Mendoza: SMB’s exit was never a surprise

Al Mendoza

ONE of the hardest to achieve is winning the Grand Slam.

In golf, the Grand Slam is composed of the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA.

Before the Masters’ birth in 1934, Bobby Jones won golf’s Grand Slam in a single year in 1930, with the fourth Slam then being the U.S. Amateur Championship.

The Masters at Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia, was built in 1934 by Jones, making it officially the first of golf’s four Slams that year.

I was lucky enough to cover Frankie Miñoza’s one and only stint in the Masters—in 1991, when Ian Woosnam prevailed by sinking a pressure-packed eight-footer on the 72nd hole to win the 57th Masters by one.

After Jones, only five others have so far scored career Grand Slams but not calendar Grand Slams: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

A career Slam is winning all four majors in different years but a calendar Slam is sweeping all four in the same year.

In tennis, Don Budge won the first calendar Grand Slam (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open) in 1938. The other winners were Maureen Connolly, Rod Laver (twice), Margaret Court and Steffi Graf (twice).

At home, our PBA Grand Slam is composed of the Philippine Cup, Commissioner’s Cup and the Governors’ Cup.

Crispa won it twice in 1976 and 1983, followed by San Miguel Beer in 1989, Alaska in 1996 and San Mig Coffee in 2014.

The Beermen were knocking on a second Slam until they got knocked out by Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday, Nov. 24.

After winning the year’s first two conferences, SMB appeared poised to go for the Slam.

But the team ran into issues with its import, got its three players suspended indefinitely by management itself for a “basket-brawl” during practice and then, playing undermanned, battled Ginebra facing a twice-to-beat curse.

With the Gins not in the mood to spare even an inch of hope, they sent their sister-team packing up, shoving the Slam-seekers to ignominy which was, sad to say, of their own undoing.

Truly, the Slam is reserved only for the worthiest.