Take a look back at the year in golf and who was recognized for the View from the Fairway 2021 Golf Awards.
Golfer of the Year – Collin Morikawa
He had some competition, but how can you put anybody ahead of a man who won The Open Championship and then followed it up with victory in the DP World Tour Championship to finish the season as winner of the Race to Dubai? A global superstar – and there is much more to come.
Bad Break of the Year – Jon Rahm
The Spaniard led The Memorial Tournament by six shots as he walked of the green at the conclusion of his third round. He was greeted by a PGA Tour official who informed him that he had recorded a positive Covid test and had to isolate. His response? In his very next appearance, he won the US Open. He then flew across the Atlantic and nearly won The Open. He was looking forward to taking part in the Olympic Games when, unbelievably, he failed another Covid test.
Underachiever of the Year – Louis Oosthuizen
The South African finished second at the US Open and tied third at The Open. On the face of it that is a pretty impressive body of work but he has yet to win on American soil and he actually led The Open before crumbling in the final round.
Comeback of the Year – Jordan Spieth
Spieth spent three years in the wilderness and then, from nowhere, rediscovered his game. There were a succession of top-five finishes and he capped it all by winning again and contending for the sport’s biggest prizes. It is good to see him back.
Worst Headline of the Year – Tiger Woods in Car Crash Horror
As if the 15-time major champion has not been through enough, he crashed his car at 85mph in February. He was lucky to survive and even luckier not to lose his right leg. He has spent the year in rehab but finally reappeared on the course alongside his 12-year-old son Charlie at the PNC Championship. Although he had to use a buggy, the pair finished second and reeled off 11 successive birdies in the second round. He may yet defy the odds once again.
Bore of the Year – That Feud
We have all had more than enough of the ridiculous war of words between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka. They appeared to put their differences behind them at the Ryder Cup when they embraced after Team USA’s sensational victory. Apparently not!
Most Emotional Moment of the Year – Richard Bland & Tim Barter
Bland had played in 477 European Tour events without a victory. And then came the British Masters at The Belfry. He played superbly all week, produced big shots when he needed them, holed putts for fun, won in a playoff and then played his part in simply the best post-victory interview I have ever seen when he spoke to Sky Golf’s Tim Barter. It should be pointed out that Barter has worked with Bland for 20 years and both men could barely speak at the end of it all.
Shot of the Year – Jon Rahm
Actually, it is ’shots of the year’. The putts he holed on the 17th and 18th greens to secure the US Open were reminiscent of Tiger Woods in his pomp. Great players have a habit of being able to produce memorable shots when they really need to do so, and the Spaniard did it twice. Simply incredible.
Emotional Outburst of the Year – Rory McIlroy
Yes, he won twice. But he threw away the DP World Tour Championship and performed horribly in the majors. However, the lasting memory of Rory’s year will be his interview at the end of the Ryder Cup when he fought back the tears while telling the world how bitterly disappointed he was with his form, saying that he felt he had let down his teammates. It was the moment when we realised just how much the Northern Irishman really does care about this frustrating game.
Course of the Year – Kiawah Island
Many of us will remember Kiawah Island from the 1991 Ryder Cup, better known as the War on Shore. It also hosted the 2021 US PGA Championship and it looked spectacular. It nearly reduced some players to tears but it provided a fair test and helped to produce the unlikeliest of finishes when Phil Mickelson emerged triumphant.
Team of the Year – Europe’s Solheim Cup Team
Catriona Matthew’s team weren’t given a prayer of winning on American soil but for three days they played like giants, with Ireland’s Leona Maguire the star of the show. It was a wonderful performance.
Young Player of the Year – Sam Burns
Every so often a young player emerges and you just know that he or she is something special. Burns is such a player. He won the Valspar Championship in May and finished runner-up twice during the 2020-21 season. He then kicked off the new season by winning the Sanderson Farms Championship. In four starts his worst finish is a tie for 14th. And he finished his year by finishing in a tie for third at the Hero World Challenge. A certain major winner of the future.
Surprise of the Year – Phil Mickelson Winning the US PGA
Lefty sprays the ball all over the place, and always has done. If ever there was a course that would find him out it is Kiawah Island but for four days he rolled back the years and, unbelievably, won the US PGA Championship at the age of 50, becoming the oldest golfer ever to win a major. It was a performance that came from nowhere. He has enjoyed further success on the Champions Tour but missed nine cuts on the PGA Tour. Nobody does it quite like Flaky Phil.
Worst Haircut of the Year – Cameron Smith
During lockdown there was an excuse for not getting your haircut. But listen Cam, lockdown ended many, many months ago. You need to realise that the mullet you are currently sporting is NOT a flattering look.
Best Beard of the Year – John Daly
This award would normally go to Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston but Daly is currently sporting a facial adornment that makes him look like Father Christmas and wins this award hands down. He also appears to have eaten all the mince pies!