2017 golf superlatives
We've spent a lot of time over the last several weeks looking back at the year that was in 2017.
Over the course of the last 12 months a lot of fun stuff involving golfers has happened on and off the links. In that spirit, we've compiled a list of nine superlatives for golfers in 2017.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.
9. Best all around: Justin Thomas
This one was a no-brainer. PGA Champion Justin Thomas takes the crown here. What a season it was -- five PGA Tour victories, including his first major; PGA Tour Player of the Year; FedExCup Champion.
Even when he wasn't winning, Thomas was often in the mix. He had 12, top-10 finishes in 25 starts. Oh, and with the PGA Tour's wraparound schedule, he already has a victory in the new season, having won the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in October.
Life is good for Justin Thomas right now, folks.
8. Best Bromance: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Smiley Kaufman
The crew reconvened in the Bahamas after the Masters for more shirtless shenanigans. I love the fact that these guys are so close off the course. Some people don't like it because they think it interferes with the competitive spirit.
To those people, I will ask you this: Is the banter more fun between you and people you know, or you and people you don't know?
If you're being honest, there's nothing, and I mean NOTHING, more fun than giving a buddy the needle.
Keep it up, fellas. We'll all look forward to #sb2k18.
7. Best dancers: Juli Inkster and Annika Sorenstam
Tension? What tension? This moment between U.S. captain Juli Inkster and European captain Annika Sorenstam at the Solheim Cup was really cool.
A little ABBA to get the bleachers rocking and even the captains couldn't help but get down.
I don't think we're going to see anything like this from captains Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn at the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris, but who knows.
6. Most unique: Padraig Harrington
Paddy will be taking home this superlative until the end of time.
Talk about marching to the beat of your own drum. Harrington has always done it his way, even when it involves movements in the swing that lead others to wonder, "what is that guy doing?"
Well, "that guy" is a three-time major winner, so whatever he's doing is working just fine.
5. Most spirited: Patrick Reed
When it comes to the Ryder Cup, Patrick Reed has deservedly earned the nickname, "Captain America."
At the 2017 U.S. Open, Reed took that to a new level.
During the third round at Erin Hills, Reed actually wore a pair of his pants -- emblazoned with "USA" -- from the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.
It was cool to see. Most players have a different shirt and slacks for every day of the year (not really, but it seems that way sometimes). Yet here was Reed, months later, sporting his Ryder Cup gear.
We loved it.
It was a good call by Reed, too. He shot a 7-under 65 that day.
4. Most likely to get ID’d when they're 50: Zac Blair
This story -- one of my favorites of the year -- comes courtesy of buddy Soly over at www.NoLayingUp.com.
It happened it third-year PGA Tour pro Zac Blair, 27 years old. We'll let Soly tell it...
The highlight story, as mentioned on Twitter, was his Jack Nicklaus story. All 5'6" of ZB is chillin' in the hot tub in the locker room, and Jack Nicklaus strolls through. Nicklaus does a bit of a double take, pokes his head in, and asks ZB:
"What's goin on in here? Your parents around?"
He 100% thought ZB was a player's kid, and that he was left unattended in the player's locker room. I was crying. Pinehurst chimed in with a phenomenal response to the story, then ZB shared an even better one:
3. Best ending to a playoff: Travelers Championship
As if a playoff between young guns Jordan Spieth and Daniel Berger wasn't good enough for golf fans, how about that ending at TPC River Highlands?
If you'll remember, both Spieth and Berger hit less than ideal approach shots into the par-4 18th green on the first hole of the playoff. Spieth hung it out right into a bunker, while Berger went left, facing a long birdie putt.
When the players arrived by the green, Spieth stole the show. He holed the bunker shot and went berserk with caddie Michael Greller. Awesome moment. And made even cooler by Berger's acknowledgement of what just went down -- a head-shaking smile, some clapping and a nice high-five for Spieth. Berger still had a chance to match, but seriously, how do you make a lengthy birdie putt to keep a playoff going after you just witnessed that?
2. Best ending to a major: Jordan Spieth at the Open Championship
The incredible bogey at 13 that saved the tournament, the birdie on 14, the "Go get that" eagle putt on 15 to go along with birdies on 16 and 17.
Spieth played the final six holes at Royal Birkdale in the game's oldest major in 4 under.
After that bogey on 13, it very much looked as if poor Matt Kuchar could very much be in the driver's seat for his first major win.
But it wasn't to be. Spieth absolutely put the pedal to the metal and throttled Kuchar down the stretch.
A once tight tournament was suddenly a three-shot romp for Spieth and his third major overall.
1. Most unforgettable: Sergio Garcia wins the Masters
Up until the beginning of Masters week in 2017, Sergio Garcia had accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish in golf with one glaring exception -- he had famously never won a major championship.
He contended loads of times, but never finished one off.
How could that be? In 1999, at the age of 19, Garcia very nearly clipped Tiger Woods to win the PGA Championship at Medinah. Golf pundits for sure thought that was a sign of things to come from what should be a major-rich career for the Spaniard.
Alas, it wasn't to be... until last April.
That's when Garcia managed to fight off all his demons from majors past and take down good buddy Justin Rose with a lovely birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff.
It was a beautiful moment for Garcia and for golf. To see the emotion Garcia displayed in that moment was heartwarming. You could see -- just in his face -- how much winning a green jacket meant to him.
It was a moment that was a long time coming. Too long. And Garcia deserved every second of it of the joyous celebration that followed.