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Posted by r2d2 03/02/2009 @ 04:03

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By AP North Carolina State's Matt Hill made three birdies on the back nine and held off his closest pursuers to win the individual title in the NCAA Division I championship at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. Hill, a sophomore from Bright's Grove,...
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Prep Golf | Eastlake's Kevin Penner, Seattle Prep's Katrina Hegge ... - Seattle Times
Seniors Kevin Penner of Eastlake and Katrina Hegge of Seattle Prep captured their second state golf championships. By Seattle Times staff Kevin Penner of Eastlake won in a playoff. Katrina Hegge of Seattle Prep won 3A girls. Eastlake's Kevin Penner won...

Golf in Scotland

The Old Course at St Andrews

Golf in Scotland was first recorded in the 15th century, and the modern game of golf was first developed and established in the country. The game plays a key role in the national sporting consciousness.

The R&A, based at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, is the world governing body for the game (except in the United States and Mexico), and to many golfers the Old Course, an ancient links course dating to before 1574, is considered to be a site of pilgrimage. There are many other famous golf courses in Scotland, including Carnoustie, Gleneagles, Muirfield and Royal Troon. The world's first Open Championship was held at Prestwick in 1860, and Scots golfers have the most victories at the Open at 42 wins, one ahead of the United States.

Although golf is often seen as an elitist sport elsewhere in the world, in the land of its birth it enjoys widespread appeal throughout the spectrum of society, in line with the country's egalitarian tradition. For example, the Old Course at St Andrew's and Musselburgh Links (which claims to be the oldest golf course in the world in continuous use) are public courses. Council-owned courses, with low fees and easy access, are common throughout the country wherever demography and geography allow. Therefore golf courses, whether public or private, are far more common in the Lowlands than in the Highlands and Islands, where shinty (a game which may share a common ancestry with golf) is often the traditional sport.

Scotland is widely promoted as the 'Home of Golf',, and along with whisky and the long list of Scottish inventions and discoveries, golf is widely seen as being a key national cultural icon throughout the world. It is frequently used to market the country to potential visitors, for example for the Homecoming year in 2009, and golf tourism accounted for approximately 2% of overall Scottish tourism spending in 2004.

The word golf was first recorded in the 15th century, appearing twice in an Act of the Parliament of Scotland of 6 March 1457, in the reign of James II. The Act, which ordered the holding of wappenschaws (English: musterings) four times a year for the purpose of archery practice, stated that "the fut bal ande the golf" (football and golf) were to be "vtterly criyt done" (utterly condemned; lit. "utterly cried down") and "nocht vsyt" (not engaged in; lit. "not used"). Offenders were to be punished by the barony courts, otherwise they were "to be tane be the kingis officiaris" (to be taken by the king's officers).

Football (see Football in Scotland) and golf are again both explicitly named and forbidden in two further 15th century Scottish statutes encouraging archery practice, in 1470 and 1490. The 1470 Act, in the reign of James III, again uses the spelling golf, but the 1490 Act, in the reign of James IV, sees the use of gouff; and gowf, gowff, gouf and variants became the usual spelling during the Early Modern Period. The Scottish National Dictionary states that "golf represents a revival of the Middle Scots form; Loudoun Gowf Club, Newmilns, retains the old form in its title"; ie. the spelling changed from Medieval golf to Early Modern gowf, and then back again.

The Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue gives the etymology of the word golf or gouf (with many alternative spellings) as probably from the Dutch kolf (see Kolven, a Dutch indoor ballgame); although the dictionary also records the noun golf (with alternative spellings golfe or golph) as deriving from Middle English golf or goulf or Old French golfe, meaning "a deep pool or hollow; an abyss"; a cognate of modern English gulf.

The exact origins of the sport of golf are unclear. The most widely accepted theory is that the game originated in Scotland in the High Middle Ages.

The modern game of golf we understand today is generally considered to be a Scottish invention. The first golf courses and clubs were established in the country. The first written rules originated in Scotland, as did the establishment of the 18 hole course. The first tournament structures developed and competitions were held between various burghs. The modern game was spread by Scots to the rest of the world. The oldest playing golf course in the world is the Old Links at Musselburgh Racecourse. Evidence has shown that golf was played on Musselburgh Links in 1672 although Mary, Queen of Scots reputedly played there in 1567.

