LLG Award Season: Major of the Year
by Jeff Skinner
The 2012 major season gave us plenty to cheer about. From Bubba to Webb to Ernie and Rory we were treated to some great golf and some amazing theater.
Rory McIlroy won his second major at The PGA Championship and in doing so put to rest any doubt about who was the man. Rory became the man with that win as he cruised to an eight stroke win. The only thing that even rivaled Rory that week was the luscious course at Kiawah Island.
The Open Championship will long be remembered for Adam Scott’s poor play over the last four holes. But his stumble enabled Ernie Els to claim his fourth major championship and gave us one of the feel good stories of the year. Ernie not only displayed a steady game in the clutch he showed what a classy man he was by the way he embraced and honored his friend Scott afterwards.
At the U.S. Open there was hope that Tiger Woods might break his major slump but his game left him on the weekend. Seventeen year old amateur Beau Hossler made us think about Francis Ouimet. Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk teed off in the final group and it looked liked Furyk would finally claim another major. But a slow play warning got him out of sorts and he spent some damaging time in the trees at Olympic. But as Furyk and GMac and Ernie Els and Lee Westwood all faded, Webb Simpson hung on and came from four strokes back to win his first major. He was the last man standing and it seemed he hadn’t won the Open but survived it.
Following the 2012 Masters, every major had their work cut out for them. For sheer drama and excitement The Masters stood out from its three counterparts. Sunday at Augusta was about as exciting as a tournament can get. But two shots will forever be remembered from that final round, one a bit more than the other.
Long before Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen squared off in the playoff Louie had hit the shot of the tournament, or so we thought. On the par five second Oosthuizen, for his second shot unleashed a 265 yard fairway wood that rolled on the green and dropped into the hole for the rarest of golf shots, The Double Eagle. It put him in the lead and it looked like a legend was about to be born.
But Bubba Watson wasn’t fading coming down the stretch. He kept his cool and putted like a fiend with four straight birdies on the back nine. Bubba and Louie headed to a playoff with the whole world watching. On the tenth hole Bubba hit the shot from out of this world: “just a 40 yard hook with a 52 degree wedge” he called it.
It was the shot that trumped Louie’s double eagle. It was the shot that won The Masters. It was the shot that made Bubba a folk hero and it was the shot that made The Masters the best major of the year.