Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Michelle Wie top our 2014 Birdies, Bogeys & Dreaded ‘Others’ roster
Tiger and Phil chalked up their worst seasons ever since turning pro, Rory made us forget about last year, and Michelle’s a major winner with her eye on a strong 2015.
Rory McIlroy may have been snubbed for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award — an egregious oversight by the U.K. voting public that did not sit well with his peers — but everything else was coming up Rory inside the ropes this golf year.
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) December 14, 2014
Lot of angry people on my timeline… Unfortunately as long as SPOTY continues to be a public vote then this will continue to happen! #Rory
— Luke Donald (@LukeDonald) December 14, 2014
Michelle Wie and the LPGA had similarly successful 2014s, with the former child star breaking through to win her first major title and lead the talent-rich tour to its most prosperous year ever.
On the flip side of the ledger were Tiger Woods and Ted Bishop, the former scuffling through another injury-ravaged campaign that ended with a last-place finish at his own event that featured a nauseating (literally) spate of chunks and runs. Bishop ravaged his own legacy with a couple of ill-advised forays into social media.
Rory. Other than his unceremonious dumping of ex-fiancee Caroline Wozniacki, the Boy Wonder could do no wrong and showed why he’s the presumptive Heir Apparent. He doubled his majors cache by winning the last two of the year and will enter 2015 as the odds-on favorite to capture the Masters and complete his personal grand slam, notch the Rory Slam with a W at the U.S. Open, and go five straight on the Old Course. Oh yeah, he also helped Europe beat the Americans yet again at the Ryder Cup.
After two triumphs in 2014 — the first on home turf in Hawaii — Wie rocketed from out of the top 100 to No. 6 in the world rankings and has her sights set on the top spot. And if the golf thing doesn’t work out for the well-rounded Stanford grad, Hollywood awaits, as Wie recently shot scenes for her upcoming Hawaii 5-0 cameo.
— Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) December 14, 2014
Women’s golf. Mike Whan — come on down! Thanks to the LPGA commissioner’s tireless efforts — and the rise of Wie, teen phenom Lydia Ko, Kraft Nabisco winner Lexi Thompson, and a burgeoning Stacy Lewis-Inbee Park rivalry — women’s golf enjoyed a resurgence that will continue with 33 events on the 2015 docket. Add in the R&A for flipping the calendar from 1950 to 2014 and finally allowing women members, and the PGA of America for paving the way for Suzy Whaley to become its first woman president, and it was a thrilling year for the women’s game.
Suzy Whaley becomes the first female officer in PGA history. pic.twitter.com/knZJEVyjzV
— Golf.com (@golf_com) November 22, 2014
Lydia. The LPGA Rookie of the Year just keeps winning, with three victories in 2014, a streak of no MCs in 42 tour events, and the biggest payout in LPGA history. She’s well on her way to becoming a one-name superstar following in the FootJoys of Annika, Lorena, Tiger, and Michael.
— Chad Coleman (@HashtagChad) November 23, 2014
Mini-Mo. There was no better shot on any tour this season than Mo Martin’s 3-wood to the 72nd hole of the Women’s British Open that resulted in an eagle and the W.
Drain-O! Although Paula Creamer’s unbelievable 75-foot putt was a close second.
— LPGA (@LPGA) November 16, 2014
— Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) November 16, 2014
Basher from Bagdad. Bubba Watson wrapped two PGA Tour wins around his second Masters victory, making him Rory’s primary rival come April.
The quiet(ing) man. Patrick Reed shushed the home crowd on his way to a stellar Ryder Cup debut. There was that matter of seeking Bubba’s counsel after his homophobic outburst, but the new dad saved his wife’s life with quick thinking and fast action.
— The Golfsauce (@golfsauce) October 15, 2014
Moto-man. Rickie Fowler, a renowned motocross enthusiast, may use those top-5 finishes in all four majors to put him in the Arnie-Jack, Bird-Magic, Tiger-Duvall/Phil/et al category with Rory in 2015.
Tiger. On the plus side, the former world No. 1 made it through four rounds of his Hero World Cup Challenge without any back pain and his new/old swing looked good. And that’s about it for the highlight reel for Woods, who made just seven tour starts, missed three cuts (including his first-ever MDF), carded two withdrawals, had back surgery, changed swing “consultants” yet again, and closed out his year by hurling chunks farther than he chunked nine chip shots at Isleworth.
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) December 7, 2014
Lefty. Phil Mickelson ended his worst season as a pro by taking a jab at Tom Watson. While his swing at the U.S. Ryder Cup skipper may have been indirect, it landed with more authority than many of his shots did in a year marked by three MCs, three WDs, and just one tour top-10 finish (T2 at the PGA Championship).
Staff at Gleneagles need to take the booze out of the US team room or Phil and Tom are going to be throwing bottles at each other. #RyderCup
— Paul Mahoney (@paulmahoneygolf) September 28, 2014
That wasn’t even a stab in the back by Mickelson. He knifed Watson in his chest in front of everyone. Brutally fascinating press conference
— Paul Mahoney (@paulmahoneygolf) September 28, 2014
Rainy day man. Then there’s the fair-weather Bubba, who can’t stand a little rain or apparently, good-natured fun when it means compromising his — um, what was it again he was opposed to in that pre-PGA Championship long-drive contest?
“Water on the clubface, bro… water on the clubface. I got no chance!” Bubba to caddie Ted Scott #PrayForTedScott
— Brendan Porath (@BrendanPorath) August 8, 2014
And don’t get us started on his solo turn as a Christmas rap “artist.” The Golf Boys’ single stint’s not music to our ears.
Clean sweep. Adam Scott is clinging to his broomstick for dear life, After having a cup of coffee as world No.1 and a distinctly ho-hum season anchored by a wretched putting exhibition at the Aussie PGA, however, perhaps it’s time for the 2013 Masters champ to go all Keegan Bradley and kick the habit.
Mr. High Five. Mickelson may be the king of flop shots, but Ian Poulter now reigns supreme as the LeBron James of PGA Tour flops after his reaction to a robust high-five from Franklin Templeton Shootout partner Billy Horschel.
DJ and the commish. Bouquets for the impending birth of your first baby with Golf Digest cover girl Paulina Gretzky, Dustin Johnson. But brickbats on leaving your Ryder Cup tam in the lurch with your extended voluntary or mandatory (pick one) sabbatical. And thanks, Ponte Vedra, for holding disciplinary decisions close to the vest in hopes that born-yesterday fans believe your players to be — in the lip-read words of Tom Brady — choirboys.
Old school. Tom Watson was hailed as an “outside the box” candidate who could lead the hapless Americans to the promised land for the first time since 2008. Instead, the 65-year-old was a complete disaster who was out of touch with his players, inexplicably sat the Mickelson-Keegan Bradley team for all of Saturday, and was on the receiving end of a 16.5-11.5 thrashing at the hands of the Euros.
Ted Bishop. Hand-picking Watson was bad enough, but it was certainly not an impeachable offense; the ex-PGA president’s sexist, offensive social media postings, however, were.
(screen shots via Ryan Ballengee)