Rory McIlroy will once again attempt to complete a career Grand Slam at this week’s Masters, by winning the one major championship that has so far eluded him.
McIlroy has boasted titles in three of the four majors since 2014, when he won The Open to add to previous successes in the US Open (2011) and US PGA Championship (2012). He also claimed a second US PGA title three weeks after his Open triumph, but Masters glory remains the missing piece in the jigsaw.
After blowing a four-shot lead in the final round at Augusta eight years ago, McIlroy has repeatedly challenged for a green jacket, recording top-10 finishes in each of his last five visits to Georgia.
This year, he arrives in great form, having won the Players Championship last month and finished no lower than ninth on the PGA Tour in 2019.
Only five players have won each of golf’s modern-day majors. We take a look at when the previous Grand Slams were completed and some of the notable names who have come close to achieving the feat.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) March 27, 2019
Already a winner at the U.S. Open, US PGA Championship and The Open, Sarazen won the second edition of the Masters in 1935. Victory at Augusta gave Sarazen his seventh and last major title.
Hogan completed the Grand Slam during a stunning 1953 season. After claiming a second Masters title and fourth U.S. Open crown, Hogan lifted the Claret Jug at Carnoustie – a particularly impressive achievement given he was making his first and only appearance in The Open. Sadly, Hogan was denied a shot at winning all four majors in one year, due to mandatory Open qualifying clashing with that year’s US PGA Championship.
Nine-time major champion Player completed his Grand Slam at the 1965 U.S. Open, defeating Kel Nagle in a play-off at Bellerive. To this day, the South African remains the only non-American to have won all four majors.
Almost every list detailing great golfing achievements will feature Nicklaus, the winner of a record 18 major titles. The Golden Bear triumphed in each of his sport’s premier strokeplay events at least three times and was only 26 when he secured victory in the 1966 Open Championship at Muirfield to complete his first Grand Slam.
Five days until Masters Week.
Verne Lundquist and Lanny Wadkins suspend belief on No. 16 and deliver the signature moment in @TigerWoods’ march towards a fourth Green Jacket in the 2005. pic.twitter.com/euw2j0JmE8
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 3, 2019
While Woods, despite his recent resurgence, now appears likely to fall short of Nicklaus’ record haul, he has matched Jack’s feat of earning three successes in each of the four majors. What is more, he was younger than Nicklaus, at 24, when he completed the Grand Slam at St Andrews in the 129th Open Championship.
Woods is also the only man to hold all four major titles at the same time, success in the 2001 Masters rounding off a stunning ‘Tiger Slam’.
More than a decade has passed since his last major victory, but Woods – the winner of last year’s Tour Championship – could well add to his tally in 2019.
THREE OUT OF FOUR … AT LEAST FOR NOW
For the time being, McIlroy is among 13 golfers to have won three of the four existing majors. Greats of the game such as Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson were unable to complete the Grand Slam, while Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth are the two active players besides McIlroy missing just one trophy. Mickelson has famously come up agonisingly short on multiple occasions at the U.S. Open, while the US PGA Championship is the prize that Spieth has yet to claim.