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Discussion continues over "Grand Slam"

His round long over at the Masters, Rocco Mediate stood in the locker room with his eyes on the television. He wanted to watch history unfold.

Tiger Woods completed a clean sweep of all four majors Sunday. He's the best player in the game. Whether the achievement should be called a Grand Slam or something else didn't seem like such an important issue to Mediate, or most of the other players left in Woods' wake.

"I hear some people want to call it a double dip," Mediate said. "He's won four Grand Slams in a row. Who else does that?"

For the record, Bobby Jones did, back in 1930, when the slam consisted of the U.S. and British Opens and the U.S. and British Amateurs. But that was a different era, and Woods is a different player.

Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus said it can't be considered a true Grand Slam unless all four events are won in the same calendar year.

"Ridiculous," Palmer said, a few weeks ago.

Tiger Woods walks on to Augusta's 18th on Sunday. Allsport.

But to the past greats of the game, the debate is more about history and tradition. The current players must deal with the gauntlet Woods has thrown in front of them, as he continues to dominate on golf's grandest stages.

Several of those who had hopes of beating him Sunday, then saw their own mistakes and Woods' unrelenting consistency derail them, were deferential.

"I'd say it's a Grand Slam," said Mark Calcavecchia, who played in the second-to-last group and stuck around the 18th hole to watch Woods finish. "I know some of the historians feel differently. They think you need to win all four in one year. Of course, he could still do that, too."

Many others shared that sentiment.

"It's an accomplishment we've never seen before, but we may see it before we're done," said Woods' swing coach, Butch Harmon.

"He's got four together on the mantle right now, and that's a Grand Slam," Chris DiMarco said. "It doesn't matter what order it came in. Of course, he might go out and win three more in a row and shut everyone up."

DiMarco was the young kid with the strange putting grip who led the tournament after two rounds. He got to play with Woods in the third, and fell behind. When the tournament was over, he summed up the feeling of many a less-seasoned player who has tried to compete with Woods and lost.

"Even though we're not, we're kind of in awe of him," DiMarco said. "He's out there winning all these majors, and we're trying to compete with him."

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who has shepherded the tour's massive growth on the coattails of Woods' dominance, gives Tiger full credit for a slam.

The tour runs The Players Championship, and has long touted it as a fifth major of sorts. It's not, but even if it was, Woods wouldn't have to worry. Two weeks ago, he defeated the best field in golf at the TPC at Sawgrass. He now becomes the first to win The Players and Masters in the same year.

"I think it's a slam, with all due respect to Jack and Arnie," Finchem said. "It's just different to what we had when we grew up. What he has done against fields of such quality and in this environment it's the biggest achievement in golf."

Steve Stricker was one of the few willing to voice dissent in this Grand Slam debate, although he conceded it was a remarkable accomplishment.

"I just don't think it's a Grand Slam because he didn't do it all in one year," Stricker said.

By this point, that seemed like mere nitpicking to those who had just seen Woods run over them again.

"Call it what you want," Mediate said. "It's spectacular."


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