When James VI succeeded to the thrones of England and Ireland in 1603 (see Union of the Crowns) he took a large number of his Scottish courtiers with him to London. The king resided at Greenwich Palace, and there is documentary evidence that some of these Scottish noblemen played golf on Blackheath, on the hill behind the palace. Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, the king's eldest son, was playing golf in 1606. The Royal Blackheath Golf Club itself traces its origins from these Scottish noblemen, and claims a pre-1745 foundation date. Although it is certainly the oldest English golf club and the oldest golf club outwith Scotland, there is no evidence that it is the oldest golf club in the world, as is sometimes claimed.

The first record of North American golf was a consignment of 96 golfclubs and 432 golf balls were shipped from Leith to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1743; and on 29 September 1786 Scottish merchants established the South Carolina Golf Club in Charleston, the first golf club in the United States.

Sandy Lyle (born 1958), Belle Robertson (born 1936) and Jessie Valentine (1915-2006) are all inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame, but not the World Golf Hall of Fame.

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The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews

The first game of golf for which records survive was played at Bruntsfield Links, in Edinburgh, Scotland, in A.D. 1456, recorded in the archives of the Edinburgh Burgess Golfing Society, now The Royal Burgess Golfing Society. The modern game of golf spread from Scotland and has now become a worldwide game, with golf courses in the majority of affluent countries.

Golf competition is generally played as stroke play, in which the individual with the lowest number of strokes is declared the winner, or as match play with the winner determined by whichever individual or team posts the lower score on the most individual holes during a complete round.

Golf as a spectator sport has become increasingly popular, with several different levels of professional and amateur tours in many regions of the world. Players such as Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sörenstam have become well-recognized sports figures across the world. Sponsorship has also become a huge part of the game and players often earn more from their sponsorship contracts than they do from the game itself.

The word Golf in its English form, was first mentioned in writing in 1457 on a Scottish statute of forbidden games as gouf, possibly derived from the Scots word goulf (variously spelled) meaning "to strike or cuff". This word may, in turn, be derived from the Dutch word kolf, meaning "bat", or "club", and the Dutch sport of the same name. The idea that “golf” is an acronym from "gentlemen only, ladies forbidden" is false - this is a folk etymology.

The most accepted golf history theory is that golf (as practiced today) originated from Scotland in the 12th century, with shepherds knocking stones into rabbit holes in the place where the famous Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews now sits. However, the origin of golf is unclear and open to debate.

Scholars have claimed references to a form of golf from hieroglyphs found on stone tablets dating to ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. Chuiwan ("ch'ui" means hitting and "wan" means small ball in Chinese) a game consisting of driving a ball with a stick into holes in the ground was first mentioned in Dōngxuān Records (Chinese: 東軒錄), a Chinese book of 11th century, and Chinese professor Ling Hongling of Lanzhou University claims that the game was brought to Europe by the Mongols in the 12th and 13th centuries. A Dutch game was mentioned on 26 February 1297 in a city called Loenen aan de Vecht. Here they played a game with a stick and leather ball. Whoever hit the ball into a target several hundreds of meters away the most number of times, won. The Scottish game of goulf (variously spelled) was mentioned in two 15th century laws prohibiting its play. Some scholars have suggested that this refers to another game, which is more akin to bandy, shinty or hurling than golf. There are also reports of even earlier accounts of a golf like game from continental Europe.

However, these earlier games are more accurately viewed as ancestors of golf, and the modern game as we understand it today originated and developed in Scotland: The earliest permanent golf course originated there, as did the very first written rules, the establishment of the 18-hole course, and the first golf club memberships. The first formalized tournament structures also emerged there and competitions were arranged between different Scottish cities. Over time, the modern game spread to England and the rest of the world. The oldest playing golf course in the world is The Musselburgh Old Links Golf Course. Evidence has shown that golf was played here in 1672 although Mary, Queen of Scots reputedly played there in 1567. In 1646 King Charles I of England, whilst held captive by the Scots in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was reported to entertain himself by playing golf in Shieldfield.

