The Rexys ...
Like the Masters, which doles out all manner of trinkets each year, the season-ending Rexys recognize some of the year’s biggest happenings. The only difference is that the Rexys don’t come with a crystal goblet or silver salver.
Silence is Golden Globe. Perhaps necessity is the mother of invention, but as the NFL spent the closing days of 2014 reinventing the league’s personal conduct policy, the contrast with the PGA Tour’s rules on acceptable behavior was glaring.
Consider that the NFL’s press release outlining its new policy was eight pages, while the Tour’s entire policy on conduct covers only four pages in the player handbook. But then the circuit could reduce its policy to just one sentence, “no comment.”
Emoticon Award. It seems apropos that the first PGA of America president, and perhaps the first golf executive, to embrace social media would also be the first to be burned by it.
The inaugural Emoticon Award goes to Ted Bishop for an insensitive tweet that led to the first impeachment in PGA history and a new-look Rexy just for the occasion. ;=(
Small Print Salver. For the second time in three years, Rory McIlroy began the FedEx Cup playoffs in the pole position only to find himself the victim of bad math.
The Northern Irishman began this year’s postseason No. 1 in points, and after closing the playoffs with three top 10s (including a runner-up showing at the Tour Championship) finished third on the contrived point list.
In 2012, the world No. 1 began the playoffs second in points, won two out of the four postseason events, and finished second in the season-long race.
As a result of this pencil whipping, the Tour went back to the mathematical drawing board and reduced the number of points available at playoff events. Call the change the Rory Accord and, if the Tour’s math wizards are correct, we can finally retire the award in McIlroy’s honor.
Uber Honor. Never before in the history of sport has an empty parking space drawn so much attention; but then when Tiger Woods is concerned there is no such thing as overkill.
The first-year award goes to Woods’ parking spot at Valhalla, which drew a crush of media attention on Wednesday at this year’s PGA Championship as the world awaited his return from yet another injury.
So surreal was the scene that the 60 or so media types assembled to photograph and watch the empty spot didn’t even notice as McIlroy walked by ... with the claret jug he’d recently won at Royal Liverpool tucked under his arm.
While accepting the award, the empty spot thanked his physical therapist, sport psychologist, the Kentucky department of highway maintenance and, of course, Tiger Woods. After all, he could have just easily gotten a ride to the course on Uber.
Kids Say the Darnedest Things Award. Patrick Welch clinches the first-year award following his victory at April’s inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National.
Welch won the Boys 14-15 Division thanks to a 20 footer on the famous 18th green, complete with the Masters’ traditional Sunday pin position.
“I’d seen that putt before,” Welch smiled.
Patrick Reed deserves honorable mention in this category thanks to his eyebrow-raising claim at the WGC-Cadillac Championship that he was “one of the top-5 players in the world.” Shhhhh. Reed got the last laugh with his inspired performance at the Ryder Cup where he played like, well, a top-5 player.
Viva la Victor Award. Victor Dubuisson crashed onto the American golf scene with his gritty runner-up finish at the WGC-Match Play Championship, where he got up-and-down from the desert, a jumping cholla and New Mexico.
The introverted Frenchman solidified his status with a solid performance at the Ryder Cup and some scribes even reported seeing him smile.
Wag the Dog Award. Whatever it was that chased Dustin Johnson from the game this season, be it a voluntary leave of absence or six-month Tour-mandated suspension, the entire affair had the feeling of spin control in high gear.
Whether it was the Tour or DJ, the entire affair was a case study in failing to control the message.
Marathon Man Award. Steve Alker won the event, but only because he was the last man standing after 11 extra holes at June’s Cleveland Open on the Web.com Tour.
“I got a little bit dizzy out there. At one point Dawie [van der Walt] and I looked at each other and I said, ‘Is anybody going to win?’” Alker said.
Luckily, Alker made a 3-footer for birdie one the 11th extra frame or they might still be playing the event.
Lemonade out of Lemons Award. Following his tie for 25th at the 2011 Open Championship, one would have figured McIlroy’s chances at the game’s oldest major were somewhere between slim and non-existent.
“I’m not a fan of golf tournaments that the outcome is predicted so much by the weather,” he said at Royal St. George’s. “My game is suited for basically every golf course and most conditions, but these conditions I just don't enjoy playing in really. That's the bottom line. I'd rather play when it's 80 degrees and sunny and not much wind.”
Fast forward three years and McIlroy put on a clinic at Royal Liverpool to win by two shots. It seems Karma has a short memory.
Broken Hearts Award. No, not McIlroy, who called off his engagement to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki earlier this year. Instead, the award goes to Adam Scott’s fans who have traditionaly flocked to courses across the globe to get a glimpse at the Australian with the movie-star looks.
In April at a quiet ceremony in the Bahamas, Scott was married to Marie Kojzar, officially passing the title “golf’s most-eligible bachelor” to Rickie Fowler.
Bounty Belt. Like the doomed captain on the famous ship, Old Tom Watson lost his team room long before Sunday night when Phil Mickelson decided to air the U.S. team’s dirty laundry.
Watson was out of touch with modern players, failed to communicate well and did little to motivate his team. As one caddie told your scribe, “After we lost [on Sunday] my player turned to me and said, ‘Keep him away from me.’”
The only difference for Bligh is that social media didn’t exist in the 1700s.