Which was your favorite major of 2012?

By Jason SobelAugust 14, 2012, 5:17 pm

This year's majors are history, which leaves us only one thing to decide: Which one was your favorite? Was it Bubba Watson hitting his improbably hooked wedge to set up an overtime Masters win? Or Webb Simpson taking advantage of Jim Furyk’s late stumble in the U.S. Open? Or Ernie Els returning to major-championship relevance with his British Open victory (at Adam Scott’s expense)? Or Rory McIlroy putting on another dominating performance in the PGA Championship?

We asked our writers to pick their favorites. They were only too happy to oblige.


BY JASON SOBEL

We witnessed some pretty dramatic moments at the four major championships this year. Steady, solid Jim Furyk yanking one off the tee and eventually losing the U.S. Open. Adam Scott finishing with four consecutive bogeys to relinquish the. Open Championship to Ernie Els. Rory McIlroy once again blowing away a major field at the PGA Championship.

For my money, though, I'll always remember the 2012 majors for one thing more than any other.

It was the year some dude named Bubba won himself a green jacket.

This year's Masters Tournament was a fun-filled roller-coaster of thrills and despair. Phil Mickelson hit one of the all-time flop shots on Saturday, then flubbed one righty on Sunday. Louis Oosthuizen carded an albatross, but later lost in a playoff.

Then there's the aforementioned Bubba Watson, a big-hitting country boy who in many ways is the antithesis of the austere Augusta National membership. His hooked wedge from the trees to win on the second playoff hole was one for the ages.

And it helped the Masters lay claim to being the best major of 2012.


BY RANDALL MELL

Americans chanting Rory McIlroy’s name along the dunes on the shores of Kiawah Island will stay with us a long time. The Northern Irishman may have taken all the drama out of the PGA Championship on Sunday, but he left us a masterpiece doing so.

The victory is not quite there with Tiger Woods’ 15-shot triumph at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, or his 12-shot runaway at the '97 Masters. It’s not there with the unforgettable effort Jack Nicklaus gave us winning his last major at the Masters in '86, but it’s in the same wing of the museum with those works of art.

McIlroy gave us one of golf’s Rembrandts with his final-round bogey-free performance in blowing away the field by a PGA Championship-record eight shots.

Bubba Watson’s Masters victory was thrilling, Webb Simpson’s win at Olympic was classic U.S. Open survival golf, and Ernie Els’ British Open triumph after the epic collapse of Adam Scott was emotionally gripping, but McIlroy’s masterpiece will be remembered for the ruthless beauty that sets it apart as one of the game’s great major championship victories.


BY REX HOGGARD

Picking the year’s best major is akin to naming your favorite Beatles tune. 2012 has been an embarrassment of Grand Slam riches from Bubba Watson’s Masters magic act to Rory McIlroy’s PGA walk-off. Only one, however, delivered equal parts triumph and tragedy – the Open Championship.

Although Jim Furyk’s collapse and Webb Simpson’s performance at the U.S. Open certainly qualify as a complete drama, the last hour at Lytham was major pressure at its most extreme.

With the engraver’s hand poised over the claret jug and cruising along with a four-stroke advantage with four holes to play, Adam Scott closed with four consecutive bogeys. It may have lacked the theatrics of Jean Van de Velde’s Carnoustie collapse, but given the Australian’s pedigree and performance through 67 holes it was no less shocking.

It is Ernie Els’ epic charge that stands the British Open above all others, however. The South African’s final-nine 32 was epic, capped by a winding 15-footer for birdie at the last.

Just four months earlier the South African, a decade removed from his last major victory and driven to extremes (the long putter) in an attempt to rediscover his game, was scrambling just to play in the majors.

It was, with apologies to Scott, the perfect finish. The perfect major.


BY RYAN LAVNER

The best major of 2012? Certainly, it has to be the one with the best finish. (Sorry, Ernie.) Deep in the pine straw, on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff, at the most iconic course in the U.S., Bubba Watson played a seemingly unfathomable, wickedly curving wedge from the trees on the 10th hole, a shot that nestled to within 15 feet of the cup and set up the win at the Masters.

Spine-tingling stuff.

Average golfers either whiff attempting that shot or, worse, hit themselves in the shin. Few Tour players even have the capacity to imagine that shot, let alone the audacity to pull it off at that critical juncture. And, come on, how good a story was that? A guy with awesome power and a homemade swing . . . and a newly adopted baby back home in Florida . . . and his mom waiting by the edge of the green . . . and his alma mater, the University of Georgia, only two hours away, so the delirious Bulldogs fans barked and cheered his name . . . and all of this less than two years after Bubba’s father passed away, the emotions from which were still quite raw.