As stated, golf courses have not always had eighteen holes. The St Andrews Links occupy a narrow strip of land along the sea. As early as the 15th century, golfers at St Andrews, in Fife, established a customary route through the undulating terrain, playing to holes whose locations were dictated by topography. The course that emerged featured eleven holes, laid out end to end from the clubhouse to the far end of the property. One played the holes out, turned around, and played the holes in, for a total of 22 holes. In 1764, several of the holes were deemed too short, and were therefore combined. The number was thereby reduced from 11 to nine, so that a complete round of the links comprised 18 holes. Due to the status of St Andrews as the golf capital, all other courses chose to follow suit and the 18-hole course remains the standard today.

In 2007 Golf Digest calculated that there were nearly 31,900 golf courses in the world, approximately half of them in the United States. The countries with most golf courses per capita, starting with the best endowed were: Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Rebublic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Canada, Wales, United States, Sweden, and England (countries with fewer than 500,000 people were excluded). Apart from Sweden, all of these countries have English as the majority language, but the number of courses in new territories is increasing rapidly. For example, the first golf course in the People's Republic of China opened in 1984, but by 2008 there were 376 courses in that country.

The professional sport was initially dominated by Scottish then English golfers, but since 1918, The United States has produced the greatest quantity of leading professionals. Other Commonwealth countries such as Australia and South Africa are also traditional powers in the sport. Since around the 1970s, Japan, Scandinavian and other Western European countries have produced leading players on a regular basis. The number of countries with high-class professionals continues to increase steadily, especially in East Asia. South Korea is notably strong in women's golf.

In the United States, the number of people who play golf 25 times or more per year fell from 6.9 million in 2000 to 4.6 million in 2005, according to the National Golf Foundation. The NGF reported that the number who played golf at all fell from 30 million to 26 million over the same period.

Golf is played in an area of land designated a golf course. A course consists of a series of holes, each with a teeing area, fairway, rough and other hazards, and the green with the pin (flagstick) and cup. Different levels of grass are varied to increase difficulty or to allow for putting in the case of the green. A typical golf course consists of eighteen holes, but many smaller courses may only have nine. Early Scottish golf courses, and similarly designed courses, are mostly laid out on linksland, soil covered sand dunes directly inland from beaches. This gave rise to the common description of a seaside course as a golf links. The turn of the 20th century, with its widespread use of heavy earth-moving equipment, saw a movement toward golf course design with an emphasis on reshaping the land to create hazards, and add strategic interest. Modern golf course design has seen a return to its roots. Architects appreciate once again how to maximize the subtleties in the existing land while tempering how much dirt they move.

Environmental concerns over the use of land for golf courses have grown over the past fifty years. Specific issues include the amount of water and chemical pesticides and fertilizers used for maintenance, as well as the destruction of wetlands and other environmentally important areas during construction. The UN estimates that golf courses use about 2.5 billion gallons/9.5 billion liters of water daily. If potable, this amount of water would be enough to provide drinking water for 4.7 billion people. Many golf courses in the world are irrigated with non-potable water and/or rainwater. As a result of these concerns there has been research into more environmentally sound practices and turf grasses.

Every round of golf is based on playing a number of holes in a given order. A round typically consists of 18 holes that are played in the order determined by the course layout. On a nine-hole course, a standard round consists of two successive nine-hole rounds. Playing a hole on the golf course consists of hitting a ball from a tee on the teeing box (a marked area designated for the first shot of a hole, a tee shot), and once the ball comes to rest, striking it again. This process is repeated until the ball is in the cup. Once the ball is on the green (an area of finely cut grass) the ball is usually putted (hit along the ground) into the hole. The goal of resting the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible may be impeded by hazards, such as bunkers and water hazards. In most typical forms of gameplay, each player plays his/her until it is holed.

Players can walk or drive in motorized carts over the course, either singly or with others, sometimes accompanied by caddies who carry and manage the players' equipment and give them advice.

A hole is classified by its par; the number of strokes a skilled golfer should require to complete play of the hole. For example, a skilled golfer expects to reach the green on a par-four hole in two strokes (This would be considered a Green in Regulation or GIR): one from the tee (the "drive") and another, second, stroke to the green (the "approach"); and then roll the ball into the hole in two putts for par. A golf hole is either a par-three, -four or -five sometimes -six rarely -two and -seven.

