7 golf moments we're most thankful for

Phil Mickelson
USA Today Sports Images
This is the season of giving thanks. Here, we reflect on seven golf moments we're thankful for this year.
By T.J. Auclair
PGA.com
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Saturday, November 19, 2016 | 4:55 p.m.

During the week ahead, many us will spend time surrounded by loved ones, breaking bread together and being grateful for the opportunity to enjoy each other's company.

Over the course of the next several days, we're all going to have moments of reflection. Maybe it's on the couch after stuffing our faces during Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe it's when we lay down to go to bed at night. But, inevitably, we will have those moments where we look back, reflect and appreciate all those things in life that we're most thankful for.

In the spirit of this season of giving thanks, we decided to list seven golf moments in professional golf that we're most thankful for this year.

7. We're thankful that the delayed penalty Dustin Johnson incurred at Oakmont back in June during the final round of the U.S. Open didn't cost him his first major victory. Man, wouldn't that have been a bummer? Johnson had to spend time in that grueling final round on one of the toughest courses in the world having to wonder whether he was leading, tied for the lead, or trailing all pending on the outcome of a ruling that wasn't finalized until he went in to sign his card. With his superb play to close out the tournament -- along with the help of those who faltered on the closing stretch -- the penalty ended up being a moot, yet much discussed, point.

 

 

6. We're thankful for Louis Oosthuizen's ridiculous hole-in-one on the par-3 16th hole at Augusta National during the final round of the Masters. There's nothing cooler than seeing an ace, but -- let's be honest -- while they all result "1" not all aces are created equally. That's what made Oosthuizen's so special. His ball flew long and right of the flag. He utilized the backstop on the green to suck the ball back to it's traditional front left Sunday hole location. The ball trickled and trickled and -- OH NO! -- hit the ball of playing partner J.B. Holmes... and then rolled into the bottom of the cup for one of the coolest aces you'll ever see.

 

 

5. We're thankful for the interview conducted by 9-year-old Billy with four-time major winner Rory McIlroy. A late entry to be sure since this video didn't drop until this past Friday, but have you seen it? This little kid was just an absolute savage lighting up McIlroy with uncomfortable question after uncomfortable question. To his credit, McIlroy was a champ about the whole thing and took it all in stride with a smile on his face the entire time. If we learned anything from this interview it's that we all need more Billy interviews in our lives.

 

 

4. We're thankful for the singles match between Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia at the Ryder Cup. The match may have ended in a "halve" but when two players are playing at the level that this pair did, it's just incredible to watch. Between them, the two tallied an amazing 19 birdies over 18 holes. If they were teammates in a four-ball match, their opponents would not have stood a chance. There were so many great moments in this match-up, but how good was the birdie putt on 18 by Mickelson to secure the 1/2-point?

 

 

3. We're thankful for Patrick Reed as a member of Ryder Cup USA. Does anyone -- at least on the U.S. side -- get as fired up for the Ryder Cup as Reed? He's a man possessed when he puts on the red, white and blue. Reed, along with partner Jordan Spieth, was nearly unstoppable at Hazeltine. And the first eight holes of Reed's singles match on the final day with McIlroy was off the charts with the back and forth and the antics. Reed would win the match 1 up to finish the Ryder Cup with a 3-1-1 record. His 3.5 points were the most of any player in the matches.

 

 

2. We're thankful for the final day duel at Royal Troon between Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson in the Open Championship. Much like Mickelson's Ryder Cup match with Garcia, he and Stenson raised their respective games so high at the season's final major it was as if they were playing a different course than the rest of the field. Stenson entered the final round with a one-stroke advantage over Mickelson. On the last day, Mickelson fired a 6-under 65 -- a remarkable score on the final day of a major that should have been more than enough to get the job done. But, somehow, Stenson was better. He posted a head-scratching, 8-under 63 to snag his first major title. What a tournament.

 

 

1. We're thankful for a U.S. victory in the Ryder Cup. For whatever reason, the Ryder Cup has been a tough nut to crack for the Americans over the last two decades. How bad was it? Up until this year, the U.S. had won just twice since 1995... and one of those was in miracle fashion at Brookline in 1999 when the team overcame a final-day, four-point deficit. Well, 2016 was different. It was a new approach, a new commitment and a blueprint for years to come. Whether you're a fan of the U.S. or Europe, an American victory at Hazeltine was good for the Ryder Cup. And they didn't need a miracle this time, winning by a score of 17-11. It was the first U.S. win since 2008 in the matches. You're not going to win all the time, but when you're losing all the time, it takes a lot of fun out of it. With all the younger players involved on both sides in this most recent Ryder Cup, it's going to be so much fun to watch for years and years to come.

 

 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.