Not surprisingly, Jordan Spieth highlights this year’s Rexys, and it’s equally predictable given the young champion’s penchant for inclusiveness that he will take over the award ceremony and thank everyone in the Dallas phonebook for his success in 2015.
Word Association Award. Earlier this week Merriam-Webster announced its word of the year which isn’t even a word, it’s a suffix – "ism" – which recognizes a narrative that ranged from socialism to racism to capitalism to terrorism.
Given this nod to the inclusive, and Spieth’s historic 2015 campaign, Spieth-isms are the new standard in golf.
In 2015, the 22-year-old wunderkind made humble look good with regular reminders that it takes a village to deliver a season that included five Tour titles, two major championships and a chance to become just the second player to ever win the first three legs of the single-season Grand Slam.
“I’m very pleased with the way we battled,” he said at St. Andrews, where he finished one stroke outside of a playoff.
“I’m really proud of the way that we fought,” Spieth said at the PGA Championship, where he finished second.
“It was amazing that we competed,” he said on Sunday at the Tour Championship, which he won.
And finally, earlier this month at the Hero World Challenge, when he was asked how he could duplicate what he did in 2015 in 2016, Spieth answered: “We’re going to try and do the same thing.”
You know the deal, there is no “I” in Jordan.
Activation Fees. Normally, your scribe uses this space to dole out hardware of various sizes, but after another lost season, it’s more appropriate to ship Tiger Woods an invoice.
He started the year with a career-worst 82 to miss the cut in his first start at TPC Scottsdale, bolted Torrey Pines on Day 1 with deactivated “glutes,” set a new career-worst round with an 85 at Muirfield, and closed the season with two back surgeries in less then two months.
The highlight of 2015 was a tie for 10th at the Wyndham Championship during an 11th-hour push to make the FedEx Cup playoff. The lowlights saw Woods post the same number of rounds in the 80s through the U.S. Open as he had in the 60s, with three each.
At his World Challenge earlier this month, Woods said he was looking forward to playing again, before adding a foreboding qualifier that “everything beyond this ... will be gravy.”
Even if Woods were to get a trophy of some sort, we’re not sure if it would be half full or half empty at this juncture.
Golden Gloves. Miguel Angel Jimenez, the most interesting man in golf, is so savvy he makes three-putts look good. Of course, that didn’t stop Keegan Bradley from going nose to nose with the Spaniard during this year’s WGC-Cadillac Match Play. During the duo’s Day 3 match at Harding Park, Bradley hit his drive left of the 18th fairway and was in the process of getting a ruling, a complicated ordeal that required two separate drops, when Jimenez injected himself and insisted Bradley was taking improper relief.
The exchange became heated, with Jimenez telling Bradley’s caddie Steve “Pepsi” Hale to “shut up.”
“I felt like he was being disrespectful not only to me but my caddie,” Bradley said. “I was kind of standing up for my boy here.”
The situation became even more tense in the locker room after the match. That said, the real rub was that neither player had any chance of advancing to the weekend rounds because of the new round-robin format. Call it the most contentious consolation match in the history of the game.
Golden Boot. He once shot a 63 at St. Andrews and would have rolled into the Auld Grey Toon the preemptive favorite to end Spieth’s historic run.
He would have added a level of intrigue to the jostling atop the Officia; World Golf Ranking that would have been unparalleled in the modern era.
He would have been, after early victories at the WGC-Match Play and Wells Fargo Championship, a legitimate challenger for the FedEx Cup and maybe even the Player of the Year Award.
All of those scenarios, however, ended in July, when Rory McIlroy ruptured a ligament in his ankle during a “kickabout” with friends.
That said, McIlroy did rebound to win the European Tour’s finale, and offered a welcome commitment regarding his future extracurricular activities.
“If I do go for a kickabout, I will play goalie. I will stick to the net,” he said last month in Dubai.
Song Swansong. After perhaps only the claret jug, it’s been Ivor Robson and his distinctive voice that has defined the Open Championship for more than four decades.
Robson, who began his tenure as the first tee announcer at the game’s oldest championship in 1975 at Carnoustie, retired after this year’s Open, saying, “I feel you can’t go on forever, and if you’re going to step off, there’s no better place to do it than here (St. Andrews). It’s time to go.”
Robson said he planned to spend his golden years speanding time with his family and playing golf, so in honor of his final announcement: “On the tee, from Scotland, Ivor, the retired.”
Dope-ing. To be clear, Scott Stallings ran through one too many stop signs on his way to becoming just the third player suspended under the Tour’s anti-doping program, but this dubious award goes to those at the circuit’s headquarters for ignoring common sense.
At the urging of his doctor, Stallings took an over-the-counter supplement called DHEA, a precursor to testosterone production and a substance that is banned by the Tour.
When the 30-year-old realized he’d violated the anti-doping policy, he turned himself. “Whether I intended to or not, I took something that wasn’t allowed. I called a penalty on myself, that’s the best way to look at it,” he said.
Lost in the dogmatic doping code, however, is the fact that Stallings never failed a drug test, and many experts contend there is no performance benefit to taking DHEA, which is why the inaugural award – a sterile sample cup – goes to those in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., who refuse to distinguish between honest mistakes and malicious intent.