Jordan, Jason and Lydia Highlight Year-End Heroes and Zeros
Sports Illustrated's Alan Shipnuck breaks down the good and bad -- and sometimes even the ugly -- of the weekend that was in professional golf. More often than not, someone blew a lead, another player stormed onto the scene and a few others provided us unforgettable moments, for whatever reason. Who is a hero and who is a zero? Find out below, but make sure to check back next week. You never know who will show up.
What a year, people! We just minted a new generation of stars, witnessed one of the most exciting batches of majors ever and finally moved on once and for all from the Tiger epoch. Here’s one last H/Z of 2015, rounding up a year’s worth of highs and lows, from Jordan's prowess to Tiger's demise.
1. Jordan. All hail the baby GOAT. Golf is in good hands with this golfing gentleman. Can Spieth come close to what he did in ’15? That’s a big ask, but it’s going to be a blast to watch him try.
2. Lydia. Lost in Spiethmania is that this 18 year old is a talent for the ages. Not sure I’ve ever seen another player, male or female, play with more flow.
3. J-Day. The only thing he didn’t do right in ’15 was failing to take a charge from LeBron.
4. Ms. Park. Golf’s queen ‘bee graced us with her typical quiet brilliance, racking up two more major championships (that’s now 7 total) and five wins (17). That’s how you kick down the door to the Hall at the age of 27.
5. 2016. After an epic year we have potentially an even better one coming, with golf’s neo-Big Four taking on the Olympics and a trio of classic major championship venues, led by Oakmont, the ultimate examination. Throw in the Ryder Cup and continuing LPGA intrigue and our collective New Year’s resolution should be to watch (and read about) more golf.
1. Tiger. Chip-yips, an inability to break 80, multiple back surgeries, a 40th birthday…hard to imagine there’s ever been a worse time for Woods. Oh, wait.
2. Phil. At 45, he’s now 2.5 years removed from his last victory. Does Mickelson have one last run in him? The heart says yes, the mind says no.
3. Wiesy. Her victory at the ‘14 Women’s Open seemed like it would launch her into the stratosphere, but Wie lost the ensuing year and a half to injury and various distractions. True, she’s only 26, but in her case the problem is the mileage, not the age.
4. Rory. Remember way back in the spring, when McIlroy won the Match Play and then dropped a 61 at Quail Hollow? Yeah, me neither. Here’s hoping that a motivated, refocused Rory can get back to where he was.
5. Dustin. Almost as bad as his 72nd hole meltdown at Chambers Bay was the subsequent implosion at the Old Course. I’ve always been a believer in this guy’s talent but he’s now 31 – is he ever gonna figure it out?