One writer’s jaundiced eye’s view of
golf’s 2010 highs and lows:
MOST OVER-REPORTED STORY: Tiger
Woods’ dalliances. It is none of our business what he does off the golf course, unless he breaks the law. And there is no law
against being stupid. At least not yet.
MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY:
Bernhard Langer, 53, won the Senior British Open and traveled eight time zones to
Seattle and won the U.S. Senior Open – the
next week. Unless you have a lot of overseas frequent-flier miles, you don’t realize
how nearly impossible a feat that is – and
at his age.
MOST ADO ABOUT NOTHING: Grooves.
Period. Before the season started, all the
so-called experts insisted that V-grooves
would dramatically affect how professional
players would score. It was going to be a
game-changer, they bellowed. Notice any
BEST SHOT: You might say that it was
Jonathan Byrd’s 204-yard 6-iron for a hole-
in-one to win a playoff
at Las Vegas. Or you
could choose Rocco
wedge that helped him
win the Frys.com Open.
But the clear choice
has to be Phil Mickel-
son’s 6-iron from 207
yards at the 13th hole on the final day of
The Masters. It was behind a tree, off pine
straw, and with the championship in the
balance. The shot landed three feet from
the hole and in classic Mickelson-esque
form, he missed the eagle putt, but won
the green jacket that he wore to a Krispy
Kreme the next day.
WORST SHOT: Take your pick of any of
the seven that Robert Garrigus took on the
final hole of the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., that squandered his three-shot
lead on the 18th tee and put him into a
playoff that he and Robert Karlsson lost to
WORST SHORT-TERM MEMORY: Garrigus, who apparently deleted Memphis from
his hard drive in winning the last official
event of the PGA Tour year, the Children’s
Miracle Network Classic, with a final-round
WORST DECISION: On his third shot
on the second hole in his final round of
the U.S. Open – while he was leading the
championship – Dustin Johnson elected
to turn his wedge upside down and hit the
shot left-handed from the greenside rough.
You wanted to yell at the television: “Don’t
do it!” He made a triple-bogey seven on his
way to an 82.
BEST ROUND: Rory McIlroy’s final-round, 10-under 62 to win the Quail Hollow
Championship. The Quail Hollow Club,
which will host the 2017 PGA Championship, is one of the best, most difficult PGA
Tour venues. No one in their right mind
ever saw a 62 as possible at Quail Hollow.
WORST EFFORT: Woods at Quail Hollow
in his second-round 79 that caused him to
miss the cut. He shot 7-over 43 on the back
nine and we thought we’d never see the
day that Woods would give up on a round,
but there it is.
WORST MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE:
Doug Barron, who you might never have
heard of, was booted from the PGA Tour
under its drug policy for taking testosterone, prescribed by his doctor. It is not that
testosterone makes you a better putter, it
is the Tour making itself politically correct,
a wrongheaded way to run a railroad. After
missing much of 2009 and 2010, the Tour
lifted the ban and Barron reached the second stage of Q-School but didn’t advance.
BEST PLAYER UNDER 21: The easy call
is Ryo Ishikawa, the 19-year-old Japanese
sensation who shot 58 in a tournament this
year on the Japan Tour. But Italian Matteo
Manassero is only 17 and won on the European Tour, a much tougher place to break
through. And, unlike Ishikawa, Manassero
doesn’t have a headcover that looks like
BEST MOMENT FOR WOMEN’S GOLF:
Paula Creamer, with a painfully injured
thumb, won the U.S. Women’s Open at
Oakmont, which must be a terribly difficult
place to play for women. The LPGA Tour
needs Creamer – and Michelle Wie, Cristie
Kerr, Natalie Gulbis, Morgan Pressel, et
al – to win and win often if it is to survive in
this economic climate.
WORST HAIRDO: McIlroy, who had
frosted his curly locks blonde – or platinum
or something – when he showed up at the
UBS Hong Kong Open. It was bad enough
that his Harpo Marx “do” spills gratuitously
out of his hat. At the end of the day, it is a
last-minute save for Rickie Fowler, who
would have been in this space instead.
WORST WARDROBE: Fowler, who can’t
get out of this column unscathed. That
all-orange deal he wears on Sundays is
just ghastly. Fowler gets the slight nod over
John Daly, who wears the worst pants ever
on Tour. Ever. The best news is that Daly’s
slacks manufacturer does not do shirts.
WORST SPONSOR’S EXEMPTION: Daly,
who out of 20 he received in 2010, missed
five cuts, withdrew three times and finished
193rd on the money list. Sponsors still say
he brings people through turnstiles. Why?
BEST MOMENT FOR HUMANITY: Just
when you are about to lose your faith in
professional golfers as greedy, ego-driven
cash machines, up steps In-Kyung Kim of
rarely do they come out of their own pockets. Stand up and cheer for this one. l