Stephanie Wei and I decided to team up (Go team!) last week and come up with some categories that would help put a wrap on 2009. Since it is already 2010 and most of you probably don't even remember much of last year, I'm here to help you with one more refresher. Check Steph's post right here.
Most Absurd Whine
Remember back at this year's PGA Championship, when Y.E. Yang heroically defeated Tiger Woods to win his first major championship and debunk Woods' perfect record after 54 holes? Yeah, people made a big deal about Yang walking off greens before Tiger putted out, and visa versa. Listen, go to any professional golf tournament, and notice this -- everyone does this all the time. It is part of the trade. It seemed people were trying their damnedest to make Yang look like a jerk, when in reality, he was just being a professional golfer, focused on his game and his game alone.
Stewart Cink's fist pump after the birdie dropped on the 72nd was great. Y.E. Yang raising the bag after his putt disappeared at the PGA Championship was fantastic. But this one was the best, hands down. Well played, Jason Hargett.
Biggest Choke Job
A birdie on the 16th hole at Augusta National gave Kenny Perry so much breathing room you'd think he could have just tossed the green jacket on before he walked to the 17th tee and played in while wearing it, a la David Simms. But as the annoying folks say, "that's why they play the game." Perry's bogey-bogey finish lost him Masters and the chance to be the feel-good story of the PGA Tour season. It also gave the public (read: men) less face time with Lesslye, his extremely attractive daughter.
Best Clutch Performance
Back in the summer of 2003, I was in a small airport on the east coast, flying back with my dad from a golf trip in Myrtle Beach. We, ignorantly, picked the early Sunday flight during the British Open, and were trying to catch the closing action before boarding. A man by the name of Ben Curtis was on the 72nd hole at Royal St. George's, with a par putt to post 69 on Sunday, and my dad and I both agreed -- if he makes this putt, he might just sneak into a Claret Jug. It was almost like you felt it. The same went for Stewart Cink at Turnberry this year. Failing to birdie the par-5 17th, you almost knew a birdie on 18 could get him into a playoff if Tom Watson started to stumble. When the putt dropped, you could tell he was thinking the same thing. The rest is history, but his 72nd hole birdie was as clutch as they get.
At this point in sports, with all the news hitting the shelves about Tiger Woods and his ladies, I'd say the best cover-up this year is that nobody else has been dragged into the mud. You know these pro golfers are fooling around all the time, and partying and doing the dirty. I'm surprised we haven't heard of any other names. Stay tuned.
Biggest Girl Problems
I'm not sure if you heard, but apparently Tiger has a bit of a thing for girls. Yeah, we were as shocked as you. (Also, I'd like to take a second to give one of my final Tiger rants, and since Steph and I talked about this, I thought it was appropriate here. As golf bloggers, we are obliged to write about things like the Tiger scandal, but at the end of the day, we are all huge golf fans that started doing this because he have a thing for the sport. The Tiger thing crushed us as much as it crushed anyone (except for Elin), because he was our savior, the one most likely to walk on water (which he did, in an EA commercial for goodness sakes) and the one good guy in a world of shitty pro athletes. But above all that, the thing that really gets me about this is Tiger is either A.) way dumber than we all thought or B.) has such an ego that he believed he could continue to get away with all this because, as he once said, "He is Tiger Woods." So, it almost like Tiger duped us, just to show he is better than us, and that is what pisses me off. We all loved the guy, and he had to go and be an asshole like the rest of them. Thanks, bro.)
Best Feel-Good Moment
While some consider Phil Mickelson FIGJAM, nobody can look past what Phil and his wife Amy did for breast cancer this summer when she was diagnosed with the horrible disease. PGA Tour players wore pink. Phil added a ribbon to his hat. Awareness was plentiful. And if that wasn't enough, Lefty decided to play Bethpage Black, and nearly won the U.S. Open, his one unattainable tournament. Maybe it takes something bad to bring us a little closer, so I felt if Phil hadn't been "a man of the people" prior to this season, he sure is now.
I have to side with Stephanie on this one and go with Greg Norman. A year ago he was nearly winning the British Open, and bringing his new wife Chris Evert around to caddie at the Par-3 Masters Tournament and hug and smile their way around the course. Now, he's divorced and arguably the worst captain in Presidents Cup history (and had to walk around Harden Park with a damn cast on his arm!). Hey, at least he didn't pick a slumping fellow countryman as one of his picks, to the grumbles of others. Oh wait ...
Best Tiger Temper Tantrum
Hey, fore right, gallery!
Least Interesting Golfer
I'm super happy to give this one out to one of my least favorite people on tour, Chris DiMarco. The guy walks around with a look like he just ate a bad sunflower seed, and hasn't been relevant since he nearly took down Tiger at the Masters in 2005. This past season showed DiMarco continue to struggle, carding just four top-25s, zero top-10s and ten missed cuts. On top of that, the former Florida Gator had to see his team suffer in the SEC Championship against Alabama, and he wasn't invited to a single major championship.
Anthony Kim versus Robert Allenby was one of the more entertaining, if not bizarre, athletic feuds of the year. If you don't recall, Allenby got absolutely obliterated by Kim in the singles matches at the Presidents Cup, only to complain about Kim partying until 4 AM, saying, "Maybe we should all take the theory of Anthony Kim. Get home at 4 o'clock (in the morning) and then go shoot 6 under."
The best part is the two met again at the Volvo World Match Play Championships, and this picture below was their handshake. Yeah, they look happy to see each other.
Favorite Tiger Mistress
I'm a fan of originality and first to come forward, so I've always had a little soft spot in my heart for Rachel Uchitel. She came forward about this to start, admitted to doing some drugs with Tiger and has been in the rumor mill since about possibly maybe could be hanging with Tiger even after all the news hit. She just seems like the type of girl you'd want to take home to meet your current wife.
The Tom Watson Award
Man, the guy should have won that damn tournament. We love you Stewart, but it would have been the golf story of the decade (that actually dealt with golf).