What a crazy, wacky and sometimes wild year it was in golf during 2018. From Major accomplishments to historic moments. We take a look at the top golf news stories of 2018 or at least the way that I see it.
#10 – Farewell Abbey??
Don’t mind me waving the maple leaf for a few moments to get started. This story may not be big news anywhere else in the world. However, this is a story that’s significant for the Canadian golf fanbase. The “House That Jack Built”. Mr. Nicklaus’ first solo design Glen Abbey is a course in nearby Oakville, Ontario. A course that’s historic in many ways. The most poignant detail is the fact that it’s hosted the Canadian Open a record 30 times. When Dustin Johnson closed out the victory on that Sunday it might have been the last time that the venue will be used. There’s been a massive fight between a real estate developer that wants to turn the property into high-priced GTA (Greater Toronto Area) condos and those that want to turn Glen Abbey into a heritage site. The latter would save the iconic Canadian course. I’m trying to refrain from singing “Sound of Silence” but it makes me sad.
#9 – Bradley Back
In a way this story sort of ties in with the previous one. I was watching Keegan Bradley during the Tuesday practice round for the 2018 Canadian Open. He was looking real good out there and he had a decent finish. Bradley would finish 4th in the tournament (four strokes back of DJ). Earlier in the year, there were glimpses of his former brilliance. It was a lifetime ago it seems when he won his Major. Then during the FedEx Cup Playoffs… it finally happened. After an exciting playoff with Justin Rose the Cleveland/Srixon Golf staffer won and snapped a 6-year winless drought. Who doesn’t love a good comeback story?
#8 – Revolving Door At The Top
Parity. It’s all over professional sports. On any given day any team can win. In golf it’s individuals. While some people think golf is lacking some “hoospah” these days I think it’s an exciting time for the game. Look at all of the young gun’s they’re all fearless. Look no further than the Official World Golf Rankings. This year seemed like there was always constant movement at the top. A proberbial “revolving door”. Currently, Brooks Koepka (who got the ESPN snub) is the World #1 on the men’s side. In no particular order Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson both were #1 at certain points in 2018. Say… wasn’t Justin Thomas there as well?
#7 Reed Wins The Masters
Love him or hate him (the majority hates him) Patrick Reed won the 2018 Masters Tournament. In what will go down in golf history as the most disliked champion of all time the reality is that Reed has his place in the rich history of Augusta National. Reed has long been known for a strong opinion and I sort of like him because he isn’t… you know… “finished”. It’s never a dull moment when he’s in front of some sort of media. By the way… he’s going to be placing the Green Jacket on Tommy Fleetwood in 2019 at the Butler Cabin.
#6 – Lexi Wins CME
The final event on the LPGA Tour is the CME Group TOUR Championship held annually at Tiburon Golf Club in lovely Naples, Florida. Lexi Thompson had a tough 2018 season. The personable 23 year-old withdrew earlier in the year from the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Following that withdrawal she would take some time off to “recharge” her “mental batteries” as she described it on Instagram. Later on, it came out that she was struggling with “body image” as well. Taking the time off from professional golf to focus on herself was a sign of poise and maturity. The time off paid dividends as Lexi won the final event of the year. Welcome back Lexi. #FightAndGrind
#5 – DeChambeau Breaks Out Big Time
He’s a genius. Literally! If anyone truly had a breakout season in 2018 it was DeChambeau. As nice as social media can be it can also be a place of misery. You see, I’ve watched the idiots on his Instagram feed berate and downright bully the 25 year-old DeChambeau. whether it’s ever bothered him I don’t know. Isn’t it amazing how brave people are from behind a laptop or similar? His naysayers over social media said that he was “shit” and so on (actually much worse things were said). 2018 was a year in which DeChambeau silenced his critics and gave them all a collective “middle finger salute”. He didn’t win once or twice this year. No, instead he won 3 times. As it stands right now… DeChambeau is #5 in the OWGR.
