December 12, 2014 - 12:04pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
The 2014 PGA Championship had it all. And, in the end, the No. 1 player in the world rose to the top.

OK, I fully admit that when creating a "top-list" of anything, it's going to be completely subjective. That's just the way it is.

When I think of a "top tournament" it doesn't necessarily have to be a major championship. Of course, those are "next level" great, but in terms of "top tournaments" of the year, I'm leaning and thinking more toward the ones that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Whether it was a train wreck avoided, a dramatic final shot, or an insane leaderboard... that was my criteria.

Now that I have that admission out there, here are the five tournaments that stood out to me most in 2014. 

5. The Honda Classic
Russell Henley was the eventual winner of this event at PGA National that it seemed down the stretch no one wanted to win.

2014 BEST OF: Top shots | Biggest surprises | Duffs, mishits | Instagram | Facebook

In a three-way tie for the lead on the final hole par 5, Henley was left of the green in two shots. He chunked a chip so poorly from that position, it barely got halfway to the hole and he proceeded to two-putt for par.

Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, had let a two-shot lead slip away. He hit an incredible 236-yard, 5-wood approach to the 18th that set up an eagle putt for the win. The putt just missed and McIlroy settled for par.

Russell Knox and Ryan Palmer joined Henley and McIlroy in a four-way playoff, which Henley won with a two-putt birdie on No. 18 -- the first hole of the playoff.

 

4. RBC Heritage
Two weeks removed from a heartbreaking defeat in the Houston Open where he squandered a four-shot, final-round lead and lost in a playoff when Aussie Matt Jones pitched in for an eagle, the Golf Gods rewarded Matt Kuchar with a stunning finish of his own.

Kuchar, tied for the lead playing the iconic final hole at Harbor Town, found himself in a greenside bunker with his approach shot.

Instead of thinking, "get up and down for a playoff," Kuchar did one better, admitting afterward, "I told my caddie before that last shot, 'I'm about due to make one of these.'"

So, that's precisely what he did. Kuchar holed the bunker shot for birdie and a one-stroke victory over Luke Donald.

 

3. The Players Championship
Any tournament with a final top-10 leaderboard that includes the names Martin Kaymer, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy is a great one.

That's what happened at TPC Sawgrass in May. Kaymer came out on top dodging two late bullets.

He had a four-shot advantage through 11 holes that slipped away. Kaymer returned from a 90-minute weather delay and promptly made double bogey on the 15th hole to cut his lead to one shot with three to play.

Then, he made a long par putt at the famous island-green, par-3 17th to maintain a one-shot lead going to the final hole. Kaymer would par the last hole in the dark to win his first Players Championship by one over Furyk.

 

2. WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
This tournament will long be remembered more for the guy who finished second (Victor Dubuisson) than the guy who won (Jason Day).

In this incredible tussle, Day finally came out on top after 23 holes to the little-known Frenchman, who became world famous in golf that day.

Though he lost, Dubuisson converted two of the greatest pars you will ever see to keep the playoff alive, getting up and down on consecutive holes from the desert. It was remarkable stuff (and made it on our "Top shots" list).

Even before the playoff Dubuisson was spectacular. He was two down with two to play and knotted the match to force the playoff.

 

1. PGA Championship
This was the tournament of the year and it's not even a contest. How about these names, who all finished inside the top 10?: Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Ernie Els, Victor Dubuisson and Hunter Mahan.

That's a murderer's row of the game's all stars.

In the end, McIlroy dramatically claimed his second major in a row, second PGA Championship of his career and fourth major overall.

McIlroy lost the lead on the front nine, but eagled the 10th hole to begin his late charge. At one point on the back nine, five players shared the lead at 10 under. The scoring average for the final round was 69.6, the lowest in PGA Championship history.

This was an awesome back-and-forth with the world's No. 1 player rising to the occasion.

 

Top 5 tournaments of 2014
Nicklaus-OLeary
Getty Images
Jack Nicklaus' grandson, Nick O'Leary, plays tight end for Florida State.

The Nicklaus family just keeps on piling up the awards. 

The latest comes via Jack Nicklaus' grandson, Nick O'Leary, who was named the winner of the Mackey Award for top tight end in college football. O'Leary, who starts for the undefeated and defending national champion Florida State Seminoles, has 47 catches this year for 614 yards and seven touchdowns. 

