The 2009 PGA Grand Slam of Golf
Four worthy champions. One world-class tournament
By David LaHuta
Call it the year of the upset. When Angel Cabrera grabbed the Masters green jacket by winning his second playoff hole at Augusta National in April, the Argentine became the first of four unlikely champions to be invited to the 2009 PGA Grand Slam of Golf—by far the PGA’s most exclusive tournament, this year held at Port Royal for the first time in its storied thirty-year history. In June, 29-year-old Lucas Glover charged past Phil Mickelson to win a soggy U.S. Open by two strokes, earning him his first career major at Bethpage Black. One month later Stewart Cink continued the trend at Turnberry, holding off veteran Tom Watson to win the British Open’s coveted Claret Jug, his first major win in his fiftieth attempt. And in August, virtual unknown Y.E. Yang became the first Asian-born golfer to win a major tournament when he beat the number one player in the world—none other than Tiger Woods—to win the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National. Unlikely though it seemed the Grand Slam scorecard was set: Cabrera, Glover, Cink, and Yang—four worthy champions battling it out on Bermuda’s finest public golf course.
Early predictions had Cabrera winning the trophy. After all, the Masters champion won the Grand Slam in 2007, a spot he earned by winning that year’s U.S. Open. With two majors under his belt plus a win at the Grand Slam just two years earlier, Cabrera was the player to beat. Unfortunately for the golfer affectionately known as El Pato, Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink had other ideas in mind. After round one Glover fired a course record 65, hitting six birdies and an eagle to finish six under par. And despite poor putting on the back nine Cink shot an impressive 67, just two strokes off the lead after the first day of play. With four bogeys on the back nine, Cabrera was five shots behind Glover with Yang struggling mightily after 18—still feeling the effects of a long flight from South Korea, the PGA champ shot a 71 for an even par.
Day two brought cloudy skies, strong winds and a focused U.S. Open champion. “I always play my best golf when I’m relaxed,” Glover would later say, and on the second round of play relaxed he was. Even after Cink briefly took the lead—opening with two birdies then shooting another birdie on the fifth—Glover remained cool. With both golfers tied for the lead and nine holes left to play, Glover ran away with the tournament draining four birdies on the back nine as Cink melted down, shooting three bogeys plus a double bogey on the 15th.
“I had it going really well, and then I just…I don’t know, the wheels kind of fell off out there,” Cink said. “And then the bogey I made on twelve, really, I just felt the momentum just sort of dissipated completely.”
Glover solidified his Grand Slam dominance by shooting a 66 for the day, five strokes in front of runner-up Cabrera, who pulled ahead of Cink by one stroke with a masterful 66 of his own on day two. Yang would finish last with a disappointing one under par—Port Royal proving to be a worthy challenge for the PGA champion—but the day belonged to Lucas Glover. Finishing at an astonishing 11-under 131, Glover took home the Grand Slam trophy, the pink jacket and $600,000, making his total for the year just over $4 million.
“All four of us came here wanting to win the Grand Slam,” said the unlikely champion of champions, “and I’m very honored and very happy that it was me.”