How many golfers have completed a career grand slam?
Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are the best-placed active players to join an exclusive list of golfers to have completed a career grand slam.
When Rory McIlroy strode out to the first tee on the final day of the Open at St Andrews alongside Viktor Hovland with a share of the lead at -16, the Northern Irishman did so on the cusp of making history. A win at the Old Course would have given McIlroy a second Open victory, placing him on a list of greats to have won the venerable tournament more than once – a feat he has already achieved at the PGA Championship – as well as moving him up the list of all-time major winners to level with Seve Ballesteros, Peter Thompson, Byron Nelson, John Henry Taylor and James Braid. In the end, he had to settle for third, with Cameron Smith taking the Claret Jug in some style.
Few have achieved golf’s career grand slam
McIlroy’s main priority will remain the career slam: winning all four majors. To do so, the Northern Irishman needs to tick off the Masters, which he came close to winning in 2011. If he does, he will join an even more elite list of players to have pulled off a career slam in the modern era, an achievement only managed by a handful of men to date.
The first player to win a career grand slam, and the only player to have done so in a calendar year, was Bobby Jones in 1930. The US amateur won the original grand slam by claiming the The Open Championship, the US Open, the US Amateur and the British Amateur in the same year.
In the modern era the career slam consists of winning the four current majors: the Open, the Masters, the PGA Championship and the US Open. No player has ever matched Jones’ feat of a calendar year slam but five have managed a career slam: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods. Of that select group, only Woods and Nicklaus have achieved multiple career slams, both players having completed the set three times during their careers. Woods also completed the “Tiger Slam” in 2000-01, when during his pomp the US great held all four majors at the same time.
Which players are still on for a career grand slam?
As well as McIlroy, two other active players have won three of the four majors and are still in with a shout of completing the career grand slam. Jordan Spieth won the US Open, the Open and the Masters between 2015 and 2017 and needs a PGA Championship to complete the set, while Phil Mickelson has three Masters, two PGA Championships and an Open to his name, lacking only the US Open to claim a career grand slam.
However, the US player is currently suspended from the PGA Tour after playing in the LIV Golf Invitational in London last month. Money speaks louder for some.