On Thursday, the Instagram account for Nicklaus posted this picture of the Golden Bear with his wife, Barbara, and O'Leary from after the season-opening game against Oklahoma State. 

 

 

A photo posted by Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) on

 

Florida State plays in the inaugural College Football Playoffs when it takes on Oregon in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. Imagine there is a good chance Nicklaus will be there, seeing as how he made the trip out to Pasadena, California, last year to watch O'Leary in the title game

The Nicklaus family gets another shot to add to its already-impressive legacy this weekend. Jack and his son, Jack II, are taking part in the PNC Father Son Challenge, which starts on Friday at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando.

Nicklaus grandson named top tight end in college football
December 12, 2014 - 9:28am
andrew.prezioso's picture
Dancing kid
PGA Tour on YouTube
This kid's reaction to getting a ball from Rory McIlroy was one of your favorite Facebook posts.

We've seen a lot of cool stuff that we'll remember for a long time, but what has been our readers' favorites on our Facebook page? We pulled the numbers and here are the 10 stories you interacted with the most via likes, comments and shares.

It's pretty clear that based on this list, there was one golfer in particular that you liked to read or watch the most. (Hint: It was not Tiger) But what were his top moments?

Related: Best of Instagram | Best of Twitter

Here's the countdown of our top Facebook posts. 

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10. Just a friendly reminder

The first round of the PGA Championship was played on Aug. 7. You could say people were excited for it. 

 

9. We're not a doctor, but we watch one on TV

Late in the second round of the PGA Championship, Kevin Chappell needed some work done on his back. 

 

 

 

8. Keegan and MJ

Michael Jordan showed up to the Ryder Cup in typical MJ fashion. 

 

7. Rory proves he's really, really good at golf

Sure this may not have been the way it was drawn up, but it was still impressive. 

 

6. Dance on, young fella

This is the only logical way to celebrate getting a ball from Rory McIlroy. 

 

 

 

5. Not one, not two, not three... but 55

This may have only come on a practice green but it is an impressive display by Rory. 

 

4. You can't change a tiger's stripes. But you can make a Tiger out of swooshes. 

Tiger Woods was bound to appear on this list eventually. He does so in a creative way. 

 

3. Rory with another great shot

This was just another example of a nice shot by Rory in a year filled with them. 

 

2. Again, Rory is really, really good

Just in case you needed further proof that the year belonged to Rory. 

 

 

1. Who said a 3-foot putt is a gimme? 

This story was everywhere this year. It was featured on the list of most engaging tweets, and also on the most read stories list. It's certainly well deserved of its spot. 

 

 

 

2014 | Top posts on Facebook by PGA.com
December 11, 2014 - 1:47pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Pebble Beach
Pebble Beach Live Cam
You can see the downed cypress tree in the top left corner of this photo, a screenshot taken during the storm from Pebble Beach's Live Cam looking down the 18th fairway found by GolfDigest.com's John Strege.

It hasn't been a good year for iconic golf trees.

Back in February, Augusta National lost the famous Eisenhower Tree just to the left of the 17th fairway in an ice storm.

In October, TPC Sawgrass lost its most famous tree -- a live oak by the sixth tee.

On Thursday, strong winds toppled one of the two cypress trees in the fairway landing area on Pebble Beach's 18th hole.

GolfDigest.com writer John Strege got details from Ron Read, a long-time USGA official who lives in the area:

"I was standing on the 18th tee and conservatively the wind was blowing at least 40 miles an hour," Read told Strege.

Strege wrote that, "Read said he returned to the tee later in the morning and took a picture looking down the fairway and did not notice the downed tree until examining the photo later."

"I was just talking to Robert Trent Jones [Jr.] and said this reminds of 1967," Read said. "I was a marshal on the sixth green at Pebble Beach [for the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am]. This was very similar to that. I remember Jack Nicklaus said he hit a 3-iron on the seventh hole. That’s what it reminded me of."

The two cypress trees -- now down to one -- were planted there in 2004 to replace two diseased pine trees, according to Strege's report. 

Pebble Beach loses one of two cypress trees in 18th fairway
December 11, 2014 - 11:10am
andrew.prezioso's picture
Rickie Fowler-Phil Mickelson
PGA.com/Instagram
This fist bump between Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson was one of the top photos on PGA.com's Instagram this year.

