Slam quartet confirmed for Island visit
This year’s four major winners have all agreed to play in next month’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal Golf Course.
Charl Schwartzel (Masters), Rory McIlroy (US Open), Darren Clarke (The Open) and Keegan Bradley (PGA Championship) will be in Bermuda for the October 17-19 event.
The four golfers are the latest in an increasingly long line of first time major winners and Bradley is only the third golfer in history, after Francis Ouimet (1913 US Open) and Ben Curtis (2003 Open Championship), to win a major at the first time of asking.
Bermuda has seen more than its fair share of first time winners and David Charles, the senior director of PGA Championships, said the Grand Slam was mirroring a power shift within golf.
“We went through such a long period of Tiger (Woods) winning everything, obviously Phil (Mickelson) winning a few and Ernie (Els) winning a few,” said Charles. “Tiger played in the Grand Slam eight times and won it seven.
“It says a lot about the state of golf but if you look at the number of first time major champions in the last dozen it’s a large number of first time winners, which Bermuda has seen.
“When we started coming to Bermuda in 2007 it was when that transition started, and it went from the Jim Furyks and Tiger and Ernie and Phil and the Retief Goosens to all of a sudden a whole bunch and in 2009 you had Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stuart Cink and YE Yang.
“Golf has definitely shifted, I think the guys are a lot more confident in their abilities that they can go out and win major championships whereas before you were scared and threatened by the Tiger lurking and he ended up winning 14 of them.”
Like many of today’s golfers, Bradley has a strong Twitter following and a growing fan base that saw him take his replica of the PGA Championship Wanamaker Trophy on a tour of bars in Florida.
For Charles the individuality of the four players means that fans should expect to see some exciting golf played over two days next month.
“It’s a great group of guys, an interesting group of guys, and it should be set up for some exciting golf,” he said. “You’ve got the old guard with Darren (Clarke), and now there is the young, exciting competition.
“It’s an interesting field, it really is. There are four first time major champions, and you look at this four guys individually; Charl Schwarzel goes and birdies the final four holes of Augusta National to win the Masters.
“And then you get to Rory (McIlroy), he ran away with it (US Open) which was just unbelievable, watching that clinic he put on. Darren Clarke’s the guy that everyone thought would win a major years ago, and then Keegan Bradley.
“He’s a great fresh face for golf, a first time major champion, Keegan’s one of those younger guys who has got a great following on Twitter and he’s a New England guy doing coin tosses at Patriot games and throwing our first pitches at Red Sox games. He’s created his own little celebrity there, which is fantastic.”
Tickets for next month’s Grand Slam of Golf are available through the PGA’s website, pgagrandslamofgolf.com. Alternatively they will go on sale to the public in Bermuda on Monday at Port Royal. Follow the PGA on Twittter, PGA_com, and Facebook.