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Hooks and Cuts: Looking Back

It's a new year in the world of golf, but in this first 2011 edition of 'Hooks and Cuts' we take a look back at an eventful 2010:
  • Tiger Woods doesn’t look authentic, genuine, contrite, humbled or grounded right now. But the moment he makes a 25-footer to win he’ll suddenly be all of that.
  • If all you do is win the Masters and win it the way Phil Mickelson did, in my book, it’s a successful season.
  • Give great credit to Stuart Appleby and Paul Goydos, because 59 is a special number. But they essentially ushered in a new era in which 58 will be the Holy Grail.
  • They needed to win: Paula Creamer at the U.S. Women’s Open, Dustin Johnson at the BMW and Robert Garrigus at Disney.
  • The most dominant performance of 2010 may well have been Cristie Kerr by a dozen at the LPGA Championship.
  • If Mickelson had donated a winner’s check to charity as In-Kyung Kim did, he’d have been a media Mother Teresa. Truth is:  South Korean LPGA players get too little love.
  • The public doesn’t want pithy tweets from Tiger. The public wants killer golf.
  • Galleries exploded four times that I can remember: At the Masters when Phil went wild and hit the no-way-in-100-years 6-iron on Sunday; at Quail Hollow when Rory McIlroy shot 62; at Pebble Beach when Tiger found Tiger for a fleeting, thrilling hour in Round 3 at the U.S. Open; and at Celtic Manor when GMac drilled the birdie putt at 16 on Monday.
  • In '10, fizzlers included Tiger, Sergio Garcia and Groovegate. Sizzlers were Rickie Fowler, Ai Miyazato and golfers on Twitter.
  • They turned 30 and turned a corner: Justin Rose and Adam Scott.
  • If Tiger’s brain-trust is calculating his every move, why not donate his next winner’s check to charity?
  • They became one name, big names in golf in '10: GMac, Martin, Bubba, Dustin, Louis and Rickie.
  • Newsmaker of the Year – not counting Tiger Woods – was Dustin Johnson; Man of the Year was Graeme McDowell; PGA Tour Player of the Year was Jim Furyk; Worldwide Player of the Year was Martin Kaymer; Tournament of the Year was the Masters; Shot of the Year was Jonathan Byrd’s Vegas ace.
  • Freddy Couples gave the seniors a golden glow back in January in Hawaii.
  • They felt more like sagas than stories: Hank Haney, Sean Foley and Tiger; Dustin and the bunker at Whistling Straits.
  • Sad moments on course in '10: Robert Garrigus making triple bogey on the final hole in Memphis [and eventually losing the tournament in a playoff]; Hunter Mahan stubbing his chip at the Ryder Cup in Wales; and Dustin being told he’d violated the rules and wouldn’t be in a PGA Championship playoff.
  • Truly sad moments in '10: the deaths of Erica Blasberg and Maurice Hayden, a maintenance worker in Florida killed by an errant shot.
  • Joyous performance of the year that too few saw may have been Rocco Mediate on that insane hole-out binge in the Fall Series.
  • Best pure exhibition of beautiful rhythm, timing and pure ball-striking may well have been Louis Oosthuizen at the Open Championship.
  • Speeches that stopped us in our tracks: Jose Maria Olazabal’s heartfelt words at his Hall of Fame induction and Billy Payne’s controversial scolding of Tiger at the Masters.
  • They’d like a mulligan: Tiger on his first public mea culpa; Tiger on his post-Masters interview with Peter Kostis; Nike and Tiger on the commercial featuring his late father; Mahan at the Ryder Cup; Johnson at Whistling Straits.
  • They burnished their reps by the way they handled adversity: Johnson and Brian Davis.
  • What we learned in '10: The kids can play; the rules are the rules; the dominant days of Tiger and Phil are at an end; and the European Tour is a powerhouse.
  • We need more of them in 2011: Michelle Wie, Anthony Kim and Tiger Woods.
  • Relatively safe predictions for '11: Tiger will win a tournament and Lee Westwood will win a major while also becoming Twitter’s funniest golfer.