Punch Shot: Story of the 2013 season?

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 24, 2013, 7:10 pm

Before the new season begins – in two weeks – we’re looking back at the year that was on the PGA Tour. Our writers debate: What was the story of the 2013 PGA Tour season? 


For those scoring at home, it has now been 18 majors played since Tiger Woods last hoisted a Grand Slam keepsake. That’s 18 misses in his quest to reach Jack Nicklaus’ benchmark haul of 18 majors.

To put that in context, the world No. 1 won six majors in his first 18 Grand Slam starts as a professional. Blatantly unrealistic expectations considering that historic start? Without a doubt. But Woods’ drought, now five years and counting, still registers as the year’s top story.

In Woods’ defense, 2013 can hardly be considered a lost year. He won five times, including two World Golf Championships and The Players, easily collected his eighth Vardon Trophy for low scoring average and is the likely winner of the Player of the Year award when voting is completed on Thursday.

In this, Woods seemed to take the long view.

“It's nice to win golf tournaments and as I said, it's over the course of a career. It's not just one year. You're looking over a course of a career, and you're going to have years where you don't win major championships and years that you do,” Woods said at The Barclays. “There are years where I've won one tournament and years where I've won nine. So as long as I keep winning in all those years, it's not too bad.”

Without question, 2013 was a successful campaign for Woods. But that doesn’t change the narrative – Woods’ record in the majors, successful or otherwise, is still the year’s top story.


Hmm ... the oft-forlorn superstar conquering personal demons or the other oft-forlorn superstar conquering personal demons. Tough call, but I'll take Phil Mickelson's brand of demonology over that of Adam Scott.

For the first half of the year, Scott's inspired Masters victory in the rain served as the no-doubt-about-it top story, but he was eclipsed – ever so slightly – by the mercurial left-hander winning the Open Championship, a development that he had long deemed improbable.

For two decades, Mickelson and links golf were star-crossed lovers, their torrid affairs brief and quickly interrupted by lengthy bouts of frustration. That changed at Muirfield, when he put together a come-from-behind victory for the ages on Sunday afternoon.

It should speak to the number of great stories this year that Mickelson's long-elusive title isn't a unanimous choice. It is, though, still the best of a very good bunch.


Anchors away.

That was the story of the year in golf.

The USGA and the Royal & Ancient teamed to generate anchoring news through most of the year, first with all the angst over their proposed ban on anchored putting and then with their official ban of such strokes in May.

From a contentious players' meeting with the USGA at Torrey Pines near year’s start, to Keegan Bradley’s plight hearing taunts of “cheater” as he used his belly putter in the spring, to R&A chief Peter Dawson’s confrontation with PGA of America president Ted Bishop and through threats of legal challenges to the ban, there was no shortage of compelling developments over the anchor ban. It dominated golf’s news cycle through most of the year. With the ban not taking effect until 2016, expect anchoring to continue to make news over the next three years.


It’s easy to forget now, of course, after Jordan Spieth posted a Tour-best nine top-10s, amassed nearly $4 million in earnings, won the John Deere Classic, finished second three times and earned a spot on the Presidents Cup team. It’s easy to forget that last fall, he bombed out of Q-School’s second stage. That in January, he relied on a sponsor’s exemption to make his first Tour start. That the next two months, he was playing Web.com Tour events in Panama and Colombia.

That’s a far cry from the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup and the $10 million bonus. Yet there was Spieth, just 15 months removed from helping lead Texas to the 2012 NCAA title, vying for the victory at East Lake and forcing Tour mathematicians to calculate the various scenarios in which he could walk away with the biggest financial prize in golf.

In the last two decades only Tiger Woods – two wins in eight starts in ’96 – has made a bigger splash on Tour as a rookie, and we’ve since seen how his career panned out. Sure, Spieth could suffer a sophomore slump, but he’s more likely to build on his sensational rookie campaign, make a bid for a multiple-win season, challenge for WGC and major titles.  

At age 20, Spieth is not just tabbed as the next American star – he already is one. 


The biggest story of the 2013 PGA Tour season focused on the middle of a fairway in northern Georgia. While he didn’t ultimately win the event, the cloud that surrounded Tiger Woods and “Dropgate” during the second round of the Masters created more discussion and garnered more headlines than any other singular moment this year.

The issue, discussed and dissected at length over the subsequent days and weeks, centered not only on Woods’ illegal drop on the 15th hole during his second round, but also the consequent decision by the tournament rules committee to assess him with a two-shot penalty. Amid calls for his disqualification, the world No. 1 played the next two rounds under a microscope that was sizeable even by his lofty standards.

While Woods won five times this year – and four other players hoisted major trophies – the single biggest storyline from this past season was one that caught the attention of sports fans and media well beyond the game of golf: The Drop, The Penalty and The Fallout witnessed at Augusta National.

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Watch: Rory finds trouble, and more trouble, and more ...

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 4:33 pm

Rory McIlroy was in a must-win situation against Brian Harman in order to have a chance to advance to the one-and-done portion of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

And, as you can see, McIlroy did not get off to an ideal start on Friday.

McIlroy lost the third, fifth and ninth holes at Austin Country Club. Harman led, 3 up, at the turn.

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Watch: Stefani makes hole-in-one, has no clue

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 3:18 pm

Shawn Stefani made a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th in the second round of the Corales Puntacana Resorts and Club Championship.

However, he never saw it go in.

