achievements in the men’s game to what the South Korean has achieved this year. There’s a thought.