Career Grand Slam winners: The Famous Five

Rory McIlroy is attempting to add his name to this list at the Masters

 

Gene Sarazen Sarazen’s career was in wind-down mode when the Masters tournament came into being. He’d won six Majors heading into the 1935 US Masters, only the second staging of the tournament. Sarazen trailed Craig Wood by three playing the Par 5 15th only to hole out with a 235-yard second shot for an albatross, what became known as the “shot heard around the world.” He tied Wood and won a 36-hole playoff. The career Grand Slam didn’t exist at the time. Sarazen earned that distinction retrospectively.

Ben Hogan The man known alternatively as “The Hawk” or “The Wee Ice Mon” made only one appearance in the British Open, but he made it count. His victory in the 1953 Open at Carnoustie was his third Major success of that year – following on from his Masters and US Open wins – and marked the completion of his career Grand Slam. He had arrived in Scotland two weeks early to practise with the smaller “British” ball and also devised a strategy to play the Par 5 sixth hole, which to this day is remembered as “Hogan’s Alley.”

Gary Player The only non-American to have achieved the feat, Player completed the final leg in taking the 1965 US Open at Bellerive. Player had to work hard for his place in history: the so-called “Black Knight” defeated Australian Kel Nagle in an 18-hole playoff, which came about after the South African lost a three-stroke lead with three holes to play in regulation. Player earned $26,000 for his win, but kept only $1,000 and donated the rest towards promoting junior golf.

Jack Nicklaus Within four years of turning professional, Nicklaus had completed his career Grand Slam. In winning the 1966 British Open at Muirfield, “The Golden Bear” – who’d won the US Open in his rookie season in 1962 and added the Masters and US PGA titles in 1963 – claimed the title by one stroke from Dave Thomas and Doug Sanders. Nicklaus, with 18 Majors, remains the all-time record holder and has won each Major at least three times.

Tiger Woods The Old Course had never seen his like. Woods – who arrived at St Andrews on the back of an awe-inspiring win in the US Open at Pebble Beach – claimed his first Claret Jug in the 2000 British Open. Woods did not find a single bunker in four rounds, all of them in the 60s, as he decimated the field. In the end, he won by eight shots from Ernie Els and Thomas Bjorn to complete his career Grand Slam.

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