Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Golf’s best and worst shots of 2009

Golf’s major championships of 2009 certainly provided us with the unusual. It was the year of the spoiler on the PGA Tour. On the LPGA Tour it was a year of the dramatic on the 72nd hole.

Here’s our list of the best and a few of the worst on both tours.

Best Putt: Here we can easily select the 18-foot putt from Eun-Hee Ji to win the U.S. Women’s Open. Needing a birdie to win, Ji calmly stroked the putt dead center for a one stroke victory.

Second Best Putt: Stewart Cink may have thought he was just improving his position in the tournament, but as it turned out his 12-foot putt for birdie on the final hole of the British Open earned him a tie for the championship with Tom Watson when he bogeyed the final hole. A worn out Watson was no match for Cink in the playoff.

Worst Two Putts: All of us who grew up in the Nicklaus and Watson era were on the edge of our seats watching the 2009 British Open. Here was 59-year old Tom Watson about to take the title and tie Harry Vardon with six victories in golf’s oldest major. Unfortunately, Watson’s second to the final hole scooted over the green. Electing to putt from a dodgy lie, he knocked it eight feet past. More unfortunately, he didn’t even come close on the putt to win the title. In the end he was no match for Stewart Cink in the playoff.

Worst Finish: All (“all” is a suspicious word when working under the pressure of a major championship) Kenny Perry had to do was play the final two holes of the 2009 Masters in one over par to slip on the green jacket. Disastrously Perry bogeyed the final two and then lost on the second playoff hole to Angel Cabrera.

Luckiest Shot: How can we forget this? On the first playoff hole at the Masters, the par-4 18th, Angel Cabrera hit his tee shot dead right into the trees. With a swashbuckling, go-for-broke attitude, he fires his next at the green, but the loud “crack” as the ball hits a tree proclaims something has gone amiss. No worries, the ball bounces into the fairway from which point he makes par to tie Kenny Perry. Cabrera wins the Masters on the very next playoff hole, the 10th.
Unluckiest Shot: Hunter Mahan was definitely in the hunt at the 2009 U.S. Open. Needing a birdie on one of the last four holes, Mahan fired his second at the par 4 15th dead at the flagstick – right dead on the flagstick. The ball caromed of the flagstick to about 15 feet from where Mahan made par.

Second Best Shot (A & B): Y.E. Yang wins the A & B award here. Yang became the first man to stare down Tiger on the final nine of a major at the PGA Championship. He gets the A award for his chip-in for eagle on the short par 4 fourteenth. The chip was from a severely sloped lie beside the green. He also receives the B award for his second shot on the 72nd hole, a hybrid to about ten feet. Leading by one at the time he drove the metaphorical nail into Tiger’s coffin.

Absolute Best Shot: No doubt Brittany Lincicome provided the outright most dramatic shot in a major championship in 2009. Trailing by one shot coming to the final hole of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Lincicome fired a hybrid second shot from 210 yards on the par-5 finishing hole that finished four feet. She made the eagle putt and won by one.

And that's the way it was in 2009.

No comments: