Despite recent poor showings, Tiger Woods tops midseason awards
Tiger Woods, Billy Horschel, the U.S. Open and a Phil Mickelson shot are your big winners in the mid-season golf awards.
Yes, it is true that the golf season is far more than half over by number of tournaments -- did you know there are only 11 weeks left in the 2013 PGA Tour season?
But in terms of importance, we're right in the heart of the year. There are still two majors left, the Tour Championship and the Presidents Cup.
As some of our favorite golf broadcasters would say, "there's a lot of meat left on that bone."
Since it feels like we have as many big tournaments in front of us as we do behind us, I decided now was as good a time as any to hand out some midseason awards.
It has been a season of first-timer winners (10 of them!) and old-timers (Nos. 75-78 for Tiger Woods). It has been a season dominated by weather and strange (sometimes very strange) tournaments.
We've had two absolutely classic majors though and, in the end, those are what we remember. We have a blowout rookie of the year race and (for me) an easy choice for player of the year.
I'm teasing you, though. Let's get to the awards.
Player of the year
Tiger Woods -- I'm confused. Are we supposed to judge him by his standards when it comes to player of the year or by everybody else's standards? I have to choose the latter since, you know, that I'm comparing him to everybody else. He's the only golfer with more than two wins and “no majors!” you say. He won the Players Championship, though, and that easily carries him out to the front of the pack.
Rookie of the year
Russell Henley -- Just because he doesn't seem like a rookie (top 20 on money list and a monster win at the Sony Open) doesn't mean he isn't one. Jordan Spieth has a chance to catch him with a win, but this one is all but over.
Comeback player of the year
Boo Weekley -- Dropped to No. 618 in the world in 2012 and bounced back this year to win for the first time in five years on Tour at Colonial in May. If a major ever decided to hand out plaid jackets, maybe Weekley could win one of those, too (all three of his PGA Tour wins have come at tournaments that hand out plaid to the winner).
Most consistent player
Billy Horschel -- You know him for those octopus pants that he wore in the final round of the U.S. Open. Everybody on Tour knows him as the guy who started the year by making 12 straight cuts.
He has only missed one since then and ranks sixth on the money list and fifth on the FedEx Cup points list. I just need him to make a snowman on a hole in the next few tournaments because I have all of the 8-tentacled octopus jokes stockpiled.
U.S. Open -- It's really difficult for me to pass on the Masters here, but I think a lot of people forget the first three and a half days were mostly about the Tiger ball drop and a series of googling "who in the world is Marc Leishman?"
The U.S. Open, on the other hand, gave us a loaded leaderboard from the first day on. Here were the nine guys leading or within four shots after the third round:
The only guy on there who isn't a bona fide star is Horschel, and he will be at some point.
My interest waned more with the Masters than it did with the U.S. Open, and the Masters was saved by an unbelievable ending (see below). The U.S. Open was just a classic tournament.
Masters -- It’s definitely between Augusta, the Players Championship and the U.S. Open (the big ones have delivered this year). In the end, I think it has to be the Masters just because of the last three holes.
You had the epic putt on No. 18 by Adam Scott. The “I am El Pato, and I do not care about your continent, Mr. Scott” iron by Angel Cabrera right after Scott’s putt. And then a storybook playoff between two guys who just love to play golf. The hug that Cabrera gave Scott after his win was one of the moments of the year for me.
Players Championship -- I think the Players Championship gave us the most laugh-out-loud-worthy tweets per minute. At the end, you had Tiger flushing drives, spinning clubs and dropping f-bombs on national television.
You had Sergio Garcia Sergio Garcia-ing. You had some dude named David Lingmerth. You had the Sergio-Tiger country club drama all week. And you had the incredible Tiger “U MAD ON MOTHER’S DAY, BRO” face.
It was almost too much to take.
Phil Mickelson’s hole-out eagle on No. 10 at Merion -- We thought it was going to be the shot on which the tournament turned. Instead, it was just the shot on which Mickelson will remember he came this close to a U.S. Open title one more time. For shame, because it was a hell of a shot.
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