In honor of the 10th anniversary of the Rexys, this year’s awards will be made of aluminum since it is the recommended gift for the occasion and, let’s be honest, most of these awards are going to be recycled anyway.
Enigma Award. It was an eventful year for Patrick Reed.
He won the Masters for his first major and unabashedly torched his former team partner Jordan Spieth and U.S. captain Jim Furyk following the Americans' loss at the Ryder Cup.
“The issue is obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me,” Reed told the New York Times, adding, “For somebody as successful in the Ryder Cup as I am, I don’t think it’s smart to sit me twice.”
You know the deal; it’s not me, it’s him. But if we learned anything about the former “Captain America,” it’s that there is definitely an 'I' in Patrick.
Slap Shot Salver. This is a new award, added in 2018 because before June’s U.S. Open the idea of a player slapping a moving golf ball was, well, crazy.
But that didn’t stop Phil Mickelson from launching into the most bizarre meltdown in major championship golf during the third round at Shinnecock Hills when his putt for bogey at the 13th hole raced passed the cup. Lefty inexplicably ran after his ball and hit it while it was still in motion on the green.
Mickelson later told fans and players he might have offended to “toughen up,” and explained he was just trying “to get to the next hole.”
So, you know, crazy.
Courage Award. The actual Courage Award hasn’t been doled out since 2015, and if we’re being honest Tiger Woods’ performance in 2018 is more in line with the Comeback Player of the Year Award, which was replaced by the ambiguous Courage Award when Steve Stricker grew tired of making speeches.
Still, even before Woods won his 80th Tour title, at East Lake, his comeback was complete. He played a full schedule for the first time since 2013, didn’t have a single withdrawal for just the third time since 2009 and proved to be every bit the modern medical miracle.
Accepting the award for Tiger will be his back surgeon, Dr. Richard Guyer.
Golden Watch. The beauty of this award is the Benjamin Button feature that allows the device to run backward for players such as John Peterson, who unceremoniously retired from the game following A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier in July.
Two weeks later Peterson was back on the clock at the Barbasol Championship and he also played the Web.com Tour Finals. Although the academy isn’t sure if Peterson will remain retired, he can keep the watch. It runs in both directions.
One Direction Cup. Mickelson becomes the first single-season two-time winner in the history of the Rexys following the release of what may have been the most-watched and lampooned golf commercial.
The spot for clothing manufacturer Mizzen+Main featured Mickelson dancing on a lit practice range while avoiding golf balls that were being hit in his direction.
“(Pat) Perez was like, ‘Way to put yourself out there, man,’” Mickelson said, smiling. “Bubba (Watson) and (his caddie Ted Scott) were wanting (dancing) lessons, which is fine. I’ll do a private (lesson).”
At 48, Mickelson, who said he filmed the commercial in Southern California and that it took an hour and about 15 or 20 takes, doesn’t appear to have any interest in paring down his golf schedule, which is probably best because his options as a professional dancer seem severely limited.
Bad Math Medal. This award is normally reserved for the Official World Golf Ranking, and to be honest the OWGR arithmetic has produced plenty of asinine moments this year (update: Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose just switched places in the ranking and neither has touched a golf club in a week).
But this year the calculation confusion goes to the Tour’s strokes-based scoring system that will be used next year at the Tour Championship. Essentially, the season-long race will be decided by a handicap format, with the points leader beginning the week at 10 under, followed by the second player on the list at 8 under, and so on.
It’s probably best to give the strokes-based system a few years to gain some traction, but it’s worth pointing out that Tiger Woods’ triumphant return to the winner’s circle at East Lake would have been undercut by the small print. Had the new system been used in ’18, Woods would have lost to Rose by three strokes.
Armageddon Award. Just after 8 a.m. on Jan. 13, a quiet Saturday in Hawaii was shattered by an emergency message sent to cell phones across the islands: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
It would take 38 minutes for officials to confirm to the public that the message was a false alarm. For those preparing for the third round of the Sony Open, it felt like an eternity.
Jordan Spieth said he hid in his bathtub for a few moments before giving up on his “shelter” plan. “I just felt stupid,” he admitted.
But the award for having the best attitude when faced with the end of the world goes to Charles Howell III, who told reporters, “We sort of looked at one another. Part of you thinks you grab a Mai Tai, go to the beach and grab a front-row seat. Part of you thinks what are you going to do?”