A GRAND EVENT NO LONGER
ou’ve probably never heard of Tim Hart, a 26-year-old Australian who lies outside the top 500 on the World Ranking. He fell prey to one of the biggest reversal-of-fortune nishes in golf history. With a three-stroke lead on the nal hole at the Queensland PGA, Hart not only had his rst pro victory within reach, but, standing 12 under for his round at the par-70 City Golf Club in Toowoomba, a chance to shoot the only o cial 57 recorded on a sanctioned professional tour. Amazingly, Hart lost the event and didn’t even break 60. He hit his drive on the par-4 18th out-of-bounds left, then re-teed and drove into the trees right. The resulting triple bogey meant a 61 that dropped him into a playo , which (of course) he lost when Germany’s David Klein birdied the rst hole. Still, how’s this for perspective? “Mate, it’s easy to be disappointed,” Hart said, “but if someone had said I’d be in a playo for the title when starting the day 20th, I would have grabbed it.” But maybe not if he’d known he would shoot golf ’s most-disappointing 61.
Yhe idea, in theory, always had merit: pit the winners of the four men’s majors in a year-end event that serves as part encore, part entertainment.Yet for various reasons the PGA Grand Slam of Golf never quite delivered on its promise, regardless of the venue, format or marquee contestants (Tiger Woods won it seven times). Few tears, then, were shed when the PGA of America announced it was discontinuing the 37-year-old event, Martin Kaymer ( left) becoming the answer to the trivia question of who was its last champion. “When the Grand Slam of Golf was launched in 1979, the golf world was much di erent than it is today,” read a statement from the PGA of America. “The PGA Tour’s wrap-around schedule, the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, plus other important international events, make the schedule very busy and hectic for the top players in the world.” Moreover, by the time the hit-and-giggle tournament rolled around each year, golf was rarely top of mind for any but the most ravenous fans.