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What golfers should be thankful for in 2013

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

It could have been a lot worse for Rory McIlroy in 2013. (USATSI)
It could have been a lot worse for Rory McIlroy in 2013. (USATSI)

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We're smack in the middle of Thanksgiving weekend, which means golfers are probably gathering with family to celebrate the year.

If their families are anything like mine, an aunt or a brother-in-law will likely ask what everyone is thankful for and the air will be filled with cliché phrases and coach-speak (yes, even without a coach in sight).

But here's what a few golfers should really say they're thankful for this weekend ...

Tiger Woods should be thankful for having a management team that knows exactly what to say: Tiger couldn't have played the Sergio Garcia and Brandel Chamblee incidents any more perfectly. He said all the right things and gave Sergio just enough rope to hang himself with. Woods put on a clinic in "how to deal with the media in 2013" in 2013.

Adam Scott should be thankful for God: For blessing him with, among other things, a portrait of a golf swing, the physique of a decathlete and world-class charm. He should also thank himself for figuring out how to use it all.

Henrik Stenson should be thankful for Tiger Woods: Tiger brought golf into big-time sport status and helped build the purses that eventually emptied into Stenson's hands to the tune of $20 million this season.

Sure, Stenson was hitting 4-irons to a space the size of a beach ball the final half of the year but that kind of gift sure pays more than it used to.

Jason Dufner should be thankful for the Internet: Can you imagine The Duf in the 1970s? He's just another grumpy, bored golfer who was blessed with an ability to hit long irons pure as the driven snow.

In 2013, though? He's the guy who created Dufnering (though it was hardly an artistic endeavor) and potentially inappropriately touched his good-looking wife after winning the PGA Championship.

That'll play, Duf, that'll play.

Lee Westwood should be thankful for Phil Mickelson: Lefty's final-round 66 at Muirfield kept the criticism of Westwood's final-round 75 at bay. Westy had yet another opportunity to close out major No. 1 and couldn't get it done. Nobody will remember this one, though.

Rory McIlroy should be thankful that our memories are short: Rory is going to win a tournament early in 2014 and all will be forgotten. Those two majors carry more weight than anyone wants to admit and the Ulsterman's charm with the media at large goes a long way.

He got singed a little in 2013 but it was hardly the roasting it could have been.

Steve Stricker should be thankful for Rory McIlroy: Stricker was the only other golfer inside the current world top 10 besides McIlroy who didn't win a tournament. Don't get me wrong, the Stricker story is among golf's best but him coming up empty-handed should have been a louder narrative this year and it wasn't.

McIlroy's, on the other hand, definitely was.

The Masters should be thankful for Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera: One of the dirty little secrets of this year's major schedule is that the Masters was pretty boring (save Tiger's ball drop) this year until the very end. Then it got very exciting in a hurry.

That doesn't affect ratings (who isn't watching the Masters on Masters Sunday?) but it does affect our memories of the legacy of the tournament. A great ending saved a mediocre tourney.

Luke Donald should be thankful for Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter: Donald's struggles at majors are the least discussed of the three but he was cut from the British Open and PGA Championship this season.

He hasn't finished in the top three at a major since 2006. Don't we expect more from world No. 15? I think we should.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

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