Punch Shot: Most thankful for in 2013

By Randall Mell, Ryan LavnerNovember 28, 2013, 8:00 pm

Since we've already revealed our turkeys of the year, we'll focus on something more positive. GolfChannel.com writers offer up what they're most thankful for in 2013.


By RANDALL MELL

I’m thankful for the way the stars aligned over St. Andrews before the Ricoh Women’s British Open this summer.

Inbee Park fell short in her quest to become the first man or woman to win four professional major championships in a season, but there was something magical in the air that week with Park teeing it up at the birthplace of golf after winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Wegmans LPGA Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open. What a special week for the women, with the world watching to see if Park could make history. While she couldn't pull it off, the week ended with magic anyway, with Stacy Lewis hitting one of the greatest shots in major championship history, a 5-iron through a stiff wind at the famed Road Hole, to set up a birdie-birdie finish and her second major title. As always, Park was as gracious in defeat as she was in her victories this season. The women honored the game with their performances at St. Andrews that week.


By RYAN LAVNER

I'm thankful that, for the most part, the world’s best played like it in 2013. It makes being a golf writer even more enjoyable.

Yes, it’s always fun to see who will be the year’s breakout star – Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama or Lydia Ko. But golf is driven by the biggest stars, by the headliners, and there was no shortage of those this season. The game was compelling from January to November.

Tiger Woods won five times. The game’s other biggest star, Phil Mickelson, broke through at the Open Championship and won two other events. Adam Scott won the Masters, the best tournament of the year, and three other times worldwide. Henrik Stenson became a household name by claiming the big prizes on both sides of the Atlantic.

On the women’s side, world No. 1 Inbee Park nearly became the first player, male or female, to win four professional majors in a season. Suzann Pettersen, Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson are all in hot pursuit. 

When the calendar flips to 2014, we don’t have to manufacture storylines. They’re ready-made, even obvious. We still want to know whether Tiger will resume his climb up Mount Nicklaus, or whether Scott can take the next step and reach world No. 1, or whether Phil can complete the career grand slam, or whether Stenson can extend his torrid form. And, yes, don’t forget, whether Rory McIlroy can return to championship form.

All these stars, all these stories, all at once. Can’t wait to resume tapping away on the keyboard.


By JASON SOBEL

I don’t always enjoy their work and still believe they can be unnecessarily cruel at times, but this year I’m thankful for the golf gods.

Don’t believe in 'em? Then you’ve probably never properly understood how a drive that slices into the trees only to carom back into the fairway is so often followed by one that travels dead straight only to land in a divot. The golf gods work in wonderful, magical, mysterious ways - and this year was no different.

How else to explain the Masters finish? For years, Australia was tortured and tormented by Greg Norman’s numerous close calls at Augusta National. This year, the golf gods finally repaid the folks Down Under – or at least spared them greater heartache – by allowing a couple of crucial Adam Scott putts to find the bottom of the cup down the stretch for the country’s first Masters victory.

How else to explain a son’s destiny? Ken Rose was Justin’s first golf instructor, and watched his son develop elite-level skills at an early age. He saw Justin finish in a share of fourth at the Open Championship as a 17-year-old. Ken died of leukemia in 2002, all of which made his son’s first major championship – on Father’s Day 11 years later – even more meaningful.

How else to explain the unexplainable? In 19 previous Open Championship starts, Phil Mickelson owned only two top-10 finishes. Of the four majors, this was always the one he – and most observers – felt he’d probably never win. And then … he did. Just like that, it was as if Mickelson was given a key to unlock the secret of links golf and walked through the door into the winner’s circle.

Just three examples of top players outperforming the rest of their competitors on major stages? Maybe. But there was a little karma and fate mixed into each one, as well. And for that, we must be thankful for the golf gods.


By WILL GRAY

As 2013 winds to a close, I’m thankful for the man who has discovered golf’s fountain of youth: Steve Stricker.

One of the most personable players in the game, Stricker turned back the clock this year and demonstrated that it’s possible to contend on the PGA Tour while playing approximately once every lunar cycle. Stricker’s successful season – one that included eight top-10 finishes in just 13 starts – has in part caused several of his peers to reassess their on-course priorities over the age of 40, including Phil Mickelson.

Beyond his own play, though, Stricker also helped to shape the 2013 PGA Tour season thanks to a single putting lesson at Doral with a certain 14-time major champion. Tiger Woods made everything in sight en route to winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship after a few tips from Stricker, then won three more times while claiming Player of the Year honors. Without Stricker taking the world’s top-ranked player under his wing in March, the rest of the 2013 season might have gone in an entirely different direction.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.