As the ESPYS wrapped up its celebration of all things sports last night, the Golf Guy and Birdie Bailey decided to come up with their own set of awards for the first half of the 2012 season.
By GOLF GUY
Biggest victory – Bubba Watson or Webb Simpson? Masters or U.S. Open? It is almost impossible to choose anything over a Masters green jacket. But I will. Just kidding, I won’t. Sorry Webb, but Bubba and his crazy playoff victory easily gets the nod.
Biggest meltdown – In a nod to Kyle Stanley’s horrific finish at Torrey Pines, this award – sadly – goes to none other than I.K. Kim. Left with a putt of about 18 inches to win a major – her first major – on the 72nd hole – Kim did the unthinkable … making Scott Hoch and Doug Sanders look like mere afterthoughts in golf history. Her missed putt led to a playoff in which she ultimately lost.
Shot of the Year – Again, Mr. Bubba wins this award hands down with his carved wedge from the woods in the Masters playoff. It instantly became a shot in the pantheon of golf’s greatest shots.
Round of the Year – Na Yeon Choi. Her Saturday 65 at Blackwolf Run was simply one of the greatest major championship rounds in the history of golf. Only four players have posted better scores in the 67 years the championship has been played.
Story of the Year – A week after his dubious collapse at Torrey, Stanley did the unthinkable – rebounding to somehow capture the Waste Management Phoenix Open the following week. Talk about symbolism – the Phoenix bird symbolizes immortality, resurrection and life after death. Fly, fly, fly Mr. Stanley.
By BIRDIE BAILEY
Biggest victory – It wasn't his first victory; it wasn't his first major championship. But it was his first official victory in 30 months. Yes, I'm talking about Tiger Woods' win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. It silenced critics, proved to the world that even at 36 years old, multiple knee surgeries and one broken home later, Tiger can prevail.
Biggest meltdown – The word 'meltdown' suggests a process. A slow, excruciating experience unfolding before your eyes without the ability to make it stop. So while Golf Guy was correct in acknowledging the horrific nature of I.K. Kim's missed 18-inch putt, I'm going to have to give this, uh, award to Spencer Levin.
Levin, in his fourth year on Tour, squandered a six-shot lead heading into the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, ultimately shooting a final-round 75 and finishing third. His meltdown began on the first hole and he just kept pouring it on thick. Sorry, Spence.
Shot of the Year – I will agree with Golf Guy on this one. Bubba Watson's hook shot around the trees and onto the 10th green at Augusta during a playoff to win the Masters and his first major championship? Come on, it just doesn't get any better than that.
Round of the Year – My cap is tipped to Phil Mickelson's final round at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am where, paired with Tiger, he posted 8-under 64 Sunday en route to his 40th career Tour win and his first since April 2011. Mickelson's final round bested Woods by 11 shots and reminded us that not everyone falters on a Sunday next to Red Shirt.
Story of the Year – Again, all signs point to Tiger Woods. He ended his winless drought ... and then he won twice more. That's three victories in 12 starts on the PGA Tour. His winning percentage is 25 percent thus far in 2012, and it's only July.