There is no definition of the ‘Grand Slam’. It isn’t a term that can HAVE a definition, since it 1) hasn’t ever happened, thus had a set of qualifying circumstances agreed upon that are referenced by a majority of people after the fact as being the definitional occurrence, and 2) it can have different meanings to different people, as evidenced by the current debate.
Analogies are available, but hard to evaluate. Racing’s Triple Crown can’t be achieved over the course of more than one calendar year. Baseball’s Triple Crown is intended to be the achievement of one season, because it doesn’t depend upon individual instances of accomplishment (not to mention the fact that we know what a Triple Crown is because it’s been done and agreed upon). One might make reference to tennis, the other sport with a “Grand Slam”; I’m too ignorant to know if anyone has captured four Slam events consecutively over the course of more than one season and whether or not that was considered a ‘Slam’.
While it is certainly true that Bobby Jones’ “Grand Slam” occurred in one year, which was what made it so special at the time, one must also consider that no one has managed to win a ‘modern’ “Grand Slam”. This patent difficulty makes one think that, quite possibly, should Tiger win tomorrow, future generations will refer to it as the first accomplishment of a “Grand Slam of Professional Golf”.
Me, I don’t care what you call it, should it happen. I just think it’s pretty damn amazing, given that not even Nicklaus managed it (and despite what you may read, he wasn’t close in 1972; the 1971 PGA had been held in January that year, and he hadn’t won at Augusta, the US Open or The Open in 1971 when he won at Augusta and Pebble Beach in 1972).
Side note regarding Mr. Nicklaus: Jack isn’t upset that someone will ‘break’ his records. What he worries about is that courses like Augusta National will cease to be true tests of golfing skill. Jack has long advocated that a golf course, to be truly great, require a player to hit every shot in the bag. When he was winning the Masters in 1975, second shots into Holes 15 and 13 required woods or long irons, if they could even be attempted at all (usually a good drive was required). Now, Tiger hits into 15 with a nine-iron, and even relatively mediocre professionals can get home in two with mid-irons. And those are par-fives; there isn’t a par-four at Augusta any more that requires more than a six-iron second shot from a journeyman pro, assuming a reasonably good drive.
So what Jack is complaining about is the fact that, to give a golfer a true test of golfing ability, comparable to what he faced in the 70’s, one has to eschew use of traditional courses like Augusta National, and play on newly built courses, with 520 yard par-fours and 650 yard par-fives. And, despite the continued claim of manufacturers and the USGA that there is some sort of limit to how far the ball can be made to go, we certainly haven’t seen such a limit crop up yet.
Of course, I long ago wondered why they play golf with whatever ball they want, but play tennis with one make of ball for the whole tournament…