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2013 U.S. Women's Open

2013 U.S. Women's Open

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PGA Tour Confidential: Park wins third leg of Grand Slam, Bill Haas takes AT&T

Inbee Park
Frank Franklin II / AP
Inbee Park won the U.S. Women's Open by four shots for her third straight major title of 2013.

Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. Inbee Park steamrolled the field at Sebonack for her third straight major title of 2013, but despite her amazing season, Park has barely moved the attention needle. What's the bigger problem here? Flat-line personality? Lack of a glamorous look? Lack of excitement in her swing/game? Media burnout with successful Koreans?

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: The problem isn't Park. It is the LPGA's. I'm not sure it would matter who had won the first three majors of the season. And that's really sad, because Park is far and away the best player in the world. She finishes eight under and wins by four on in an event where only two others break par? Wow!

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: That list is an impressive start. You can blame the media, but it's deeper than that. It's society. If she looked like Natalie Gulbis or even Nancy Lopez, it would be a whole different thing.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, It's probably a little of everything, but I for one have seen enough: it's time to take notice and enjoy what's happening here.

Joe Passov, senior editor, travel, Golf Magazine: Should we tap into a PR specialist--or a psychologist--to answer this one? Obviously, the answer is e) all of the above, but if I had to pick one for me, it's the personality. Park drains so many awesome long putts, and responds with that itty bitty smile and an even smaller wave of the hand. I emote more when I successfully swat a fly. I can respect her (immensely) all day long, but I'm not caring that much.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Park's problem is she isn't glamorous and she plays on the LPGA tour, which gets precious little major network TV exposure. This win might start to expand her image. Or it might not.

Stephanie Wei, She was actually quite charismatic in the trophy presentation. I think to a certain extent her flatline/robotic demeanor is why she's so darn good. And I think that with women's sports -- whether it's right or wrong -- beauty and glamour are part of what makes an athlete popular. It's just a superficial part of our culture that people don't like to talk about, but it's true.

2. This season the LPGA reclassified the Evian Championship as a fifth major. If Park gets to four, is that enough for you to call it a Grand Slam? Where would four out of five rank among golf's all-time greatest seasons? What if she sweeps all five?

Godich: Win at St. Andrews and give her the Grand Slam. I don't think anyone will much care how she fares at the Evian -- win or lose.

Passov: Try as they might, the LPGA never gets this right, and probably never will. The Ladies Canadian Open, formally known as the Peter Jackson, was converted from regular to major, then back again...and if you didn't win it when it had "major" status, then you didn't win a major. They eventually granted the Dinah Shore "major" status, long after everybody knew it was a major, then they renamed it, with a commercial entity in the title, which just screams "major." Women's British? Only recently acquired "major" status. And the Evian? As Brandel Chamblee wryly observed on the wrap-up show, if you can't remember whether or not you won it, it can't be a major. No Grand Slam for me, no matter what she does, because the requisite pressure of winning four long-accepted majors isn't in place. Win the first four, however, and Park deserves to mentioned alongside Hogan's '53 season. Win 'em all, and it will rank with Nelson's 11 in a row and Jones' Slam.

Bamberger: She wins the British, she has the Grand Slam. If she wins Evian, it's a nice win and a nice paycheck. But winning the Big Four? That would make this season one of the all-time great seasons in golf. Period. The only thing lacking would be intense interest by the public. Inbee can't control that. But she can control her ball, and that must bring her a deep satisfaction.

Van Sickle: You can't just dub something a major. The Evian isn't a real major and won't be until it stands the test of time. If Park wins the other four, that's a slam. This is a terrific achievement for her. That said, she's doing it at a time when women's golf seems a little light on great players. What future Hall of Famers is she beating? I don't know, maybe none, but she is beating them.

Wei: I wouldn't be surprised if Inbee wins all five. She's absolutely amazing and unflappable. And if she wins the Women's British Open, I'd consider it winning the Grand Slam. What fifth major? It's so contrived. Even if she only wins four out of five, it has to be the greatest season of all time. Remember, she's also the defending champion of this new fifth major, the Evian.

Ritter: If she wins the British Open that's four in a row, and that's a Grand Slam. End of story.

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