The key factor for classifying the par of a hole is the tee-to-green distance. A typical length for a par-three hole ranges between 91-224 meters/100–250 yards; for a par-four hole, between 225-434 meters/251–475 yards; and for a par-five hole, between 435 and 630 meters/476–690 yards. The slope of the course (uphill or downhill) can also effect the par rating. If the tee-to-green distance on a hole is predominantly downhill, it will play shorter than its physical length and may be given a lower par rating and the opposite is true for uphill holes. Par ratings are also affected by factors such as the placement of hazards or the shape of the green which can sometimes effect the play of a hole such that it requires an extra stroke to avoid playing into hazards.

Eighteen hole courses may have four par-three, ten par-four, and four par-five holes, though other combinations exist and are not less worthy than courses of par 72. Many major championships are contested on courses playing to a par of 70, 71, or 72. In some countries, courses are classified, in addition to the course's par, with a course classification describing the play difficulty of a course and may be used to calculate a golfer's playing handicap for that given course (c.f. golf handicap).

In match play, two players (or two teams) play each hole as a separate contest against each other. The party with the lower score wins that hole, or if the scores of both players or teams are equal the hole is "halved" (drawn). The game is won by the party that wins more holes than the other. In the case that one team or player has taken a lead that cannot be overcome in the number of holes remaining to be played, the match is deemed to be won by the party in the lead, and the remainder of the holes are not played. For example, if one party already has a lead of six holes, and only five holes remain to be played on the course, the match is over. At any given point, if the lead is equal to the number of holes remaining, the match is said to be "dormie", and is continued until the leader increases the lead by one hole, thereby winning the match, or until the match ends in a tie. When the game is tied after the predetermined number of holes have been played, it may be continued until one side takes a one-hole lead.

In stroke play, the score achieved for each and every hole of the round or tournament is added to produce the total score, and the player with the lowest score wins (Stroke play is the game most commonly played by professional golfers). If there is a tie after the regulation number of holes in a professional tournament, a playoff takes place between all tied players. Some playoffs employ a pre-determined number of holes, anywhere from three to a full eighteen. If at least two players remain tied after such a playoff, then play continues in sudden death format, with the first player to win a hole wins the tournament.

In a skins game, golfers compete on each hole, as a separate contest. Played for prize money on the professional level or as a means of a wager for amateurs, a skin, or the prize money assigned to each hole, carries over to subsequent holes if the hole is tied (or halved). If you come to the end of the round and there are still skins left over, play continues until the final skin has been decided.

In stableford the player gains points for the score achieved on each hole of the round or tournament (1 point for a bogey, 2 points for a par, 3 points for a birdie, 4 points for an eagle). The points achieved for each hole of the round or tournament is added to produce the total points score, and the player with the highest score wins.

A handicap is a numerical measure of an amateur golfer's ability to play golf over the course of 18 holes. Handicaps can be applied either for stroke play competition or match play competition. In either competition, a handicap generally represents the number of strokes above par that a player will achieve on an above average day (i.e., when playing well).

In stroke play competition, the competitor's handicap is subtracted from their total "gross" score at the end of the round, to calculate a "net" score against which standings are calculated. In match play competition, handicap strokes are assigned on a hole-by-hole basis, according to the handicap rating of each hole (which is provided by the course). The hardest holes on the course receive the first handicap strokes, with the easiest holes receiving the last handicap strokes.

Calculating a handicap is often complicated, but essentially it is representative of the average over par of a number of a player's previous above average rounds, adjusted for course difficulty. Legislations regarding the calculation of handicaps differs among countries. For example, handicap rules may include the difficulty of the course the golfer is playing on by taking into consideration factors such as the number of bunkers, the length of the course, the difficulty and slopes of the greens, the width of the fairways, and so on.

Handicap systems are not used in professional golf. Professional golfers often score several strokes below par for a round and thus have a calculated handicap of 0 or less, meaning that their handicap results in the addition of strokes to their round score. Someone with a handicap of zero or less is often referred to as a scratch golfer.

The Rules of Golf are internationally standardised and are jointly governed by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A), which was founded 1754 and the United States Golf Association (USGA). By agreement with the R&A, USGA jurisdiction on the enforcement and interpretation of the rules is limited to the United States and Mexico. The national golf associations of other countries use the rules laid down by the R&A and there is a formal procedure for referring any points of doubt to the R&A.

The Decisions on the Rules of Golf are based on formal case decisions by the R&A and USGA and are revised and updated every other year.

