COMMENTARY | Inbee Park won her third straight major championship on Sunday, becoming only the seventh player in the history of the game to win three in one season.
In doing so, Park may have proven that she is by far the best golfer on the planet, male or female.
Only LPGA legend Babe Zaharias has equaled the feat Park accomplished last weekend, having won the first three majors of the season in 1950. Amateur golf icon Bobby Jones did the same in 1930; however two of those victories were American amateur titles. Only Jones, Zaharias, Mickey Wright, Ben Hogan, Pat Bradley and Tiger Woods have won three majors in the same year.
That's a pretty strong group of names Park just joined, wouldn't you say?
Of course, there are the obvious arguments that always arise when discussing who is "the Best Golfer on the Planet." Every fan has his or her favorite, most of the time coming from the PGA Tour. Could it be possible, however, that the true designation belongs quite deservedly to a female golfer that has yet to become a household name?
The same question came up while witnessing Yani Tseng's explosion in recent years. Between April 2010 and February 2012, the LPGA superstar won an astounding 16 times worldwide, including four major championships. There was a time when Tseng was statistically more likely to win a golf tournament than not, regardless of the event or the rest of the field.
For a few moments, Tseng made Tiger Woods look like an amateur. Inbee Park is nearing that status this season.
At only 24 years old, Park has already won 14 times among three professional tours. She is ranked No. 1 in the Rolex World Golf Rankings, No. 1 on the LPGA money list and routinely distancing herself from her peers on both. She is now a four-time major winner, having also won the 2008 US Women's Open.
Sustainability is always the bigger factor when discussing who truly is "the best" in any sport. Like Woods, Park continues to raise the bar on her own greatness with every victory. At some point, however, that bar will be raised to a height that not even she can reach. With it, the world's expectations of Park will also rise. It is the nature of the beast.
Will Inbee Park win the next two LPGA majors, becoming the only player in the history of the game to win five majors in a season? She'll be the favorite to do so by a wide margin. There are few players on the LPGA Tour who can step up and challenge her.
As we have seen so many times before with other great players, it seems the only person standing in the way of Inbee Park's historic run is herself.
Adam Fonseca has covered professional golf since 2005. His work can also be found on the Back9Network. Follow Adam on Twitter at @chicagoduffer.
- Sports & Recreation
- Inbee Park
- Tiger Woods
- Babe Zaharias