2013: The Year in Weird
Never mind being a major champion. You know you’ve really made it when you become a meme. What started with a snapshot of a slouching Jason Dufner in an elementary school classroom morphed into an Internet sensation, with a slew of online imitators happily joining in. Along the way, the golf world got a fresh look at a star emergent, and a new term -- Dufnering -- slipped into the lexicon.
2. The Bubba Craft
Floats like a butterfly, swings like a ... Bubba? As if his purchase of the General Lee weren’t enough, Bubba Watson showed his love for outlandish transport by taking a joyride in the BWI, a.k.a the Bubba Craft, the world’s first hover craft/golf cart hybrid. The vehicle allowed him to skim effortlessly over water, something not all of Bubba’s shots can do.
3. Shanshan’s Skip Shot
Trailing Stacy Lewis by a shot on the closing hole of the Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing, Shanshan Feng found the fairway on the par-5 18th and opted to go for the green in two. Her indifferent shot was water-bound but, in a fluke of fate, it struck something hard -- apparently a rock -- caromed onto the green and rattled off the flagstick, leading to a clinching eagle 3. Nice shot, Shanshan. Now, let’s see you do that again.
4. Long John Blasts Drive from Another Man’s Mouth
Most of us would think of it as a raucous evening. But it was just another night out for John Daly, who found himself outside a Nashville pizza establishment this fall with some extra time -- and energy -- on his hands. How did he make use of it? Why, by teeing up a golf ball in the mouth of another pizzeria patron and belting it into oblivion. The ball, we mean. Not the other man’s chin.
5. From Tee to Shining Tee
The course measured 5,078,382 yards (or 2,928 miles), and it took Luke Bielawski 46,805 strokes to play it. That includes penalties, and there were plenty as Bielawski went about his nearly four-month walk from California to South Carolina, belting a golf ball along the way (make that many golf balls; he lost 5,540 of them). Bielawski, at the time a third-year law student at Indiana, was raising money for charity. But he also had his own interests in mind. A self-confessed golf addict, Bielawski celebrated the conclusion of his epic outing by, well, playing more golf: on the (relatively) short Ocean course at Kiawah.
6. Simon Dyson’s Punishment
Did the punishment fit the crime? No matter how you saw it -- honorable defense of the game’s integrity or draconian response to a harmless misdemeanor -- the penalty was the same for Englishman Simon Dyson, who was handed a two-month ban and slapped with a $49,000 fine for what a European tour disciplinary panel found to be a “serious breach of the European Tour’s Code of Behaviour” at the BMW Masters in October. Dyson’s transgression? Tamping down a spike mark in his putting line.
7. Lee Westwood’s Twitter Rant
Lee Westwood learned that drinking and tweeting don’t mix the embarrassing way after laying into critics with a litany of expletive-laced tweets. Following a sluggish finish at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, the latest addition to his mounting resume of major disappointments, Westwood stayed up well into the night -- and early morning -- talking trash to the “pitiful minions” who had mocked his performance. “Come on you girly boy trolls! I’ve only won just over 2 mill on the course this year,” wrote Westwood, in a boast that made you want to either slap or hug him. The next day, Westwood apologized, and his contrition seemed authentic. More honest, anyway, than he seemed the night before, when he wrote, “Like I give a f--- what the haters say!” -- demonstrating to the world that, of course, he did.
8. Vijay Singh and Deer Antler Spray
From his range sessions alone, you sensed that the guy would do most anything to win. But deer antler spray? At the time he was using it, Vijay Singh said later, he didn’t know it was a banned substance. As usual, though, Singh was ahead of the game. Many of us didn’t know the stuff even existed.
9. Sammy the Squirrel
Golf Channel or Animal Planet? Looked more like the latter at the Presidents Cup, what with the appearance of a spotlight-hogging squirrel during the first day of the event. U.S assistant captain Davis Love III started feeding the stray squirrel on the 2nd hole, and a deep man-rodent relationship was born. Before long, Sammy the Squirrel went from sideliner to star, a good luck charm and adoptive mascot so embraced that it rode around in Love’s cart and made it into the team meeting room. Not even Tiger Woods could give it the cold shoulder.
10. Streaking for Stricker
Unlike Sammy the Squirrel, who turned up at the Presidents Cup cloaked in fur, Kimberly Webster wore only a thong. Her original intent, she said later, was to dash across the fairways of Muirfield Village and offer a full frontal to Tiger Woods. But as she scampered past Steve Stricker and inspiration struck. “I thought that streaking for Stricker sounded great, so that’s kind of what I ran with,” she said. Webster, 23, was arrested, charged with disorderly conduct and fined $100. A small price to pay for her 15 minutes of sha-, er, fame.