by Jeff Skinner
The topics are varied and include issues on and off the course and more than just player performances. One of the more interesting topics came in at number twelve: Bad Manners. They call out all those knuckleheads that scream “Mashed Potatoes” and so on but the poster girl for bad manners was Michelle Wie at the Solheim Cup. Wie stormed off the green after putting out while her opponents were still putting, bad move Michelle.
Controversies abound on the list with everyone from Brandel Chamblee to Vijay Singh to anchored strokes and of course the never ending slow play debate.
Some of my favorites include Stacy Lewis’ win at the Women’s British Open at St. Andrews, Tianlang Guan’s Masters appearance and Lydia Ko’s explosion onto the professional golf scene. Adam Scott comes in at number seven for his redemptive Master victory and his heartwarming, victorious return to Australia. (One of my top ones for sure.)
Here are their top five:
5. Classic Courses: The USGA outdid itself this year with a return to Merion for the U.S. Open, heading back to The Country Club for the U.S. Amateur and topped it all with a Walker Cup at the revered National Golf Links of America. (One of my favorites.)
4. Inbee Park: Park mesmerized golf fans both male and female with her amazing start to the season. Park captured the first three majors on the LPGA joining the ranks of three LPGA Hall of Famers. She won six tournaments overall, remained world number one all season and was the Rolex Player of the Year. It was indeed an incredible season.
3. The USGA: For an organization that formerly preferred to be in the background they spent more time in the headlines then they would have liked. There was the anchoring ban that pitted them against the PGA Tour and the PGA of America and the shocking announcement during the PGA of their jumping to Fox Sports for the money and jilting longtime partner NBC. And to top it off the political infighting came to a head as their president tried a coup which, luckily for golf, failed. This is a year that the “golf guys” at the USGA would soon like to forget.
2. Phil Mickelson: Philly Mick finally won an Open but it wasn’t the U.S. variety. Phil the Thrill did that just when he had the round of a lifetime on Sunday at the Open Championship and he captured his first Claret Jug. This was the Open that he never had a chance to win but with a new philosophy and a “links” strategy Phil embraced links golf and became The Champion Golfer of the Year. (One of my top moments of the year.)
1. Tiger Woods: Tiger once again returned to world number one and earned five PGA Tour wins. His fellow players voted him PGA Tour Player of the Year but a major win still eluded him. Add to that the almost weekly rules controversies that followed him everywhere and you have Golf World’s number one newsmaker of 2013. Woods wouldn’t mind being here again in 2014 but he much rather be here for a few major wins and a bit less controversy.