Golf is a sport that has been played competitively since the 1800s, so tens of thousands of professional players have picked up their clubs during that time to try and become one of the world’s best.
And yet, as of June 2023, only five of them have completed the career grand slam: winning The Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship at least once each.
Will a new name be added to the list in 2023?
The next player with a chance to complete the grand slam is the ever-entertaining Phil Mickelson, who only needs to win the U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club to round out his collection. With golf betting odds of 125/1, the veteran is considered an outsider at best compared to market leaders like Scottie Scheffler (15/2), Jon Rahm (8/1) and Rory McIlroy (9/1).
Ironically, McIlroy will have yet another chance to complete the slam at The Masters next April; a tournament which he is often amongst the most popular golf tips for. Will the Irishman finally tame Augusta National in 2024?
Of the current crop of players, only one more individual – Jordan Spieth – has three different majors to his name. He could finish his slam at the PGA Championship in May 2024.
If any of the named trio can add the missing piece of their unique golfing jigsaw, they would join a rather illustrious quintet that can call the honor their own…
Gene Sarazen, a 5ft 5in pocket dynamo, was the first golfer to complete the career grand slam.
He won seven majors in all, opening up his trophy cabinet for the U.S. Open first before embarking on an agonizing 13-year wait before he would complete the set at The Masters in 1935.
A player who opted to through much of his career without a coach, Sarazen effectively invented the interlocking-finger grip that many players have adopted in the decades since his playing days.
Even at the age of 71, Sarazen still had it – he made a famous hole-in-one at the Open Championship at Royal Troon in 1973.
Ben Hogan is another member of the career grand slam club, and some of his achievements are legendary. He didn’t even win his first major until he had turned 34, and only ever travelled to the UK to play the Open Championship once – triumphing on his debut in 1953.
Otherwise, Hogan made pretty rapid progress to completing the slam: only five years separated his victories at the PGA Championship (1946), U.S. Open (1948) and The Masters (1951).
Only one non-American, Gary Player, has completed the career grand slam. The South African completed the set at the age of just 29 – winning all four majors in the space of just six years, from the Open Championship in 1959 to the U.S. Open in 1965.
Who’s the greatest golfer of all time? Jack Nicklaus takes some beating. He won 18 majors – more than anybody else to pick up a club, and what’s more, he effectively completed the career grand slam three times, with at least a trio of victories in each of the sport’s biggest tournaments. Just four years separated his U.S. Open win of 1962 and his slam-completing Open Championship victory in 1966.
Of the modern generation, only Tiger Woods has completed the slam. Less than a year after turning professional in 1996, he won The Masters by a staggering 12 shots, took down the PGA Championship in 1998 and then won the U.S. Open and Open Championship in 2000.
Can McIlroy, Spieth or Mickelson make it the famous five a supreme six in the months ahead?