Where do you start with the best moments of a fantastic year for golf? It has been no easy task but, in no particular order, here are Golf Monthly’s top 10 moments of 2011:
It was heartbreaking to watch the game’s brightest young talent unfold on the back nine at Augusta. We felt for the young Ulsterman as his round unravelled and Charl Schwartzel stepped in to take the Green Jacket. We didn’t enjoy watching it, but that’s sport for you.
This victory was all the more remarkable given his US Masters meltdown. He broke numerous records, but above all, and after his nightmare final round at Augusta, he bounced back in style. He’d been written off as a player who’d have to endure ‘that’ final round at Augusta for many years before overcoming it. Instead, he dusted himself off and blew away the field.
What can you say? Clarke may have been known for his ability to play decent links golf in tough conditions, but his win was a fairytale. One of the game’s most popular characters became one of the game’s most popular Major winners.
It may have been a small field that lacked many of the world’s best players, but after enduring two years without a win and battling problems off the course as well as on it, Woods at last landed another ‘W’. Not one of his finest but finishing with two birdies when the pressure was on was gripping to watch. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll add to his Major wins in 2012.
Europe’s 15-13 win over America will be remembered for a very long time. Alison Nicholas guided her side to a narrow victory in Ireland against the odds with Suzann Petterson birdieing the last three holes to beat Michelle Wie the individual highlight that paved the way for victory.
GB&I won for the first time in eight years. They were underdogs but they were up for it from the off and never let the Americans settle. Their emotional 14-12 victory was well deserved with Nigel Edwards guiding them superbly.
After starring in GB&I’s Walker Cup victory, Lewis turned professional and won on just his third professional appearance at the Portugal Masters. He’d already made a huge impact by leading The Open in July as an amateur. A huge talent.
This year has been all about Luke Donald. He may not have won a Major but he did set a new record as the only player to officially win both the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists. The world’s best golfer has been simply awesome, honing a short game that really doesn’t get much better.
Another player to have been written off before recording back-to-back victories starting at the Castello Masters. A week later he won the Andalucia Masters. How good to see one of the game’s best ever ball strikers back to winning ways.
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