With 2018 coming to a close, there was plenty to talk about in the world of golf. The sport saw tremendous growth, old faces return, youth surge, and excitement grow. Although there was so much to chose from, we found our Top 10 of 2018.
10. Dustin Johnson
Starting the year off with a bang Dustin Johnson put together a spectacular display of golf over four days at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. During the first four rounds of the year DJ’s highest score was a round of 69. With shots like this it’s easy to see how he shot 24 under over the four day stretch and made it seem like he was playing a video game. Throughout the year DJ pt on a masterful display of drives and hole outs.
9. The Masters
From Tiger being favored to win it to the dramatic finish between Rickie Fowler and the eventual winner Patrick Reed all the way to Tony Finau’s dislocated ankle, popping it back in himself and making the run that he did. The tournament lacked absolutely nothing. The most memorable moment of all came from Nicklaus. Not the Golden Bear himself, but his grandson, Gary. Jack let his grandson (and caddie) take the final tee shot of the par 3 contest. As soon as the ball was in the air, “You’re gonna like that” was heard from Gary Player. Boy, was he right. The ball landed aways passed the hole and spun back ever so slowly finding its way into the cup.
8. Tiger vs. Phil - The Match
The first of its kind and long awaited, the competition seemed to be more hype than an actual display of the two GOATs of the game. However, the event is something that every golf fan wants to see and hear with the chatter between caddie and player, and especially the trash talk between two of the best jab takers at one another Big Cat and Left. The Match had its downsides, however with two more schedule it has set a new stage for the sport and I think will only benefit the growth of the game in the future. Sometimes change is good.
7. The FedEx Cup Playoffs
Perhaps one of the most dramatic finishes in recent history. The top spot/projected winner consistently changing. The great display from Bryson DeChambeau, Tiger Woods, and the winner Justin Rose was spectacular. The decision came down to the last hole of the TOUR Championship this year. Justin Rose won the FedEx cup, becoming the only player to win without actually winning any of the four playoff events. He managed to hold off a surging Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau, who won two of the four playoff events.
6. Tommy Fleetwood
The longhaired Englishman became a fan favorite this year on both sides of the pond. He rallied on the back nine of the Abu Dabi HSBC Championship this year position six birdies to win by 2 strokes, resulting in a final round of 65. He again amazed fans during the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club posting final score of 63 during the final round to fall one shy of the winner Brooks Koepka. One of six players to ever shoot that low of score in the tournament. Fleetwood’s smooth swing also made him a Ryder Cup legend this year as the European Team won handedly against Team USA thanks to his performance as a rookie for the event.
5. Brooks Koepka
The man with a chip on his (massive) shoulders and deservedly so. Koepka won two majors this year, the U.S. Open and The PGA Championship. He now holds 3 major titles (the U.S. Open in 2017) at the age of 28. A successful season from the guy that never misses arm day pushed him into the number one spot in the World Rankings for a brief moment this year. Snubbed for recognition for his success by multiple media outlets, Koepka will without a doubt the a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming season.
4. Francesco Molinari
One of the biggest success stories of the year. The 36 year old became the first European to claim five wins out of five matches during the Ryder Cup. Due to his hard work during the offseason, Molinari tremendously improved his putting. This hard work paid off as he was able to fend off Rory McIlroy during the final round of the BMW PGA Championship. The win brought not only Molinari his first major win, but the country of Italy its first major championship as well.
3. Valentino Dixon
A name most golf fans will not recognize, however his story is something that should be. A man wrongfully convicted of murder has never walked a golf course. Dixon was once asked to draw a picture of Augusta’s 12th hole as a favor. He later found therapy and a way to pass the time incarcerated in drawing the landscapes of golf courses. People noticed. In 2012, Golf Digest caught wind of the story and nationally exposed his misfortunes. A few undergraduates from Georetown University heard his story as well and dove deeper into his case and with their findings, Dixon was freed from prison after spending 27 years for a crime he never committed.
2. Phil Mickelson
Lefty was everywhere in 2018. From his long sleeved dress shirt attire to the previously mentioned match where he won $9 million from long rival Tiger Woods. He again made news with his controversial putt while the ball was still moving during the third round of the U.S. Open. The move infuriated reporters as he gave his explanation for committing the act and had media questioning his respect for the game. He later won the heart of fans again showing off his dance moves in a commercial. A year of up and downs was capitalized by two great feats, ending a five year winless streak and celebrating 25 consecutive years in the top 50 in the World Rankings.
1. Tiger Woods
Number 80. Pictures really are worth 1,000 words.