There are strict regulations regarding the amateur status of golfers. Essentially, anybody who has ever received payment or compensation for giving instruction or played golf for money is not considered an amateur and may not participate in competitions limited solely to amateurs. However, amateur golfers may receive expenses which comply with strict guidelines and they may accept non-cash prizes within the limits established by the Rules of Amateur Status.

In addition to the officially printed rules, golfers also abide by a set of guidelines called golf etiquette. Etiquette guidelines cover matters such as safety, fairness, easiness and pace of play, and a player's obligation to contribute to the care of the course. Though there are no penalties for breach of etiquette rules, players generally follow the rules of golf etiquette in an effort to improve everyone's playing experience.

A bunker is any prepared area from which turf and soil has been removed and replaced with sand. If a ball is in a bunker, the player can play the ball as it lies within the bunker without incurring any penalty strokes. The player can also, under penalty of one stroke, deem the ball unplayable, and drop the ball inside the bunker.(Rule 28). The player can not test the condition of the bunker, nor can he/she touch the ground within the bunker with his/her hand or a club. The penalty for grounding is two strokes in stroke play, or loss of hole in match play. (Rule 13-4).

A water hazard is any sea, lake, pond, river, creek, ditch or anything of a similar nature on the course. If the ball is in a water hazard, the player may play the ball as it lies or, under penalty of one stroke, play a ball from where it was originally hit; or, under penalty of one stroke, drop a ball at any point along the ball's flight path toward the hazard. (Rule 26-1).

A lateral water hazard is a water hazard so situated that it is not possible or impractical to drop a ball behind the hazard. If the ball is in a lateral water hazard, in addition to the options for a ball in a water hazard, the player may under penalty of one stroke, drop a ball within two club lengths of the point of entry into the hazard; or, under penalty of one stroke, drop a ball on the opposite side of the hazard no closer to the hole. (Rule 26-1).

Penalties are incurred in certain situations. They are counted towards a player's score as if they were an extra swing at the ball. Strokes are added for rules infractions, or for hitting one's ball into an unplayable situation. A lost ball or a ball hit out of bounds result in a penalty of one stroke and distance. (Rule 27-1) A one stroke penalty is assessed if a players equipment causes the ball to move, or the removal of a loose impediment causes the ball to move. (Rule 18-2) If a golfer makes a stroke at the wrong ball (Rule 19-2), or hits a fellow golfer's ball with a putt (Rule 19-5), the player incurs a two stroke penalty. Most rule infractions lead to stroke penalties, but also can lead to disqualification. Disqualification could be from cheating, signing for a lower score, or from rules infractions that lead to improper play.

Golf clubs are used in the sport of golf to hit a golf ball. Each club is composed of a shaft with a lance (grip) on the top end and a clubhead on the bottom. Woods, are used for long-distance fairway shots; irons, the most versatile class, are used for a variety of shots, and putters, are used to roll the ball into the cup.

An important variation in different clubs is loft, or the angle between the club's face and the vertical plane. It is loft that makes a golf ball leave the tee on an ascending trajectory, not the angle of swing; virtually all swings contact the ball with a horizontal motion. The impact of the club compresses the ball, while grooves on the clubface give the ball backspin (a clockwise spin when viewed from a parallel standpoint to the left of the ball). Together, the compression and backspin create lift. The majority of woods and irons are labeled with a number; higher numbers indicate shorter shafts and higher lofts, which give the ball a higher and shorter trajectory.

While the variation of clubs can differ greatly between golfers, a set used to play a round of golf must have no more than 14 clubs. A full set typically consists of a driver, two fairway woods (generally 3- and 5-woods), a set of irons from 3 to 9, a pitching wedge, a sand wedge, a putter, and one more club of the player's choice. Many players opt to avoid the long irons (that many find difficult to hit), and replace them with more forgiving clubs, like hybrids.