It's been a fun year on the PGA.com Instagram account. We've been able to bring you the best haircuts, the biggest transformations and a behind-the-scenes look at the most interesting selfie in the world, all while seeing our audience more than double. 

But what was your favorite moment on Instagram this past year? Here's a top-10 list ranked by total number of likes and comments. 

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Related: Best of Facebook | Best of Twitter

10. The most interesting selfie in the world

If there was ever a photo that defines what makes Miguel Angel Jimenez one of the most interesting golfers in the game today, this might be it. 

 

 

9. Tiger takes on Valhalla 

Much of the speculation during the early days of the PGA Championship was surrounding whether Tiger Woods would play. He showed up on Wednesday for a practice round to much fanfare. 

 

 

Welcome to the 96th PGA Championship. @pgachampionship #pgachamp #tigerwoods

A photo posted by PGA.com (@pgacom) on

 

8. Rory wins PGA Championship, Part II

Rory McIlroy emerged from a wild and intense final round at Valhalla to capture his second major in a row, and fourth overall.  

 

 

Congratulations Rory! 2014 #PGAChamp #Vahalla

A photo posted by PGA.com (@pgacom) on

 

7. Spieth's transformation

Coming off a strong performance in his first Ryder Cup, our audience loved to see the changes in Jordan Spieth from his Junior Ryder Cup days. 

 

 

6. Day 1 at the PGA Championship

Not to be forgotten amidst all the excitement of the final round of the PGA Championship was how great of a first round was played at Valhalla. 

 

 

5. Rory wins PGA Championship, Part I

Yeah, it's pretty safe to say that Rory winning the PGA Championship was a pretty big deal. 

 

 

Ladies and gents, here's your 96th @pgachampionship winner, @rorymcilroyofficial #pgachamp

A photo posted by PGA.com (@pgacom) on

 

4. Ryder Cup bags

Our fans loved this look at Team USA's bags before they were loaded onto the plane for Scotland. 

 

 

Yep, the bags are ready for Scotland. #RyderCup #TeamUSA #RedeemTeam

A photo posted by PGA.com (@pgacom) on

 

3. Team USA photo day

There was a lot of excitement to see if Team USA could win the Ryder Cup back.  

 

 

Looks like the #RedeemTeam is ready to get down to business. @rydercupusa #TeamUSA

A photo posted by PGA.com (@pgacom) on

 

2. The fist bump

In one of the our favorite moments in a tense final round of the PGA Championship, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler bumped fists before heading to the 10th hole. Sure seems like you guys enjoyed it, too. 

 

 

Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson are excited for what should be a thrilling back nine. Are you? #pgachamp

A photo posted by PGA.com (@pgacom) on

 

1. Team USA's best haircut

Rickie Fowler created a lot of buzz (pun slightly intended) with his interesting haircut at the Ryder Cup. 

 

 

That's some patriotic spirit that @therealrickiefowler is sporting. #RyderCup #TeamUSA #RedeemTeam

A photo posted by PGA.com (@pgacom) on

 

Best of PGA.com Instagram in 2014
December 11, 2014 - 11:07am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Patrick Reed, Justine Reed
USA Today Sports Images
Patrick Reed's wife and part-time caddie, Justine, was hospitalized in Naples, Fla., on Tuesday after suffering from a grand mal seizure.

Justine Reed, wife and part-time caddie to husband Patrick, was hospitalized on Tuesday after suffering a grand mal seizure (a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions).

The incident happened while Justine Reed was taking a bath at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla., where Patrick Reed is competing in this week's Shark Shootout, which begins today.

Patrick Reed released this statement through his management company, IMG:

"I withdrew from today's pro-am to be with my wife, Justine, who suffered a grand mal seizure (Tuesday) afternoon while in the bathtub. We are really fortunate that she is OK and lucky that I was in the room with her to save her from drowning. I am so grateful to the paramedic team, IMG and the doctors at Naples Community Hospital for their support and care during an extremely difficult time."

Patrick Reed did tee off in the first round of the Shark Shootout this morning with partner Brandt Snedeker.

Based on a tweet from Golf Channel's Lisa Cornwell on Thursday morning, it seems Justine Reed is doing OK:

 

Patrick Reed's wife hospitalized after seizure