In recognition of one of the most contentious years in golf, we asked PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and Vijay Singh to co-host this year’s Rexy award soiree, but the commish was concerned there was IGF-1 in the Moët and the Fijian’s lawyers didn’t have time to file a confidentiality agreement with the court. So you’re stuck with your scribe.
The envelopes, please. (Click here for a look at the 2012 Rexys)
• Snowman Award (Non-scorecard division): This goes to the unknown attendant at Dove Mountain who dug through the storage room during the blizzard of 2013, also known as the WGC-Accenture Match Play, to find a pair of gloves and a stocking cap for your correspondent to weather the wintery storm.
• Dufnering Crown: Give it to the man himself for sparking a viral sensation, but the list of honorable mention candidates for the first-year award is extensive. From Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter to a flight of Blue Angels aviators and Ted Bishop, the president of the PGA of America, Dufnering’s 15 minutes was fun for everyone.
• Jim Cantore Award: The folks in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., took on Mother Nature in 2013 and lost. All total, 22 of 40 events were impacted by weather delays last season, from heavy fog at Torrey Pines and frost at the Waste Management Phoenix Open to the winter wonderland that became the WGC-Match Play.
Things were so bad in ’13, the word is the Tour plans to have Cantore double as next year’s first-tee announcer to hand out hole locations, scorecards and weather reports.
• NFL (No Fun League) Cup. Only the Tour – only the Tour! – could turn something as harmlessly entertaining as the annual caddie races at TPC Scottsdale and Colonial into a good run spoiled.
The Tour nixed the races, in part, out of concerns for caddie safety and because the event had become a “carnival show.” Yes, we wouldn’t want a carnival atmosphere at TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole, would we?
• The Sausage Silver. The inaugural award goes to the European Tour’s Ryder Cup captain selection process. The scene in the Abu Dhabi hotel, where Paul McGinley was named next year’s skipper, was surreal and the politicking that went on to land the Irishman the gig would make a Washington politico blush – but the system worked.
The players got the captain they wanted. It was like sausage – you don’t want to know how it’s made; you just want to enjoy the end product.
• The Worst Timing Award. Because of Tour regulations, Si Woo Kim, who earned his card at last fall’s Q-School, wasn’t able to enjoy the benefits of membership until his 18th birthday on June 28. As a result, the South Korean played just eight times and didn’t cash a check.
Yeah, happy birthday. You’re headed back to Q-School.
• Top Outdoor Butler Bowl. We pinched this award from Kip Henley, Brian Gay’s longtime caddie, and the inaugural recipient is a runaway winner – Jim “Bones” Mackay.
Bones helped loop Phil Mickelson to the one title that few outside Camp Lefty thought he’d ever win, in July at Muirfield. It’s time to add another line to the caddie credo, show up, shut up, keep up and, now, step up.
• Game of Thrones Chalice. Compromise was a rare commodity in 2013 and the list of potential candidates for this award reads like a who’s-who roll call of the game’s powerbrokers.
From Bishop and R&A chief executive Peter Dawson’s public dustup over the proposed – and eventually passed – ban on anchoring, to the reported coup attempt by outgoing president Glen Nager at the U.S. Golf Association, 2013 was characterized by not-so-quiet contempt.
On the bright side, however, we may have touched on a cure for slow play. Put that group in a threesome and watch how fast they blaze through 18 holes.
• Velvet Underground Award. Vijay Singh admitted to using the Ultimate Spray, which is derived from deer-antler velvet and contained IGF-1, which is on the circuit’s list of banned substances; he was sanctioned by the Tour for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy; he was later cleared of any wrongdoing and subsequently sued the Tour for, among other things, public humiliation.
If it seems like nobody wins in this scenario it’s because nobody does.
• Best Selfie Award: No, not the self-portrait that has become the social media norm. The “Best Selfie” goes to Tiger Woods for a performance that looked a lot like those historic campaigns in 2000 and 2006.
While it has become good sport to pick apart Woods’ play in the majors and his caustic relationship with the Rules of Golf in ’13, he won five times, claimed his 11th Player of the Year Award, secured the winning point for the U.S. side at the Presidents Cup and looked, well, a lot like the old guy.
• King of Cool Cup. The Rexy committee voted to retire this award in honor of Fred Couples, who again proved to be the most interesting man in the room in ’13 after completing the Presidents Cup trifecta at Muirfield Village and joining the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“This is the coolest night of my life,” Couples said through tears in May at the induction ceremony.
Couples, once and for all, answered the question, “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” Freddie.