PGA Grand Slam of golf. It's supposed to be a two day duel between the four champions of this years Major tournaments, the most elite and exclusive golf event you could imagine. A gathering of the four leading lights in golf this year, those who shone brightest when it matters most. What a fantastic concept it is. The only problem is, you get circumstances such as occurred this year, where the US Open Champion, Tiger Woods, is still nursing that dodgy knee which was creaking and groaning as he took his title. Not only that, but Padraig Harrington, having got the taste of what it's like to be a major winner last year, decided to be a greedy bugger and win two Major tournaments this year. The other dude, the guy who won the Masters, whats-his-face, umm, the guy who looks like he's wearing eyeliner of mascara or something but he's not, he's just got very prominent eyelashes, ummm.. Zimmerman, Pimpleman...
Trevor Immelman, that's it! (Admit it, when you saw the line up you'd completely forgotten he was a major winner, it seems so long ago...) Yeah, he's still alive and will take his place.
So instead of being a gala meeting between the champions of all four tournaments we get "alternates", one to take the place of Woods and as Padraig Harrington is not allowed to hit two balls to double his chances of winning, one to make up the foursome. These are decided by allocation of points according to how players performed in each of the majors. Phil Mickelson, with two top tens and another two top 20 finishes was the first alternate. But he has decided not to take part in the event and so the two back up slots go the the second and third alternates Retief Goosen and Jim Furyk.
Here's what the official website had to say about these two call-up's
"Due to their stellar play in the 2008 major championships, past major champions Retief Goosen and Jim Furyk have received -- and accepted -- invitations to play in the 26th PGA Grand Slam of Golf in October. They will join Open and PGA Champion Padraig Harrington and Masters winner Trevor Immelman in the most elite foursome in golf."
Whoa now, I think if you were to go up to any golf fan who was unaware of the points systems and asked who they thought had played the best golf in the majors this season, they would have never have picked out Goosen certainly, and few would have said Furyk. They apparently have a "stellar" record at the majors this year according to that blurb - They have one top ten between them! That was Furyk who was 5th at the Open; Goosen, the second alternate finished no higher than 14th at the US Open. He was 17th at the Masters, 32nd at the Open and 24th at the USPGA. That's not stellar, that's just stale consistency.
Now in these circumstances, what would seem fair to me would be to employ the system used for the Charity shield here in the UK, a match at the start of each season between the winners of the Premier League and the FA Cup. When, as has often happened recently, one team does the double and wins both, the match is played between the champion and the league runner-up.
SO why couldn't they have applied that principle here, instead of rewarding two players who did little to set the heart racing in any of the Majors this year, why not reward the guys who came so close to winning, the men who finished second. Judge that Harrington qualifies through the Open win first and then award the place to Sergio Garcia who ran him so close at the USPGA and actually did have a stellar season, winning the TPC, the unofficial 5th major in many eyes and bagging a huge haul of seconds. Or Ben Curtis who was also second and 7th at the Open, that's more top tens than the two playing this week combined! Surely that's a fairer reflection of who deserves to be there. And how about Rocco Mediate, who played a huge role in making the US Open one of the most intriguing in recent memory, shouldn't he be taking Tiger's place rather than the guy who finished 14th and then backhandedly accused Tiger of faking injury. It's an indication of how far off winning the tournament Goosen was that he didn't know that knee was creaking like an old barn door.
Considering the fourth place guy gets $120,000 for just two rounds of Golf, it appears to me that there are more deserving men of that money than Goosen and Furyk.