Golf balls are famous for "dimples". These small dips in the surface of the golf ball decrease aerodynamic drag by increasing turbulence behind the ball in motion, which allows the ball to fly farther. A tee is used for resting the ball on top of for an easier shot; allowed only for the first stroke of each hole. Wood tees are inexpensive but plastic tees last longer. Long tees are suitable for woods and can position the ball higher off the ground. Short tees are suitable for irons and are less easily broken. Many golfers wear golf shoes with metal or plastic spikes attached to the soles. These shoes are designed to increase traction thus allowing for more longer, more accurate shots. A golf bag is used to transport golf clubs. Golf bags have several pockets designed for carrying various equipment and supplies required over the course of a round of golf. Golf bags can be carried, pulled on a two-wheel pull cart or harnessed to a motorized golf cart during play. Golf bags have both a hand strap and shoulder strap for carrying, and sometimes have retractable legs that allow the bag to sit upright when at rest. Golf also uses flags, known as the "pin" to show the position of the hole to players when they are too far away from the hole to see it clearly. When all players in a group are within putting distance, the pin, is removed by a "caddy" or a fellow competitor to allow for easier access to the hole.

The full golf swing is used in long distance shots or near the green from the fairway. Woods and irons can be used for the full swing. The golfer adjusts his/her swing to fit the circumstances of the play such as distance to the green, lie of the ball and location of the hazards. The face of the club starts on ground (except in sand play in which it is not permitted) square to the target line. For the right-handed golfer, it consists of a "backward swing" to the left, a "forward swing" back to the middle (where the ball is hit), and a "follow-through" back to the left.

The putt is used for putting the ball in the hole or closer to the hole (as in lagging) from the green or the fringe of the green. The putter is used for the putt. The golfer adjusts his/her putt to fit the circumstances of the play such as distance to the hole and slope of the green. The face of the club starts square to the target line. The club goes straight back and straight through along the same path like a pendulum.

The majority of professional golfers work as club or teaching professionals (pros), and only compete in local competitions. A small elite of professional golfers are "tournament pros" who compete full time on international "tours". Many club and teaching professionals working in the golf industry start as caddies or a general interest in the game, finding employment at golf courses and eventually moving on to certifications in their chosen profession. These programs include independent institutions and universities, and those that eventually lead to a Class A golf professional certification.

There are at least twenty professional golf tours, each run by a PGA or an independent tour organization, which is responsible for arranging events, finding sponsors, and regulating the tour. Typically a tour has "members" who are entitled to compete in most of its events, and also invites non-members to compete in some of them. Gaining membership of an elite tour is highly competitive, and most professional golfers never achieve it.

The most widely known tour is the PGA Tour, which tends to attract the strongest fields, outside the four Majors and the three World Golf Championships events. This is due mostly to the fact that most PGA Tour events have a first prize of at least US$800,000. The European Tour, which attracts a substantial number of top golfers from outside North America, ranks second to the PGA Tour in worldwide prestige. Some top professionals from outside North America play enough tournaments to maintain membership on both the PGA Tour and European Tour.

The other leading men's tours include the Japan Golf Tour, the Asian Tour (Asia outside Japan), the PGA Tour of Australasia, and the Sunshine Tour (for Southern Africa, primarily South Africa). These four tours, along with the PGA and European Tours, are full members of the trade body of the world's main tours, the International Federation of PGA Tours. Two other tours, the Canadian Tour and the Tour de las Américas (Latin America), are associate members of the Federation. All of these tours, except for the Tour de las Américas, offer points in the Official World Golf Rankings to golfers who make the cut in their events.

Golf is unique in having lucrative competition for older players. There are several senior tours for men 50 and older, the best known of which is the U.S.-based Champions Tour.

There are six principal tours for women, each based in a different country or continent. The most prestigious of these is the United States based LPGA Tour.

All of the leading professional tours for under-50 players have an official developmental tour, in which the leading players at the end of the season will earn a tour card on the main tour for the following season. Examples include the Nationwide Tour, which feeds to the PGA Tour, and the Challenge Tour, which is the developmental tour of the European Tour. The Nationwide and Challenge Tours also offer Official World Golf Rankings points.

The major championships are the four most prestigious men's tournaments of the year. In chronological order they are: The Masters, the U.S. Open, The Open Championship (referred to in North America as the British Open) and the PGA Championship.

The fields for these events include the top several dozen golfers from all over the world. The Masters has been played at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia since its inception in 1934. It is the only major championship that is played at the same course each year. The U.S. Open and PGA Championship are played at courses around the United States, while The Open Championship is played at courses in the UK.