#4 – “The Match”
There was no way that I would leave this story out. “The Match” featuring Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. You know? The PPV event that cost viewers $20 to purchase. The only thing was that there were so many technical issues that refunds were doled out like samples at Costco. You could almost hear Oprah saying “You get a refund… you get a refund… you get a refund… EVERYBODY gets a refund”. I hated everything about it. First, it was 15 years late in the making. Then there was the obvious. Two rich guys betting away other people’s money in sidebets. Although, some money found its way to charity. Oh yeah… then there was the “reverse crescent-kicking” Mickelson trying to look all “gangsta” behind the pile of money. Nauseating! It was so horribly done that they’ve now planned two re-boots of ‘The Match”. I laugh because it’s an attempt to recuperate the money lost. They won’t say it.. .I will. I’ll watch zero of these as well.
#3 – Tiger Wins #80
It’s no secret. I’m not a Tiger fan but it isn’t like I dislike him for personal reasons. Believe it or not the media or shall say the Golf Channel has a lot to do with it. Always stuffing him down our throats… even when he misses a cut or isn’t playing at all. I appreciate the fact that Tiger Woods is the best player of this generation. Some will contend that he’s the best of all-time but the era’s in golf are so different through the ages. But that’s a debate for another time. Granted, it’s unlikely that I’ll “beat that dead horse”. Fact… Nobody moves the needle like Eldrick “Tiger” Woods. He’s had his issues with injuries, a 9-iron wielding wife (well ex-wife) and a run-in with the police (DUI). Everybody said he was done. Well maybe not everyone but there were more pundits and golf analysts that made the remarks than who didn’t. Believe it or not.. I was not one of them. You could see the progress (2017 Hero World Challenge notwithstanding) and the results were starting to come all year long. Then finally it happened. Tiger came all the way back from golf’s “Bowels of Despair”. The same day Keegan Bradley found his way back so to did Tiger Woods. He won the TOUR Championship at East Lake his 80th career victory.
#2 – Koepka Captures Two Majors
Brooks Koepka just might be the “Rodney Dangerfield” of professional sports. No respect! Or maybe at least according to golf juggernaut ESPN. You see, they don’t see him as a dominant athlete. Are you kidding me? Have you seen the guy in person? Not only is he a tank but the last time that something looked that formidable on the golf course it was… Tiger Woods. Koepka is freakishly long, has the finesse to go with that power and he can putt. As a matter of fact, if I were playing “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004” I would make my character like him. Dude’s a video game character. Actually, I think that I created a player just like him in retrospect. Anyways, not only is he #1 in the world but all he did was win two measly Major Championships in 2018 (U.S. Open and PGA Championship). But he’s not dominant? ESPN… stick to The Espy’s and 30 For 30.
#1 – 2018 Ryder Cup
The 2018 Ryder Cup. It was amazing… For Team Europe! After Day One the American side was in pretty good shape and then ever so slowly the wheels fell off of the “Stars and Stripes”. The Euro’s decimated their competitors at Le Golf National (Paris, France) and as much as that was a story… it was the fallout afterwards. If you recall, there was fallout a few Ryder Cup’s ago in which the American team was embarrassed so badly at the hands of the Europeans that a special task force was developed (by the USGA as I recall). Just to ensure that it never happened again but… It did…in 2018. Between a reported dispute between DJ and Koepka in which they had to be separated at an after-party (incident denied) and the “affable” Patrick Reed doing what he does best… err or worst (open his mouth… his wife chimed in too). Heck, Tiger and Phil went winless in their matches too (almost like “The Match” itself). The 2018 Ryder Cup unfortunately will not be remembered for good golf or for that matter the margin of victory for Team Europe. Instead, it will be remembered for the dysfunctional drama that was Team USA.
There you have it… the Top 10 Golf Stories of 2018. I bet 2019 will be even better yet. Let me know what you think.
Until The Next Tee!!