Fab Foursome put skills on display
The 2009 PGA Grand Slam of Golf kicked off Monday with each member of the elite field thrilling the crowd during the Champions Clinic. Despite some rain, Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink and Y.E. Yang were in fine form demonstrating the shots that won them major titles in 2009.
By John Kim, Coordinating Producer
SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda -- The 2009 PGA Grand Slam of Golf began Monday morning with a flourish as the highly anticipated Champions Clinic took place at host Port Royal Golf Club.
Held in conjunction with Golf Channel's Golf Fix program, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf Champions Clinic was hosted by PGA Professional Michael Breed, who has also done extensive work with PGA.com, and featured all four participants in golf' most exclusive event: Masters champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina, U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, Open Champion Stewart Cink and PGA Champion Y.E. Yang of South Korea.
Featuring the most elite field in golf, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf Champions Clinic showcased each player demonstrating and instructing a various aspect of their game.
First, Cabrera set up shop 100 yards away from the 17th green and thrilled the crowd with an assortment of wedge shots while explaining his technique for hitting these all-important scoring shots. Making his second appearance in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Cabrera, the 2007 U.S. Open winner, credited his wedge game as integral to his 2009 Masters playoff win, and from the cheers of the crowd and the accuracy of the shots, his scoring touch was still evident.
Glover, making his first appearance in the event following his breakthrough major win at Bethpage Black in June, gave a tutorial from a greenside bunker. Glover proudly explained that he didn't find too many bunkers during his memorable run at Bethpage, but he is also noted for holing a 40-yard bunker shot at the 2005 Disney Classic that keyed a one-stroke victory for his first PGA Tour title. Glover's first bunker attempt came up just short of the pin, though the crowd showed the greatest response when his second shot flew over the pin and momentarily gave Cabrera and Cink, who were standing on the green, pause to keep out of harm's way.
"I figured if I hit one just right, I would only have to beat two people here this week instead of three," Glover joked.
Glover's final bunker shot settled a couple of feet from the hole and the crowd responded with eager applause.
Cink will long be remembered for his clutch 15-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole during the final round at Turnberry in July, which ultimately earned him the Open Championship title in an emotional playoff with Tom Watson and his major championship. Sharing his thoughts on this critical part of the game, Cink demonstrated his Claret Jug-winning form as he made both attempts from a recreated similar line and distance. To make his instructional even more impressive, Cink sank both putts as a fast-moving storm raced through just as he began his feature.
As soon as his second putt dropped, the rains ceased and the crowd cheered both events.
"It's a great honor to be here," Cink said after his clinic tutorial. "Obviously, I want to play well and winning would be nice, but this is also about having a good time. It's both a championship and a celebration of the four of us and the accomplishments of the year, and enjoying this beautiful setting."
Then PGA Champion Yang recreated his famous final-round chip-in at the 14th hole at Hazeltine, where he shocked world No. 1 Tiger Woods to claim the first major by an Asian-born player in history. Yang, who through an interpreter talked at length about his epic battle with Woods, described how his self-taught method of chipping led him to wins at both the PGA Championship and this year's Honda Classic on the PGA Tour. Yang also gave a gracious talk about how winning the PGA Championship has changed his life and then demonstrated that famous chipping technique by knocking a 50-foot chip to within a foot of the hole.
Prior to the clinic, PGA of America President Jim Remy presented a $10,000 check to the Bermuda Junior Golf Association and told the crowd about the importance of the PGA of America's relationship with junior golf programs and the country of Bermuda.
"It's a great moment of pride for The PGA of America to welcome these four great champions to this event," Remy stated. "But to see the hope and the energy from the youth of Bermuda who are here, who knows, maybe a future major championship winner in this group -- that's what really makes this clinic special."