Welcome, everybody. Gather ’round the table, stop making googly eyes at the pumpkin pie, and pay attention.
Twenty of the biggest names in the game have revealed what they’re really thankful for this year (even if they’d never admit it publicly, of course):
Jordan Spieth: The Masters.
Yeah, it spoiled his year, but the Golden Child was bound to encounter some adversity eventually, so why not when he’s 22 and hungry?
Tiger Woods: The Ryder Cup.
Bored out of his mind as he recovered from a third back surgery, he treated his assistant-captain role with the seriousness of a cabinet meeting. Or a "Call of Duty" session.
Lydia Ko: Ariya Jutanugarn.
Complacency won’t be an issue anymore for the 19-year-old with 14 LPGA titles. She now has a new, imposing rival.
Phil Mickelson: Andrew Getson.
It was clear early this year that Lefty had made a smart move turning to the little-known swing coach. At 46, Phil is rejuvenated.
Mike Davis: Dustin Johnson.
DJ won the U.S. Open in spite of the USGA’s various blunders, sparing Davis and the rest of the blue blazers from Armageddon.
Tim Finchem: Peace and quiet.
Now he only has to answer calls from a 904 area code if he feels like it.
Rory McIlroy: Phil Kenyon.
Whether the English coach eventually turns Rory into an above-average putter remains to be seen, but the early returns – especially after his debacle on the greens at the PGA – are encouraging.
Bernhard Langer: Senior golf.
Not including any endorsement money or Schwab Cup bonuses, the ageless wonder has nearly $21 million in earnings on the senior circuit – or twice what he made during a long career on the PGA Tour.
Henrik Stenson: Pete Cowen.
Stenson’s swing (and part-time life) coach brought him back from the professional abyss – twice – and turned him into a ball-striking machine who reached the pinnacle of the sport.
Bryson DeChambeau: The Golfing Machine. And Epsom salts.
They’re part of the revolution.
Paul Casey, Russell Knox and Alex Noren: Ryder Cup politics.
Maybe this trio wouldn’t have swung the cup in Europe’s favor. But they look better every time someone at least asks the question.
Diana Murphy: There’s always next year.
Because this year was really, really embarrassing.
Andrew Johnston: American golf fans.
Without them, Beef is merely the 85th-best golfer in the world who is overweight and has a bird-nest beard.
Jim Furyk: His dad.
Frustrated with his game, Furyk called the only swing coach he’s ever had, his father Mike. The next day, he shot the first 58 in Tour history.
Dustin Johnson: TrackMan.
For the first time in his career, he tried to dial in his wedges, using the launch monitor to track his distances so he could capitalize on all of those massive drives. It paid off.
Davis Love III: Mickelson and Patrick Reed.
Mickelson, the mastermind behind the U.S. team, and Reed, the heart and soul, took the massive target off Love’s back and put it squarely on their chest.
Rickie Fowler: Short-term memories.
So, about that Big 5 thing ...
Jason Day: Four months off.
One of these years the most complete golfer in the game will be injury- and drama-free … right?
International Golf Federation: Big-name Olympic winners.
Would there be the same level of optimism surrounding the Summer Games had, say, Marcus Fraser and Haru Nomura won gold medals in a rout? Of course not.
Michelle Wie: Her American peers.
Hey, at least almost all of the other U.S. women’s golfers were awful this year, too.