2009 in Review

That's all she wrote!  The 2009 "official" golf season is in the books and while there were glimmers of excitement, I felt like the year was not one to write home about.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • Tiger Woods eclipsed the $10 million mark again - Steve Stricker, his nearest challenger was more than $4 million behind!

Steve Stricker

  • No majors for Tiger.  If he does not win at Augusta next year I predict Hank Haney will be looking for some new students.
  • Biggest surprises in the top 20 on the money list: Kevin Na; Z. and D. Johnson; Y.E. Yang; Brian Gay; Lucas Glover.
  • How about this list of golfers outside the top 125: Chris DiMarco; Carl Pettersson; Stuart Appleby; Rocco; Chez Reavie; Johnson Wagner; Trevor Immelman; Ken Duke and multiple other tour winners.
  • The highest finish on the money list for a golfer playing fewer than 10 events: Tom Watson who finished 114th after playing only 2 events.
  • Brian Gay and Zach Johnson had breakout years.  Zach Johnson, in particular, showed that he has the potential to be a top 5 in the world player.

Brian Gay

  • Kenny Perry, Phil and Steve Stricker had big years. They all won multiple times, but could not win the all important major championship necessary to be able to begin to challenge TW.
  • Rickie Fowler will be at the final stage of Q-school. His haul of $570,000 in three events was not enough to earn a card.  There is a good crop of exciting young bombers who should get on tour for 2010 - look for Fowler, Lovemark or Stanley to make a minor splash.
  • Watney, Casey and Geoff Ogilvy faded badly after promising starts.
  • Furyk, Toms, Tim Clark and Els win the Close but No Cigar/Check Casher award for raking in tons of $$ without ever having the final say.  Furyk and Els seem to be making a habit of winning this annual award.

Tim Clark

  • Players who Appeared Out of Nowwhere in 2009: Ross Fisher was the Robert Karlsson of 2008; Michael Bradley (where'd he come from?); Brian Gay; Mark Leishman; Matt Kuchar; James Nitties; and the biggest surprise of all Y.E. Yang.
  • Players who Vanished into Thin Air in 2009, the "What was That Award?": Aaron Oberholser (229); D. Hart (196); Shaun Micheel (180); Bart Bryant (167); and Trevor Immelman (156).
  • The "UnderAchiever Award" nominees are: Vijay Singh; Aaron Baddeley; K.J. Choi; Anthony Kim and Adam Scott.

Aaron Baddeley

  • The majors were a little uninspiring in 2009 with the winners being Cabrera, Glover, Cink and Yang.  With a little tweaking we could have had Kenny Perry, Phil Mickelson or a resurgent David Duval, the greatest victory of all time with Tom Watson at the Open and Tiger destroying all comers at the PGA.  I like the latter line up a little better.
  • The greatest event of the year that never happened: The Barclays at Liberty NationalHeath Slocum holed a par bomb on the 72nd hole to keep Tiger, Stricker, Ernie and Padraig in the club house and out of a text book 5-way playoff.
  • Michelle Wie has finally won! Great news for both her and the sputtering LPGA.

Michele Wie

  • The longest hitter: Robert Garrigus (127).
  • The straightest hitter: Joe Durant (182)
  • GIR leader: John Senden (27)
  • Best putter: Steve Stricker (2) I think this is a case for "drive for show and putt for dough!"
  • Best Moment of the Year: Y.E. Yang's birdie on the 72nd hole at Hazeltine in front of TW.

Y.E. Yang

  • Classiest Player of the Year: Tom Watson at Turnberry.  It will be a long time before we see golf being played the way it was meant to be played, like the way Mr. Watson showed us.
  • Worst Hole of the Year: The 72nd hole at Bethpage Black - when did you ever hear of a US Open Champion playing the final hole with a 6-iron and a wedge?

Bethpage Black #18

Predictions for 2010:

  • Tiger wins a major after he boots HH (he goes it alone for awhile).
  • Phil Mickelson makes a serious run at Tiger's domination - he also wins a major!
  • Ernie Els continues to make $$ and does not win a major - or any other US event.
  • Tim Clark and John Senden win a PGA Tour event.
  • Michelle Wie wins again.
  • Annika Sorenstam plays more than one event on the LPGA tour.
  • Lorena asserts herself as the queen of ladies golf - again!
  • The LPGA tour actually finishes the season with the same commissioner it started the year with.
  • Players who re-appear in the winner's circle: Boo Weekley,  Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia.
  • The PGA Tour continues to struggle to find sponsors and finally agrees to lower purses at multiple events.
  • The book "It's All About Impact" becomes a hit and sells more copies than the publisher can print......;-)

Thanks for all your support this year.  Watch next week for a major Full Swing article.