With apologies to the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open, the PGA Tour season is now over. Yes, the Fall Series and the Silly Season remain, but no history will be made for the remainder of 2008, so it’s time to name the winners of our annual SI Golf Plus PGA Tour Awards.
Tournament of the Year
U.S. Open The Ryder Cup certainly was the feel-good event of 2008 (well, maybe not for you, Nick), but Tiger Woods’s show at Torrey Pines was a performance for the ages. He won the Open on one leg, an epic effort that invoked memories of Ben Hogan and Ken Venturi and may ultimately define Tiger’s incomparable career.
Most Compatabate Dozen
U.S. Ryder Cup team Before the matches at Valhalla, Boo Weekley revealed that if the Americans were to win, they would need to be compatabate — a coinage of the inimitable Boo that meant being more compatible and playing like a team. The Yanks, led by enthusiastic rookies such as Boo, Anthony Kim and Hunter Mahan, translated Boo’s wish to the letter and won the Cup for the first time in nine years. It was more than a win, it was victorable. Ain’t that right, Boo?
Shot of the Year
Steve Stricker Stricker’s teammates agree that his clutch putt on the 18th hole to earn a crucial halve in a Saturday four-ball match was the most vital stroke in the U.S.’s 16 1/2-11 1/2 victory.
Dirtbag of the Year
Paul Goydos A Long Beach State alum, the endorsementless Goydos proudly wore a Dirtbags baseball cap throughout the Players Championship, which he lost to Sergio Garci;a in a playoff.
Quote of the Year
Rory Sabbatini “Lick the lollipop of mediocrity once and you’ll suck forever.”
Tiger Woods Award (player of the year)
Padraig Harrington Tiger was headed for another slam-dunk season before knee surgery ended his run. He played in six tournaments and won five, including the dramatic U.S. Open. Harrington, however, gets the nod for winning the British Open and the PGA Championship. Was Tiger’s performance more impressive? Yes, but as Tiger says, it’s all about the majors, and ask yourself this: Would Tiger trade his major and the four other wins for Paddy’s two majors? You bet.
Small Consolation Cup
Stewart Cink At the Zurich Classic, Cink had one foot in a fairway bunker as he hit an approach shot that wound up in a greenside sand trap. As Cink walked to the green, his caddie raked the fairway bunker, an act that, according to the Rules of Golf, violated Rule 13-4a for testing the condition of a hazard. Cink only realized the violation the next day after a casual conversation with pal Zach Johnson. Cink was assessed a two-shot penalty, and therefore had signed for an incorrect score and was disqualified. The USGA changed the arcane rule nine days later.
Forever Young Award
Greg Norman The Great White Shark had a chance to become the oldest winner in the history of the majors when, at 53, he took a two-shot lead into the final round of the British Open, but he shot a 77 to tie for third.
Body Part of the Year
Tiger’s left knee We couldn’t stop talking about the torn ACL and painful microfractures that caused the world’s top-ranked player to quit playing and have reconstructive surgery eight days after winning his 14th major championship.
Show Me the Money Trophy
Vijay Singh The big Fijian clinched the $10 million first prize for the FedEx Cup three weeks before the playoffs ended, and he also swiped the overall money title, which had been Tiger’s personal property for seven of the last 10 years. To show his appreciation, Veej says he’ll probably play more in Europe next year.