PGA Grand Slam of Golf – 23rd and 24th October 2012 | The PGA Grand Slam of Golf is held annually and is intended to bring together the year’s winners of the four major championships: the Masters, the U.S. Open, The British Open and the PGA Championship. The tournament is played as a 2-day, 36-hole stroke play competition. The venue for the event is the Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda, a 6,842-yard, par-71 course. $600,000 goes to the winner, the runner-up receives $300,000, the third takes home $250,000 and the fourth $200,000.
The event was first held in 1979 with Gary Player taking the inaugural event. Australian Greg Norman won three times in the 80’s and 90’s but American Tiger Woods has won the tournament a remarkable seven times between 1998 and 2006. In 2002, Woods recorded rounds of 66 and 61 to win the event by an incredible 14 shots.
In the event of a player winning more than one major in a calendar year or a player declining the invitation, the PGA of America fills the position by inviting the former major winner with the best overall finishes in that year’s majors. This year, PGA winner Rory McIlroy has declined the invitation due to a prior commitment and will be replaced by last year’s winner Keegan Bradley. World Number One McIlroy had already confirmed his place in the European Tour’s BMW Masters in China on October 25th – 28th.
With the withdrawal of McIlroy, there will now be three Americans this year with Bradley joining Masters Champion Bubba Watson and U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson. Ernie Els, successful in this event in 1997 and 2010 and this year’s British Open winner, makes up the elite foursome. It will be a first appearance for both Watson and Simpson, while 2011 PGA Champion Bradley returns to Port Royal Golf Course where he won last year’s Grand Slam title. Bradley won the 2011 event by a single stroke over 2011 Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel. He tied for third in the PGA Championship at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island that has ultimately proved sufficient for him to gain a place this season.
Keegan Bradley (USA) Aged 26. A regular competitor on the PGA golf Tour. He rose to prominence with his win in the 2011 PGA Championship and added the Grand Slam of Golf the same season. He has won three tour events and is one of three golfers to win on their major tournament debut. The others were Ben Curtis and Francis Ouimet. He was named the 2011 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
Current World ranking: 12
Ernie Els (South Africa) Aged 42. A former World Number 1, the popular South African can boast 65 career victories including four major championships: the U.S. Open in 1994 (Oakmont) and 1997 (Congressional), The British Open in 2002 (Muirfield) and 2012 (Royal Lytham & St Annes). He is one of six golfers to have won both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship on two occasions.
Current World ranking: 21
Bubba Watson (USA) Aged 33. One of the few left-handed golfers on tour, he claimed his first major this season with his Masters victory. He is one of the longest drivers on the PGA Tour and is capable of exceeding 350 yards (320 m) and a ball speed of nearly 200mph. Watson won the by defeating Louis Oosthuizen on the second sudden death play-off hole.
Current World ranking: 8
Webb Simpson (USA) Aged 27. Won his first major this season with the US Open, thus qualifying for the US Ryder Cup team. He was a member of the victorious 2007 Walker Cup and Palmer Cup teams as well as the 2011 Presidents Cup team. Simpson gained his first two victories on the PGA Tour in 2011 at the Wyndham Championship and at the FedEx Cup play-off event, The Deutsche Bank Championship. He finished second on the 2011 Tour’s money list.
Current World ranking: 5
Betting on the PGA Grand Slam of Golf
William Hill can hardly split the four golfers in their golf betting market. They have Watson, Simpson and Bradley as co-favourites at 5-2 with Els marginally the outsider at 11-4. As Els has won two of the three previous Grand Slam events that he has contested, these odds could be seen as insulting to the big South African.
At Royal Lytham this summer, Els staged a stunning last day recovery to put himself in contention and runaway leader Adam Scott collapsed over the closing holes to present the trophy to the South African by one stroke. It was the first major tournament victory for Els since the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield. Els started the final round six shots adrift but birdied three of his final six holes, including a lengthy putt on the final hole to post a 2-under 68 and finish 7-under for the tournament. The 36-hole format will suit the oldest competitor in this event and he looks the value bet at the early prices.
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