Stefani knew he hit a great shot, and this isn't shown in the video below, but he just questioned everyone around him if they saw the ball go into the hole.

A Golf Channel cameraman finally gave him the news and Stefani responded with an enthusiastic thumbs up.

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Trio lead Kia Classic; Davies shoots 82

By Associated PressMarch 23, 2018, 3:01 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Laura Davies had a nightmare round days after contending for a title at age 54, and Caroline Hedwall, Jackie Stoelting and Hee Young Park topped the Kia Classic leaderboard.

Davies shot a 10-over 82 on Thursday at rainy Aviara Golf Club - four days after tying for second behind Inbee Park in the Founders Cup, and five days after shooting a 9-under 63 in the Phoenix event.

Fighting Achilles tendon and calf problems in her left leg, Davies opened double bogey-bogey-par-bogey. She bogeyed Nos. 9, 10 and 12, had another double on 15 and bogeyed 16. The 82 was the World Golf Hall of Famer's highest score on tour since also shooting 82 in the 2013 Marathon Classic. On Monday, she jumped 208 spots to No. 155 in the world.

Hedwall, Stoelting and Park shot 66 in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills. Ariya Jutanugarn, also coming off a second-place tie in Phoenix, was a stroke back with 2015 champion Cristie Kerr, In-Kyung Kim and Nicole Broch Larsen.

Hedwall closed her bogey-free round with birdies on the par-5 eighth and par-4 ninth. The Swede played her final 10 holes in 6 under. Players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways because of the damp conditions.

''I hit it really well and started making a couple putts in my back nine,'' Hedwall said. ''I'm really happy with how I'm playing and looking forward to the rest of the days.''

Stoelting finished with a birdie on the par-4 18th. She had seven birdies and a bogey.

''I hit a lot of fairways,'' Stoelting said. ''I don't necessarily hit if far, but keeping it in the fairway is super key this week. The rough is much thicker this year than last year.''

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Hee Young Park birdied the final three holes, finishing on No. 9.

''The greens are really soft,'' Park said. ''So, easier on the second shot.''

The 40-year-old Kerr had a bogey-free round.

''I like this golf course,'' Kerr said. ''I think it's a tough golf course and you can't fall asleep on any shot. I mean, it's just a really great course. The layout. The rough is high. You got to pay attention. I think that's maybe why I play a little better here than some other places.''

Jutanugarn closed with a 5-under 31 on the front nine.

''It's rain today and a little bit windy, but my irons help me a lot,'' Jutanugarn said. ''Just start to make some putts. ... It's pretty tough for me. I always feel like the course here is really hard because the greens really bumpy, and you're not going to hit far here.''

Lydia Ko and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu topped the group at 68.

Ko also played her final nine in 31. She missed the cut last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix.

''I holed some really good putts on my back nine,'' Ko said. ''I didn't hit the ball fantastic, but just being able to hole some good birdie putts was key.''

She won the 2016 event at Aviara.

''This is a pretty tough golf course,'' Ko said. ''Putting is a huge key around this course where if you do miss a green, making those clutch par putts and then making those birdie opportunities that you get.''

Jennifer Song and Jeong Eun Lee also shot 68. Brooke Henderson had a 69, and Lexi Thompson a 70.

Inbee Park was at 71 with Singapore champion Michelle Wie and 2014 Kia winner Anna Nordqvist. Top-ranked Shanshan Feng had a 72, playing alongside Park. Defending champion Mirim Lee shot 74.

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With old clubs returned, Kim (and new clubs) starts strong at Kia

By Randall MellMarch 23, 2018, 1:53 am

Almost two months after her golf clubs went missing, the same clubs she used to win last year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open, In-Kyung Kim was happily reunited with them this week.

She fetched them and her golf bag two days ago at the Carlsbad, Calif., police department.

A man bought them as a used set from a sporting goods store in the area, with Kim’s LPGA I.D. still in the golf bag.

Notably, Kim celebrated with a return to the leaderboard Thursday in the first round of the Kia Classic.

Kim opened with a 5-under-par 67, though she didn’t use her newly rediscovered clubs. She stayed with the replacement set that she put together after her clubs went missing. Her Women’s British Open clubs never showed up after she got off a plane in Southern California upon her return home from the season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.

“It was really difficult at first,” Kim said of getting used to her new set of clubs. “I really worked hard, like worked a lot, went to the factory like a dozen times.”

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Kim said she made several visits to the factory folks, trying to get the loft and lies of her new clubs just the way she wanted, close to the configuration that helped her win the Women’s British Open.

“They were like, `I.K., are you ever happy?’” Kim said.

Actually, only five of Kim’s “lost” clubs turned up with her golf bag at that sporting goods store. Still, Kim was happy to get three wedges, two hybrids and her golf bag back.

“It’s kind of good to have a conclusion,” Kim said.

Kim can thank a “What’s in the bag?” segment with Ladies European Tour TV analyst Alison Whitaker for leading to the retrieval of her clubs. Kim explained to Whitaker how her clubs went missing during the telecast of the HSBC Women’s World Championship three weeks ago.

A golf fan in the San Diego area saw Golf Channel’s telecast of that segment.

“One of his friends bought the tour bag,” Kim said. “The other friend knew about my story, and he was like, `No, dude, that's not for selling. It's stolen.’”

Kim was delighted to meet the men who returned her clubs when she picked them up at the Carlsbad Police Department.

“Just good for me,” Kim said.