It’s nearing the end of 2014 and whenever we reach the end of something, it’s always fun to look back and relive all the memorable moments of the year. Every year is a great year for golf. The sport continues to grow, the fans continue to watch, and history continues to be made. This year was no different. The headlines ranged from the Good, to the Bad, to the Very Ugly, but we were entertained, and that’s all we can really ask for.
Let’s look back, month by month, on Golf in the Year 2014.
Not much golfing news in the wintery month of January, but this past year the announcement was made of a new amateur tournament, the Latin America Amateur Championship. The first annual tournament will kick off in just a few weeks. The winner will receive invites to The Masters, The Amateur Championship, the US Amateur, and automatic entry to final qualifying for the US Open and The Open Championship. Sadly, the golf world lost pro golfer and Rochester, New York native Danielle Downey in January in a car accident.
It was late February when we watched Tiger unable to finish the final round of the Honda Classic complaining of back pain, and he eventually announced he would miss The Masters, too.
Patrick Reed became the youngest golfer ever to win a World Golf Championship event at the age of 23 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Ahh, April. Spring is finally in the air, and golf season officially starts. Bubba Watson claimed his second green jacket at The Masters on April 13th. Twenty-year-old Jordan Spieth made a name for himself during his first Masters appearance, too, after entering the final round tied with Bubba at five-under. He fell behind on that final round shooting a 72 to Bubba’s 69, however he never really disappeared from the spotlight in 2014. Getting nostalgic for The Masters as I type this… only four more cold and snowy months.
May was a busy month in the golf world. Adam Scott was named the world’s number one golfer, Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest golfer to win on the European Tour, extending his own record. Jimenez won the Open de Espana at 50 years and 133 days old. In amateur golf, Duke Women’s Golf Team claim its sixth team title while Alabama took the men’s team title. German Martin Kaymer won The Players Championship and Rory McIlroy took the BMW PGA Championship. Phew, busy month, indeed!
Kaymer won again just weeks after claiming the top spot at The Players Championship, this time becoming the first German player to win The US Open. (He is also the first player to win both of those tournaments in the same year). Meanwhile, Michelle Wie won her first major at the US Women’s Open, which, some say has helped to rejuvenate her career.
Rory McIlroy made history in July by winning his first Open Championship, becoming just the fourth golfer ever to win at least three majors by the age of twenty-five.
August was a huge month for McIlroy. The first weekend, he celebrated a win at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and just a week later, McIlroy defeated Phil Mickelson by one stroke at the PGA Championship, marking his third win in three starts. He also regained his top spot in the rankings. There was some drama in the golfing world when Tiger announced he and longtime swing coach, Sean Foley, would part ways. He had failed to win any majors with Foley as his coach. It was also during August that we learned Dustin Johnson had failed his drug test and was suspended from the tour for six months. He later announced he was stepping away from golf for the foreseeable future, most likely to deal with his drug problems. Wish you the best, Dustin!
Billy Horschel won the BMW Championship and eventually the Tour Championship in September, sparking lots of discussion when he made the decision to play and risk missing the birth of his daughter. Fortunately, his daughter decided to hold off and was born a few days later. Rickie Fowler finished eighth at The Tour Championship after placing in the top five of all four majors this year. Fowler’s in good company, becoming just the third man to ever do that along with Tiger and some guy named Jack Nicklaus. September also saw Team Europe defeat the Americans in the Ryder Cup by a score of 16.5 to 11.5. Meanwhile, Kim Hyo-joo shot a 61 in the first round of the Evian Championship, the lowest score ever recorded in a major championship by either sex.
October, fall weather and the winding down of golf news…. or though we thought. PGA President, Ted Bishop made headlines after referring to Ian Poulter as a “little girl” on Twitter. The remarks came off as sexist, and he was forced to step down from his presidency, albeit just a month before his term was scheduled to end. Four inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame were announced: Laura Davies, David Graham, Mark O’Meara, and A.W. Tillinghast.
Bubba showed off his winning ways again, this time overseas when he defeated Tim Clark in a playoff during the WGC-HSBC Championship. It was his first World Golf Championship, but surely not his last.
Golf news is always big news to me, and it’s always fun to look back and see everything that went really right… and really wrong. I’m super excited to see where 2015 takes the game of golf. The return of Tiger! Rory on top! With that, we celebrate the end of 2014. A happy and healthy New Years to you and yours, and we will see ya next year, Rockheads!