The number of major championships a player accumulates in his career has an impact on his stature in the sport. Jack Nicklaus is considered to be the greatest golfer of all time, largely because he has won a record 18 professional majors, or 20 majors in total if his two U.S. Amateurs are included. Tiger Woods, who may be the only golfer in the foreseeable future likely to challenge Nicklaus's record, has won 14 professional majors (17 total if his three U.S. Amateurs are included), all before the age of 33. (To put this total in perspective, Nicklaus had won 11 professional majors and two U.S. Amateurs by his 33rd birthday, and did not win his 15th professional major until he was 35.) Woods also came closest to winning all four current majors in one season (known as a Grand Slam completed first by Bobby Jones) when he won them consecutively across two seasons: the 2000 U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship; and the 2001 Masters. This feat has been frequently called the Tiger Slam.

Prior to the advent of the PGA Championship and The Masters, the four Majors were the U.S. Open, the U.S. Amateur, the Open Championship, and the British Amateur. These are the four that Bobby Jones won in 1930 to become the only player ever to have earned a Grand Slam.

Women's golf does not have a globally agreed set of majors. The list of majors recognised by the dominant women's tour, the LPGA Tour in the U.S., has changed several times over the years, with the last change in 2001. Like the PGA Tour, the (U.S.) LPGA has four majors: the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA Championship, the U.S. Women's Open and the Women's British Open. Only the last of these is also recognised by the Ladies European Tour. The other event that it recognises as a major is the Evian Masters, which is not considered a major by the LPGA (but is co-sanctioned as a regular LPGA event). However, the significance of this is limited, as the LPGA is far more dominant in women's golf than the PGA Tour is in mainstream men's golf. For example, the BBC has been known to use the U.S. definition of "women's majors" without qualifying it. Also, the Ladies' Golf Union, the governing body for women's golf in the UK and Republic of Ireland, states on its official website that the Women's British Open is "the only Women's Major to be played outside the U.S." For many years, the Ladies European Tour tacitly acknowledged the dominance of the LPGA Tour by not scheduling any of its own events to conflict with the three LPGA majors played in the U.S., but that changed in 2008, with the LET scheduling an event opposite the LPGA Championship. The second-richest women's tour, the LPGA of Japan Tour, does not recognise any of the U.S. LPGA or European majors as it has its own set of three majors. However, these events attract little notice outside Japan.

Senior (50-and-over) men's golf does not have a globally agreed upon set of majors. The list of senior majors on the U.S.-based Champions Tour has changed over the years, but always by expansion; unlike the situation with the LPGA, no senior major has lost its status. The Champions Tour now recognises five majors: the Senior PGA Championship, the U.S. Senior Open, the Senior British Open, The Tradition and the Senior Players Championship.

Of the five events, the Senior PGA is by far the oldest, having been founded in 1937. The other events all date from the 1980s, when senior golf became a commercial success as the first golf stars of the television era, such as Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, reached the relevant age. The Senior British Open was not recognised as a major by the Champions Tour until 2003. The European Seniors Tour recognises only the Senior PGA and the two Senior Opens as majors. However, the Champions Tour is arguably more dominant in global senior golf than the U.S. LPGA is in global women's golf.

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Grand Slam (golf)

The Grand Slam in golf is winning all the golf's major championships in the same calendar year.

The Grand Slam in men's golf is an unofficial concept, having changed over time. In the modern era, The Grand Slam is generally considered to be winning all four of golf's major championships in the same calendar year. Before The Masters was founded, the national amateur championships of the U.S and the UK were considered majors along with the two national opens and only Bobby Jones has ever completed a grand slam with these. No man has ever achieved a modern grand slam, Tiger Woods being the closest in winning all four consecutively, but over two calendar years.

The term also refers to a tour tournament, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, an annual off season tournament contested by the winners of the four major championships.

The term "Grand Slam" was first applied to Bobby Jones' achievement of winning the four major golf events of 1930: The Open Championship, the U.S. Open Championship, the United States Men's Amateur Golf Championship and The (British) Amateur Championship. When Jones won all four, the sports world searched for ways to capture the magnitude of his accomplishment. Up to that time, there was no term to describe such a feat because no one had thought it possible. The Atlanta Journal's O.B. Keeler dubbed it the "Grand Slam," borrowing a bridge term. George Trevor of the New York Sun wrote that Jones had "stormed the impregnable quadrilateral of golf." Keeler would later write the words that would forever be linked to one of the greatest individual accomplishments in the history of sports: This victory, the fourth major title in the same season and in the space of four months, had now and for all time entrenched Bobby Jones safely within the "Impregnable Quadrilateral of Golf", that granite fortress that he alone could take by escalade, and that others may attack in vain, forever.

