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PGA Grand Slam a fitting reward for 'Fab Four'
A huge check. A shiny trophy. Your name listed forever among the game's immortals. What more could a major winner want? How about a trip to an exotic island and a tee time in golf's toughest event for which to qualify? That would be the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, and Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera, Padraig Harrington and Jim Furyk will all be there for the 36-hole event at The Mid Ocean Club.
By T.J. Auclair, PGA.com Interactive Producer
What better way to put an exclamation point on an incredible season than to take a trip to an exotic, tropical island?
That's precisely what Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera, Padraig Harrington and Jim Furyk will do when they head to lovely Bermuda for the 25th playing of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf on Oct. 16-17 at the Mid Ocean Club.
Getting a spot in the Grand Slam is no easy task. The field is typically reserved to the year's four major champions.
Johnson earned his spot with a win at the Masters, Cabrera got in thanks to his U.S. Open win, Harrington was the winner of the Open Championship and Furyk -- well, call it an early Christmas present from his good buddy Tiger Woods, who won the PGA Championship in August then pulled out of the PGA Grand Slam so he could spent time with his wife and new daughter.
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Johnson was the first player to secure a spot and set off a blitz of first-time major winners in 2007. In his impressive two-shot victory at Augusta National, Johnson held off a stellar field of contenders that included no less than Woods, who ultimately tied for second with Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini.
The not-so-well-known Johnson was the unlikely winner to be sure, and used an unconventional method to chalk up his first major and slip into the green jacket. While most Masters winners attack the par 5s in two, Johnson instead stuck to his game plan of laying up and playing for birdie from the fairway. He didn't go for a single par 5 in two throughout the entire tournament. That plan paid off, as Johnson was better than anyone on the par 5s for the week with 11 birdies and no bogeys. Johnson's 1-over-par 289 total was just the third over-par score good enough to win the Masters, joining Sam Snead in 1954 and Jackie Burke Jr. in 1956.
Much like Johnson, Argentina's Cabrera was an unlikely winner in the U.S. Open at what many experts consider to be the most difficult major championship venue -- Oakmont Country Club outside Pittsburgh.
It was a game of wait-and-see for Cabrera. He sat around for nearly an hour after posting a final-round 1-under 69 and 5-over 285 total to see if it would be enough to give Argentina it's first major win since Roberto de Vicenzo in the 1967 Open Championship at Hoylake.
In the end, it was. Surprisingly, neither Woods nor Furyk could produce a single birdie over the final three holes and Cabrera became the third first-time major winner at the U.S. Open in three years, joining 2006 champ Geoff Ogilvy and 2005 champ Michael Campbell.
While Harrington's win in the Open Championship at Carnoustie made him a first-time major winner, there's no question he was the most heralded player in the trio of champs.
But, it didn't come easy. Nothing does at Carnoustie. Just ask Frenchman Jean Van de Velde.
Harrington seemingly threw his chance at the Claret Jug into the famous Barry Burn that crosses the 18th fairway.
Playing the final hole with a one-shot lead over Sergio Garcia, the Irishman found Barry Burn with both his tee shot and third shot, settling for a cruel double bogey.
That left the stage wide open for Garcia to tally his long-awaited maiden major triumph. But, the Spaniard found trouble of his own on the notorious closing hole. When his par putt from 10 feet lipped out, Garcia went to a four-hole playoff with Harrington. From there, it was all Harrington. He played the four holes in even par, one stroke better than Garcia, to become the first Irishman to claim the Claret Jug since 1947.
As for Furyk, this will be his third appearance in the Grand Slam.
Because of a grueling late-summer schedule, coupled with the desire to spend time with his wife, Elin, and infant daughter, Sam Alexis, Woods withdrew from the Grand Slam to open the door for Furyk.
Furyk, winner of the 2003 U.S. Open, finished first in the Major Champions Points List with 214.5 points to gain his spot in the exclusive foursome.
Always a contender in the big four, Furyk tied for 13th at the Masters, tied for second at the U.S. Open, tied for 12th at the Open Championship and missed the cut at the PGA Championship.
Previously, Furyk won the 2003 Grand Slam and was the runner up in 2006.