WORST JACK NICKLAUS IMPRESSION
Yeah, he won five times at the places where he always wins, but that's not what lingers from Woods' schizophrenic season. No, it will be remembered for his inexplicably bad weekend play at the majors and a handful of rules dust-ups. When Masters officials proffered a dubious loophole after Woods had signed an incorrect scorecard, he was within his rights to play on, but he missed a golden opportunity to do the right thing -- withdraw -- and forever join Nicklaus in the pantheon of good sportsmanship. More revealing was how Woods handled an imbroglio at the BMW Championship. Even after being confronted with video that showed the ball changed positions while he tried to remove debris around it, Woods stubbornly insisted the ball had merely oscillated and returned to its exact same spot. Among his peers oscillate immediately became an all-purpose punch line. The one place Woods' character has always been beyond reproach is between the ropes. But throw in another penalty in Abu Dhabi and a much-debated drop at the Players, and that, sadly, is starting to change.
BEST PRACTICAL JOKE
Jonas Blixt wearing all-orange when paired with Rickie Fowler in the final round of the Barclays. These matching Creamsicles looked so ridiculous you couldn't help but laugh.
WORST PRACTICAL JOKE
Vijay Singh suing the PGA Tour after he wasn't suspended for admitting to SI he had used a banned PED. This is a joke, right?
BEST RORY MCILROY IMPRESSION
This fresh-faced kid from Texas made the most audacious debut on Tour since Woods' fall flourish in 1996, but with his good cheer and instinctive, freewheeling play he really calls to mind the young McIlroy. (O.K., the younger McIlroy.) Spieth, 20, started the year with no status on Tour, but he became the youngest winner since 1931. He racked up eight other top 10s -- including a tie for second at the Tour Championship -- to bank $3.88 million, good for 10th on the money list. Spieth is startlingly mature, but now comes the hard part: dealing with fame, fortune, media demands and all the turbulence that success brings. Which leads us to....
WORST RORY MCILROY IMPRESSION
We knew it would take some time for him to adjust to 14 new Nike clubs, but more disturbing than his seasonlong bad play was how quickly he came unstrung -- walking off the course mid-round at the Honda and bending a club beyond repair at Merion were just two ugly examples. Long-term it's impossible not to believe in his talent, but McIlroy now has to reinvent himself at age 24.
BEST STORY LINES FOR 2014
No tournament will be more freighted than the U.S. Open at Pinehurst. It was there that Mickelson suffered his first real heartbreak, in 1999, standing on the final green as Payne Stewart stole the Open with his iconic par putt. Now Mickelson returns to the sand hills with a chance to complete the career Grand Slam on an Open track that will have no rough and with turtleback greens that put a premium on chipping. If he's ever going to win an Open, this is the one.... A Ryder Cup in Scotland will be epic, even if it is played in the snow.... By the time the Tour gets to Kapalua in January, six tournaments will already have been played under the new schedule, meaning some top players will be way down the list in money and FedEx Cup points. Will this inspire them to play more, as the Tour hopes? Or will they not even notice, as is the guess here?