Tiger Woods and Jones remains the only men to have achieved the grand slam, since before the creation of The Masters and the advent of the professional era, the amateur championships were considered major championships.

The modern definition could not be applied until at least 1934, when the Masters was founded, and still carried little weight in 1953 when Ben Hogan, after winning the Masters, the US Open and The (British) Open, could not compete in the PGA Championship; the nearly concurrent PGA Championship and The (British) Open and the state of transatlantic travel made completing the Grand Slam impossible. Hogan is the only player to have won The Masters, the US and British opens in the same calendar year.

According to Arnold Palmer’s autobiography, "A Golfer's Life," in 1960 he (already having won the Masters and the U.S. Open that year) and his friend Bob Drum (of the Pittsburgh Press) on the trans-Atlantic flight to the Open at St Andrews came up with the idea that adding the British Open and PGA Championship titles that summer would constitute a modern Grand Slam. Drum spread the notion among the gathered media and it caught on.

Tiger Woods has come closest to meeting the modern definition of golf's Grand Slam by holding all four modern major championships simultaneously — the US Open Championship, The (British) Open Championship and the PGA Championship in 2000 and the 2001 Masters — although not in the same calendar year. This has been referred to as a Consecutive Grand Slam or, after the only player to achieve it, a Tiger Slam. In fact, even before Woods accomplished this, there was much debate over the definition of "Grand Slam". Fred Couples said "I don't know how I can put it more simply...if he wins all four, it's a Slam". As noted above, however, because there is no official definition, there is no definitive answer.

Only five golfers have won all four of golf's modern Majors at any time during their career, an achievement which is often referred to as a Career Grand Slam: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods. Both Woods and Nicklaus have three Career Grand Slams, having won each major at least three times.

A number of dominant players of their eras have failed to achieve the Career Grand Slam because of their inability to win a particular major. Sam Snead failed to win a US Open; Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson failed to win a PGA Championship; Lee Trevino failed to win The Masters; Byron Nelson and Raymond Floyd failed to win the Open Championship, which the former competed only once. These shortcomings have been attributed to various factors: a particular major is ill-suited to a player's game (this was cited especially with regard to Trevino and The Masters); the player lacked the ability to fully adapt to that major; the player simply experienced bad luck; or war had led to the cancellation of a major during the player's prime.

Women's golf also has a set of majors. No woman has completed a four-major Grand Slam, but Babe Zaharias won all three majors contested in 1950 and Sandra Haynie won both majors in 1974.

Six women have completed the Career Grand Slam by winning four different majors. There are variations in the set of four tournaments involved as the players played in different eras, and the women's tournaments defined as "majors" have varied considerably over time in a way that has not been paralleled in the men's game. The six are Pat Bradley, Juli Inkster, Annika Sörenstam, Louise Suggs, Karrie Webb, and Mickey Wright. Webb is separately recognized by the LPGA as its only "Super Career Grand Slam" winner, as she is the only one of the group to have won five different tournaments recognized as majors.

Although other women's tours, notably the Ladies European Tour and the LPGA of Japan Tour, recognize a different set of "majors", the U.S. LPGA is so dominant in global women's golf that the phrase "women's majors", without further qualification, is almost universally considered as a reference to the U.S. LPGA majors.

Senior (i.e., 50 and over) men's golf also has a set of majors. No man has ever won all of the senior majors contested in a year, even in the period between 1980 and 1982 when only two senior majors existed.

Today, a senior Grand Slam would arguably be a greater accomplishment than even the mainstream men's or women's Grand Slam, since senior golf has five majors instead of the four on the other tours.

No man has won all five of the current senior majors in his career. Miller Barber won both of the 1980-1982 senior majors, the Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open, during that time span, and won the inaugural Senior Players Championship in 1983. Those three tournaments would be the only senior majors until 1989, when The Tradition was first played. Prior to the founding of The Tradition, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player also completed that era's Career Senior Grand Slam. However, neither Barber, Palmer, nor Player would ever win The Tradition.

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Source : Wikipedia