It’s that time of the year again. Yes, the time of the year when everyone starts putting together their “top 10” or “best stories of the year” articles. So with 2011 only a few weeks away, I have compiled my list of Top Golf Stories of 2010, complete with Tigers and Irishman and Youngsters galore..
So here you go, Front9Back9’s Top 10 Golf Stories of 2010.
10.) Grooves debate–
The groove change in 2010 was by far the biggest equipment change in many years on tour. Phil Mickelson decided to prove a point, and the #2 golfer in the world brought out old school Ping Eye2 wedges, which are exempt from the new rule, to play at Torrey Pines. John Daly and Hunter Mahan did the same. That same week, Scott McCarron called Mickelson a cheater. The first couple months of the 2010 season all we heard about was how ridiculous the rule was. Over time, the talk faded, and everyone went back to playing the legal wedges.
9.) Tiger Woods divorce.
The reports were everywhere. $250 million, $350 million and even $500 million is what Elin would walk away with. In the end, nobody knows for sure. When the sorid details continued to be released, the divorce seemed imminent. In August it was made final. The final report I saw was about $100 million as the final settlement. Along with that, Tiger would not be allowed to bring his kids around any of his girlfriends and they would share custody.
8.) Louis Oosthuizen wins the Open Championship
I have to admit, I put the other major victories ranked higher on my list because of one thing: The Open Championship victory by Louis Oosthuizen was boring. The victory was pretty much locked up half way through the back nine, and Oosthuizen dominated all day Sunday. He continued to hit every tee shot down the middle and did nothing to make it exciting. I’m not trying to take the victory away from Louis, but I just don’t remember the ending.
7.) Jim Furyk takes home PGA Tour Player of the Year
For the first time in his career, Jim Furyk won the PGA Tour Player of the Year. There could have been many other years he was deserving of the award, but a guy by the name of Tiger Woods has dominated this award since he came on tour. Furyk was voted by his peers after winning the Fed Ex Cup and ended 2nd on the money list.
6.) Tiger Woods loses #1 ranking
281. That is the number of weeks Tiger Woods held the #1 spot in the World Golf Rankings. Lee Westwood overtook him in October and set off a flurry of discussion about how someone who has not won a major can reach #1 in the rankings. In Westwoods’ eyes, being #1 is much better than winning a major. To me, it really just shows how consistent he has been over the last couple years. My predictions for 2011 are coming later, and I thing Tiger will end up taking back #1.
5.) Unfortunately Europe won the Ryder Cup
I say unfortunately because I am an American, and I want the United States to win everything. I was at Vallhalla in 2008 and it was the most amazing golf event I have attended. I am just glad the U.S. put up a decent fight, but in the end, the European team took the . Now the United States must rebuild the team, get decent rain gear, and show up in Chicago in 2012 and take the cup back. Reports are surfacing that Davis Love III will be names early next year, but nothing has been officially announced yet.
4.) Graeme McDowell and the year of the Irish
Capped off by a sudden death win over Tiger Woods in his own tournament, it seems the U.S. Open catapulted McDowell to stardom. Starting off with a dramatic U.S. Open win, followed by a European victory in the Ryder Cup, some will argue Graeme McDowell had the best year. The win over Tiger in the Chevron World Challenge was just fitting for McDowell, and he stopped short of rubbing salt in Tiger’s wounds. Can McDowell continue his great play next year? We will see, he plans on playing a lot on the PGA Tour.
3.) Phil Mickelson takes home his 3rd green jacket
In an emotional finish with his wife Amy behind the 18th green, Phil Mickelson quieted all the “Tiger Woods return” talk and took home his third green jacket. His closing round 67 was great, but the shot of year had to be the 6-iron from the pine needles on the par-5 13th, which landed about five feet from the hole. This Masters was pretty special for Mickelson, who dedicated the win to Amy, who is battling breast cancer. It was a spectacular tournament and one that I will remember forever.
2.) Dustin Johnson and the infamous bunker
Dustin Johnson grounded his club in a fairway bunker on the 18th hole at Whistling Straits, and was given a two-shot penalty. This kept him out of the playoff with Martin Kaymer and Bubba Johnson. The mishap completely overshadowed the win for Martin Kaymer and most people probably had to go back to see who actually won. So was the ruling correct? Technically it was right on. He grounded his club in a bunker and admitted he didn’t read the rule sheets, which addressed the potential issue. The call could have gone either way, and most people probably didn’t even notice, but a bunker is a bunker and the PGA made the call. I am sure Johnson will take a second, and third, and fourth look next time he is in that situation.
1.) Tiger Woods struggles
Coming into 2010, we didn’t know how much golf Tiger Woods would be playing. Heck, nobody even knew where the guy was after that infamous Thanksgiving night. It wasn’t until February, when Tiger Woods showed up at a news conference and apologized for his behavior. He told the world he needed to get back to his Buddhist roots, and went on his way. A couple weeks later, word came down he would make his return at the Masters, and ended up finishing fourth. But that was just the start of a year in which Tiger Woods struggled and could not put together four good rounds in a tournament, and he finished the year with no victories. Add that to a costly divorce, losing an instructor, picking up a new instructor and blowing a lead in his own tournament, I think I am pretty comfortable saying this was the worst year in Tiger’s life.
Do you have a story you would like to add? Let me know. Coming soon is my predictions for 2011, and a few players who better get their game in gear.