Most weeks, someone wins, someone loses, and we all move on. But on occasion, matters outside the ordinary capture the attention. He's what caught ours in 2018.
1 / 15
U.S. golf's version of the Mega Powers exploded in 2018 when the highly successful duo of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed was split up at the Ryder Cup in Paris. Spieth partnered with Justin Thomas as Reed teamed with Tiger Woods. By Sunday, Reed's wife Justine was blaming Spieth on Twitter, and after the U.S. news conference, Reed himself told the New York Times: “The issue’s obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me."
2 / 15
The bash brothers either definitely did or definitely didn't get in some kind of altercation following the Ryder Cup. Multiple reports indicate that it happened, and U.S. team captain Jim Furyk confirmed himself that "whatever altercation" there was "was very short" and that "neither one of them really took anything out of it." But Koepka denies anything happened at all. "This Dustin thing I don't get," said Koepka, at a news conference in Scotland ahead of the European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Links. "There is no fight, no argument, he's one of my best friends. I love the kid to death and we talked on the phone Monday and yesterday and he told me how he thought."
3 / 15
We were told it wasn't going to happen again. That the USGA learned from its mistakes in 2004 and that there was no way it would let Shinnecock Hills get out of control yet again. And of course, that's exactly what happened during the third round of the U.S. Open, as certain pin placements proved practically unplayable given the course's baked-out greens and the day's wind directions. Maybe they'll get it right in 2026.
4 / 15
Those same third-round conditions at Shinnecock gave way to Phil Mickelson momentarily losing his mind and deciding to run after his moving ball and putt it again while it was in motion to save it from going down a hill. He was assessed a two-stroke penalty and proved initially remorseless as debate in the golf world turned to whether he should have withdrawn or been disqualified. Days later, he apologized. “It wasn’t the right decision,” Mickelson said. “It wasn’t the smart decision.”
5 / 15
Before the event, the controversy was whether or not fans would be willing to pay $19.99 for pay-per-view golf. After the event, the controversy surrounded the poor product itself. Tiger and Phil hardly talked, the side action was capped, and the golf wasn't very entertaining. And, oh yeah, technical issues ensured that those $19.99 buys were refunded. Maybe there will be another "Match," but this wasn't an inspiring start.
6 / 15
The prospect of two people at one trophy presentation was apparently so problematic that the Tour Championship has been basically scrapped. There will be just one winner moving forward at East Lake, with the year's final event changed to a de facto handicap tournament with players starting the week in pre-determined spots based on year-long performance. It will guarantee just one winner of the Tour Championship and the FedExCup. It's certainly ... different. But is it actually better?
7 / 15
The backstopping issue was something of a general concern before Jimmy Walker made himself the specific face of the problem. "Usually a guy will ask if he would like to mark it. If you don’t like a guy you will mark anyway. If you like the guy you might leave it to help on a shot. Some guys don’t want to give help at all and rush to mark their ball. To each his own," Walker tweeted. Talk about saying the quiet part out loud.
8 / 15
J.B. Holmes missed the Farmers Insurance Open playoff by a shot, but his seemingly undue delay in the final fairway made him the center of attention for more than four minutes during the final round at Torrey Pines. Holmes was two shots out of the lead playing the final hole when he debated between several clubs before ultimately laying up and pulling his shot into the left rough. The delay came while Alex Noren stood in the 18th fairway, facing a 230-yard approach when birdie would have won the tournament in regulation. Instead, he was forced to wait while Holmes vacillated. Noren ultimately missed the green and made par. Golf Channel analyst Frank Nobilo clocked Holmes' wait to play his second shot at four minutes, 10 seconds.
9 / 15
“Spoke to @TigerWoods to congratulate him on the great victory he had in yesterday’s @TheMasters, & to inform him that because of his incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE, I will be presenting him with the PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM!” - President Donald Trump tweeted after Tiger Woods’ Masters win.
10 / 15
We wish there was something new to talk about here. Players are hitting the ball farther than ever. And ... well, that's it. Continue your Twitter debates about the future of the game, and tightening fairways, and building 14,000-yard golf courses.
11 / 15
The Supreme Court's decision to strike down federal laws prohibiting sports gambling means that states can make their own laws, which has already led to a massive increase in legal gambling. The concern for golf fans - aside from how much to bet and who to bet on - will come if and when it ever appears that gambling may have played a role in the outcome of an event. We're not going full Pete Rose on you. Just imagine a fan with a specific interest yelling in someone's backswing late on Sunday. Of course, some will say that concern is overblown by pearl-clutchers. All this as the Tour tries to set its own rules.
12 / 15
Spectator behavior was a persistent problem at the beginning on 2018. The always fan-friendly Rickie Fowler wasn't thrilled with some of the jeering he heard at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his friend Justin Thomas had a heckler removed from the Honda Classic. The story line faded into the background as the year progressed and behavior normalized, but we'll be back at TPC Scottsdale and PGA National in just a few months. We don't imagine those events will promote any less of a party atmosphere to attract record crowds.
13 / 15
Celebrity sponsor exemptions always draw criticism from the rank-and-file, who argue that a spot has been denied to a player more deserving. Tournament officials typically counter that a known name brings additional interest to the event. Well, Tony Romo certainly brought additional exposure to the inaugural Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, and he also finished in dead after rounds of 77-82. So both sides have a point.
14 / 15
Lee McCoy bogeyed two of his final three holes to drop from inside the top 10 to a T-20 finish at the Web.com Tour's Club Colombia Championship, and he took to Twitter afterward to express his frustrations with the galleries, specifically the kids who were asking for his apparel to keep as souvenirs. “There were at least 30 kids out there who were there only to try and get free stuff from us. So no, I’m not grateful they were out there,” the 24-year-old said in one Twitter reply. It wasn't the only tweet about the incident, however. McCoy also claimed that one kid "learned a life lesson" because McCoy refused to give up his hat, glove or shoes after the 18th hole and then he decided to get political, comparing the conditions of President Trump's United States to that of South America. It ... wasn't a great look.
15 / 15
Brad Fritsch became the sixth player suspended by the Tour for violating the anti-doping policy. The Tour’s anti-doping policy can be confusing and perhaps the biggest concern is that the policy is not entirely transparent. Violations involving what are considered performance-enhancing substances are made public, but recreational violations are not. There’s also a question of selective enforcement.
Image of Bryson DeChambeau and how his body has transformed, through the years, from an NCAA champion to becoming a multiple PGA Tour winner.
Here's a look at some of the best photos of the Match II with Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady from Medalist Golf Club.
A look at some of the best photos from the TaylorMade Driving Relief, won by the team of Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson.