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Jaime Diaz - December 5, 2012

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Jaime Diaz is the Editor-in-Chief of Golf World magazine. In determining the Newsmakers of the Year, the staff at Golf World looks at which people and which events made the biggest impact on the game of golf. Multiple staff members will provide their own list of the top 25 and they also hold debates on who are the biggest newsmakers with the top 10 stories inspiring the longest debates.

Beau Hossler, a junior who led the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club at one point in the second round, ranked #20 among the top Newsmakers because he is representative of the future of the game of golf. It was also notable that his longtime coach was Jim Flick who passed away this year.

Slow Play ranked as #17 and there were numerous stories this year in the amateur and pro ranks about how slow play has had a negative impact on the game. While it can be argued that slow play has improved the quality of the game of golf, it can also be argued that slow play is an example of a negative in the game of golf. It will be up to the USGA and R&A to determine how big of an impact slow play has made and can make in the future.

2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson ranks #9 and while his win at Augusta National was a big deal and transcended the game of golf, it can be argued that Bubba underachieved for the rest of 2012. Bubba Watson is one of the most if not the most fascinating players on the PGA TOUR and he has shown how much potential he has to be one of the great players in the game of golf.

The act of anchoring putters and the proposed ban ranks 6th and Diaz said that it could actually ranked higher on the list. The significance of the story shows how important the governing bodies are to the game of golf and this could serve as an inspiration to those organizations to be more pro-active when it comes to setting rules and preserving the game. Both the USGA and R&A have made it clear that the proposed ban does not deal with equipment but instead deals with the definition of a stroke. It is an important issue and both organizations were smart to make their proposal on that basis.

The invitation of the first two female members into Augusta National Golf Club ranked as #5. It was a momentous announcement and the Augusta National led the process and was very smart to invite more than one female to become a member. Both Darla Moore and Condoleezza Rice are amazing women and they have the potential to make a huge impact not only on the Augusta National but also on the role of women around the world.

Tiger Woods ranked 4th and it was a great story to see Tiger win again on the PGA TOUR for the first time since 2009. He won three times this year but he has still not won a Major since 2008 and that fact makes Tiger incredibly interesting and he will always be someone to watch as long as he is playing the game. Tiger’s relationships with other players including Rory McIlroy and the U.S. Ryder Cup team show an evolution in his attitude towards fellow competitors and he would not be surprised if Tiger was energized by the time he spent with the younger players like McIlroy.

The European team victory at Medinah Country Club in the Ryder Cup ranked as the #3 Newsmaker of the year. The entire weekend was compelling and exciting as both the U.S. and European teams provided great performances and great stories because of the roles of the various players. On Saturday afternoon, Ian Poulter led Europe’s charge and it was fascinating to see World #1 and playing partner Rory McIlroy looking on in awe. Every player on both teams played different but important roles that week.

Rory McIlroy ranks as the #2 Newsmaker simply because the #1 story was a bit more compelling. There are many words that can be used to describe McIlroy’s season and his career up to this point and another great thing about McIlroy is that he seems to be making all the right moves in every part of his career. McIlroy seems very confident in his own thinking process and he comes across as a sensible person and as long as he keeps delivering great performances and being himself, he will do very well.

Golf World magazine named the pattern of crash landings in golf as the #1 Newsmaker of 2012 because it was amazing to see so many big tournaments end with some kind of collapse. Adam Scott in The Open Championship, I.K. Kim in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Kyle Stanley in the Farmers Insurance Open, and the U.S. team in the Ryder Cup are just a few examples of the notable collapses. The majority of the players who held the lead entering the final round did not go on to win and it was unusual to see such a high number of final round collapses. Some of those players who collapsed like I.K. Kim did not come close to winning again the rest of the year.