Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Rory McIlroy hoping to claim elusive Slam prize

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke are in Bermuda this week trying to become the first Europeans for 20 years to win the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

The 36-hole event, which starts today, brings together the winners of the four majors, so the two Northern Irishmen will be up against South African Charl Schwartzel and American Keegan Bradley.

McIlroy's first task, though, is to overcome jet lag. The US Open champion was in China last week for a seven-day, seven-city challenge against Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Liang Wen-chong.

After finishing a distant last with a six over par 79 — Westwood beat Liang in a play-off after both shot 71, with Poulter one behind — McIlroy tweeted: “My great Chinese adventure has ended.

“Now mentally preparing myself for 20 hours in the air from Hong Kong to Bermuda!”

Ian Woosnam was Europe's last winner of the Grand Slam title. Masters champion in 1991 — and world number one at the time — he beat Ian Baker-Finch, Payne Stewart and John Daly by four, six and eight strokes respectively to win in Hawaii.

The following three years Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal came last, Faldo was third in 1996 and after the event switched to match play Paul Lawrie and Olazabal lost to Tiger Woods and Davis Love respectively in 1999.

Back as stroke play, Padraig Harrington finished runner-up to Angel Cabrera in 2007 and Jim Furyk the following season — both after play-offs — while last year Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer were joint last.

It is a financially rewarding two days, however well or poorly the quartet play.

The winner takes home almost £380,000, while whoever finishes fourth and last is still worth over £125,000.

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