Originally created 07/30/00

Takes the `grand' out of grand slam



Bobby Jones, by all accounts, was perhaps the most polite competitor in all of sport. In his later years, however, there was one thing, of which I have read, that would not fail to arouse his ire. This would occur when someone would misuse the term "grand slam."

The concept of the grand slam, in relation to the game of golf, was a creation of the media of Jones' day. The media, led by O.B. Keeler, defined the grand slam as the winning of all four of golf's major championships in one year. The word "grand" in the term "grand slam" refers to accomplishing all four of these victories in the same year.

It is therefore a complete misuse of the term to refer to someone having completed the grand slam if they have merely won all four major championships over a period of several years.

Even the term "career grand slam" is flawed in as much as the word "grand" references the feat being accomplished in a single year. This is known as a contradiction in terms.

The elite group of golfers who have won all four major championships over the course of their careers includes: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. These five have won what is correctly termed "the slam." Only one golfer has won the grand slam and that is none other than Mr. Jones.

Today's sports media need to get this distinction straight. To do otherwise can be seen as an effort to diminish the magnitude of Mr. Jones' unique accomplishment.

Ross Snellings, Augusta