The 2013 Masters, and beyond, will have a hard time topping that.

Getty Images

Watch: Thomas nearly makes ace ... off rock wall

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 25, 2018, 7:50 pm

You don’t become a major champ and reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year without catching a few lucky breaks along the way, but this shot from Justin Thomas on Sunday at the Honda Classic was just silly.

Playing the 182-yard, par-3 fifth hole with the tournament lead, Thomas’ tee shot found the rock wall guarding the green, and proceeded to bounce forward about 20 feet in the air before nearly go in the hole for an ace:

Thomas couldn’t take full advantage of fortuitous bounce, missing the 13-footer for birdie. But if he holds on to his lead down the stretch, JT will remember this nonchalant par for a very long time.

Getty Images

Watch: Tiger's drive startles strolling duck

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 25, 2018, 7:21 pm

Tiger Woods split the eighth fairway with a 287-yard, 3-wood on Sunday and startled a duck (goose?) who was merely out and about for a stroll at PGA National.

The duck (goose?) walked away under its own power, and Woods followed up with a wedge to inside 9 feet and his third birdie of the front nine.

Getty Images

Watch: Tiger's Sunday birdies at the Honda

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 25, 2018, 6:40 pm

One day after he left a barrage of birdie opportunities out on the golf course, Tiger Woods worked his way into red figures early on Sunday.

Seven off the pace to start the day, Woods found the first fairway, hit the first green and rolled in a 20-footer for his first birdie of the day.

After narrowly missing a 10-footer for what would have been another circle at the par-5 third, Woods came right back at the fourth, flying an approach from 148 yards to 9 feet and finishing the job.

At the par-4 eighth, Woods went with 3-wood off the tee and startled a duck that was walking down the middle of the fairway.

The duck walked away, and Tiger stuffed his approach inside nine feet, setting up his third birdie of the day.

Woods dropped his first shot of the day at the par-4 ninth after hooking his tee and then short siding himself right of the green. He made the turn in 2-under 33.

Following four straight pars to start his second nine, Tiger took down the 465-yard, par-4 14th with a 2-iron, a 9-iron, and a putt to move back to 3 under.

Unfortunately, the Bear Trap would bite Tiger for the fourth day in a row. Woods rinsed his ball at 15 for a double bogey and three-putted at 16 to drop another shot and fall all the way back to even.

Closing pars at 17 and 18 left him even par for the round and the championship. The real story of his week: Woods played the Bear Trap 8 over and the rest of the golf course 8 under.

Getty Images

New-look Korda wins after serious jaw surgery

By Will GrayFebruary 25, 2018, 6:31 pm

If the pictures of Jessica Korda from the Honda LPGA Thailand cause you to do a double-take, you're not alone.

Korda's world-class talent was on full display this week in Asia, where she won by four shots, but so too was her new-look face. The 24-year-old underwent serious jaw surgery in December, a final attempt to address a significant overbite that led to ailments ranging from facial cramping to headaches to sleep apnea.

The procedure was intense. Doctors first broke her nose, then broke her jaw in five different places - three on the top, and two on the bottom. She now has 27 screws in her face, and the physical result still requires some adjustment for a woman who now has five career LPGA wins.

"I look at pictures of myself and I don't feel like I look like that person," Korda told Golfweek. "I don't know who that is. And then I look at pictures of my old self and that doesn't look like me either."


Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


The Dec. 7 surgery left Korda unable to eat, with her mother reportedly feeding her through a syringe for "weeks." Korda's facial structure before the surgery was such that she was only using 20 percent of her teeth when chewing food.

But despite returning to practice only six weeks ago and still dealing with lingering numbness in her face, Korda promptly dusted a world-class field in her first start back. She shot 25 under for the week, highlighted by a second-round 62, leaving the likes of Lexi Thompson and Ariya Jutanugarn in her wake.

After a difficult winter, Korda's look may have changed but her game clearly remains unaffected.

"Coming in after surgery, I didn't know what to expect," Korda told reporters. "Obviously when I look at myself, I still don't feel like I look like myself yet. That will come. I'm just very, very happy. All the hard work I was putting in in the off-season when I could has paid off rather quickly."