This scorecard will be different. It comes from an imaginary golf course, a composite of PGA TOUR sites designed to review some of the key players, issues and best moments of 2007.
No. 1: Augusta National
'Sure is beautiful, isn't it?' Arnold Palmer said softly before he hunched over the ball, waggled the driver and swung from the heels. With that, the King became the honorary starter at the Masters. It was a low hook that only went about 200 yards and settled in the left rough. The applause seemed endless.
No. 2: The Gallery at Dove Mountain
Tiger Woods was going for his eighth consecutive PGA TOUR victory, and such was the frenzy that some projected him breaking Byron Nelson's record of 11 in a row at the Masters. That was before he drew Nick O'Hern in the third round of the Accenture Match Play Championship. When O'Hern made a 12-foot par putt to win in 20 holes, the second-longest winning streak in tour history was over.
No. 3: Torrey Pines (North Course)
Brandt Snedeker was 10 under through 11 holes when he hit wedge to 3 feet. The birdie would put him at 11 under, meaning he would need only two birdies over the last six holes to shoot 59. He missed the putt, and didn't make another birdie until his final hole for a 61.
No. 4: TPC Boston
Phil Mickelson's most gratifying win this year came at the Deutsche Bank Championship, when he played three rounds with Woods. No hole was more pivotal than the 298-yard fourth. After both drove into a greenside bunker in the first round, Mickelson holed his for eagle and Woods took two to get out and made double bogey. In the final round, Mickelson made a 15-foot birdie from the fringe, while Woods drove the green and three-putted for par.
No. 5: PGA National
After Mark Wilson hit his tee shot on this par 3 in the second round of the Honda Classic, his caddie casually mentioned to Camilo Villegas that Wilson hit an 18-degree hybrid. Wilson called for an official and penalized himself two shots for a violation of the rule on advice. Those two shots nearly proved costly. He wound up in a playoff, which he won for his first PGA TOUR victory. And he reminded everyone why golf stands alone among sports in integrity.
No. 6: Southern Hills
Angel Cabrera hit 8-iron into an unplayable lie in the bushes in the first round of the PGA Championship. Another 8-iron was declared out-of-bounds. A third 8-iron found the pond. After a drop, he chipped to 30 feet and took three putts. 'I had a bad hole, hit bad shots, made 10,' he said. 'And that was it.'
No. 7: Augusta National
Retief Goosen was in trouble left of the seventh fairway when he punched an 8-iron out of pine straw and through the trees to 8 feet for a birdie that gave him a share of the lead Sunday at the Masters. But he played the final 11 holes in even par and finished two shots behind, summing up his season. Goosen took the biggest plunge among top-ranked players this year, going from No. 6 to No. 26.
No. 8: Oakmont
A back tee and a back pin in the final round of the U.S. Open made this par 3 measure 300 yards. Cabrera was one of only two players to make birdie on Sunday en route to a one-shot victory over Woods and Jim Furyk.
No. 9: Firestone
Rory Sabbatini, who said Woods looked 'beatable as ever' after losing to him in May, had a one-shot lead over him going into the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational. Both were headed for a big number on the ninth until Woods chipped in for par. Sabbatini made double bogey to fall seven shots behind. 'Still think Tiger is beatable?' a fan said to Sabbatini, who promptly asked police to remove the fan from the course.
No. 10: Carnoustie
Woods pulled his tee shot in the first round of the British Open, the ball resting on TV cables in thick rough. But instead of moving the cables, a rules official declared them to be fixed. He gave Woods a free drop and much better lie in trampled grass. Moments later, two British reporters easily moved the cables. It fed the perception that Woods gets preferential treatment.
No. 11: Muirfield Village
Mickelson walked off the 11th green in the first round of the Memorial and couldn't hit another shot. He said he injured his left wrist during practice at Oakmont, and it took more than 10 weeks to heal. He tried to play the U.S. Open and British Open, missing the cut in both of them.
No. 12: PGA National
On his third hole of the Honda Classic, a spectator's camera caused John Daly to stop his swing on the way down. He dislocated a rib and damaged muscles in his shoulder blade, forcing him to withdraw. That set the tone for Daly's year. Playing on sponsor's exemptions, he withdrew six times and missed 10 cuts.
No. 13: Doral
Sergio Garcia three-putted for bogey in the third round of the CA Championship, then dropped a loogie in the bottom of the cup. 'Don't worry. It did go in the middle,' Garcia said after the round, the closest he came to an apology. Garcia didn't win this year, but his greater failure was ungracious behavior.
No. 14: Royal Montreal
In a summer that defined his career, Woody Austin made a splash at the Presidents Cup in more ways than one. Trying to play from the hazard, Austin lost his balance and fell face-first into the water. That drew far more attention than his birdie-birdie-birdie finish to earn an improbable halve in a fourball match.
No. 15: Augusta National
Woods was two shots behind in the final round of the Masters when he tried to carve a 5-iron around the trees, only to see it come up short and in the water. He had to scramble for par. Zach Johnson laid up on the par 5, as he did all week. The Masters champion played the par 5s in 11 under despite not going for any of them in two.
No. 16: Southern Hills
Having already lost two chances in the majors, Woods' five-shot lead at the PGA Championship was down to two shots Sunday when he faced his toughest tee shot. The swing was powerful and pure, and when Woods twirled the driver in his hands, the final major of the year essentially was over.
No. 17: Harbourtown
Boo Weekley looked like he would blow another chance at the MCI Heritage when he flubbed a chip behind the 17th green. He chipped the next one in for par, and hung on to beat Ernie Els. It was an amazing year for Weekley, who entertained with his backwoods personality and finished 23rd on the money list.
No. 18: Carnoustie
Books can be written about the 72nd hole of the British Open, but consider this: Padraig Harrington had a one-shot lead when he twice hit into Barry Burn and made double bogey. And he still won the claret jug, ending Europe's 0-for-32 drought in the majors.
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