Was 2011 a good year for golf? I found this news today.
Why 2011 Was a Good Year for Golf
Compared with last year, 2011 was a feel-good stretch for golf. In 2010, the themes were Tiger Woods’s feckless efforts to rebound from scandal, Dustin Johnson’s final-round botches in two majors, and the U.S. Ryder Cup team’s disappointing loss in Wales. By contrast, this year was full of triumphs, and tees up the coming season for more high drama.
The most resounding triumph was 22-year-old Rory McIlroy’s runaway victory at the U.S. Open at Congressional. Both his record 16-under-par total of 268 and his eight-stroke margin on the field were Tiger-like in scale, and seemed to confirm the predictions of many that the mopheaded lad from Northern Ireland is destined to become one of the game’s all-time greats.
Less sensational, perhaps, but just as impressive because it showed mental toughness over time, was Luke Donald’s winning the money title and Player of the Year on both the PGA and European Tours, an unprecedented feat. Entering the year ranked No. 9 in the world and with a reputation for being a poor closer, the 34-year-old Englishman recast himself psychologically as “the assassin” and won four times. In 19 of his 25 events, he finished in the top 10. In May he took the No. 1 spot and has stuck there since.
Woods ended 2011 three weeks ago with a win at the limited-field Chevron World Challenge, his first since shortly before his scandal broke in November 2009. It followed two strong November showings down under, at the Australian Open and in the Presidents Cup. Woods’s left leg, most recently the cause of his mediocre play, appears to be completely healed. His two-year absence from the winner’s circle, after 13 years of only occasionally interrupted dominance, helped open up space for Donald, McIlroy, Lee Westwood and others, including this year’s Cinderella story, two-time PGA Tour winner Webb Simpson, to develop some momentum. How well they stare down Woods, should he roar back to prescandal form, will be the story line to follow as the new year unfolds.
The last few years have been tough in many ways. Let us all hope for a more positive momentum and more enjoyable golf next year!