Tiger Woods returns to winner’s circle in a year to remember

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On a tragic word, Australian golf misplaced one among its greats when five-times British Open champion Peter Thomson died in June. But it surely was the loss of life of Jarrod Lyle, aged simply 36, after a 10-year battle with leukaemia that rocked the sport. Gamers around the globe donned yellow caps and Lyle’s trademark bucket hat in honour of the large fellow. Many will carry the “Leuk the duck” badge on their caps in 2019, which represents the Problem charity supporting children with most cancers the place Lyle was an envoy.

The winners

American Brooks Koepka overpowered his rivals within the US Open and US PGA to take the world No.1 rating in 2018 after his 12 months began with a wrist harm. Koepka, who’s powerfully constructed and has a psychological sport to match, missed the US Masters due to the harm. It means he has received three of the previous 5 majors he has began, together with two US Opens.

Great year: Brooks Koepka holds the Wanamaker Trophy after he won the PGA Championship.

Nice 12 months: Brooks Koepka holds the Wanamaker Trophy after he received the PGA Championship.Credit score:AP

Countryman Patrick Reed received at Augusta, whereas Europe’s greatest participant, Francesco Molinari, took out the Open Championship at Carnoustie earlier than being unbeaten within the Ryder Cup. He additionally received on the European and US Excursions.

Jason Day received twice on the US PGA Tour, however it was a disappointing 12 months for him as he did not contend within the majors. He completed within the prime 20 in three of them, however his greatest outcome was tied for 17th on the Open. Cameron Smith was Australia’s solely European tour winner within the co-sanctioned Australian PGA, and tied fifth on the US Masters, the place Marc Leishman, who received the US tour occasion in Kuala Lumpur, was additionally once more within the prime 10. Adam Scott’s third within the US PGA was one of the best end by an Australian in a serious for the 12 months.

Minjee Lee took the Greg Norman Medal for Australian golfer of the 12 months as she climbed to sixth on the earth rankings. She received the Volvik Championship and had 9 different top-five finishes.

The losers

Course management: Phil Mickelson  blows up after a shot from the fescue  during the third round of the US Open..

Course administration: Phil Mickelson blows up after a shot from the fescue throughout the third spherical of the US Open..Credit score:AAP

The course was nearly unplayable throughout the third spherical of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills, leaving the world’s greatest gamers annoyed by slick greens and hard pins. It led to Phil Mickelson intentionally hitting a putt whereas the ball was nonetheless shifting on the 12th. “It was going to go down into the identical spot, behind the bunker,” Mickelson mentioned. “I wasn’t going to have a shot. I don’t know if I’d have been capable of save a shot or what not, however I do know it’s a two-shot penalty, hitting a shifting ball. I attempted to hit it as near the opening as I might to make the following one and you are taking the 2 photographs and you progress on.”

America’s favorite was allowed to complete the most important by the US Golf Affiliation as many known as for him to be disqualified.

The controversy

The Australian Open lacked the large names of Day, Leishman and Scott, who selected to not come residence for the nationwide championship at The Lakes. It allowed the following technology of Australian gamers to shine behind runaway winner Abraham Ancer, from Mexico.

Waiting game: Jake McLeod watches his ball as it sits on the edge of the hole.

Ready sport: Jake McLeod watches his ball because it sits on the sting of the opening.Credit score:Channel 7

Jake McLeod completed runner-up, however it was his birdie putt on the fourth gap on the Saturday that sat on the sting of the opening for 35 seconds earlier than dropping that had guidelines officers working time beyond regulation. He was given a one-stroke penalty regardless of insisting that the ball was nonetheless shifting earlier than a gust of wind completed the job for him.

It was not all unhealthy for McLeod, who received his first title on the NSW Open at Twin Creeks and completed on prime of the Australian tour order of advantage to earn a European Tour card.

Efficiency of the 12 months

Riding high: Francesco Molinari celebrates a win in the Ryder Cup.

Driving excessive: Francesco Molinari celebrates a win within the Ryder Cup.Credit score:AP

Francesco Molinari by no means noticed the 18th gap at Le Golf Nationwide as he turned the primary European participant to win all 5 of his matches at a Ryder Cup. Molinari had already received his first main on the British Open, however on the Ryder Cup he teamed with Tommy Fleetwood on the primary two days for 4 victories earlier than beating Mickelson within the singles as he spearheaded the European victory. Europe took the cup 17.5 to 10.5 after dominating almost each session.

Quote of the 12 months

“The opening in a single was spectacular, adopted up by essentially the most embarrassing [moment] in my life. However it’s what it’s.”

Tony Finau had an ace whereas enjoying with Australia’s Smith and Leishman throughout the par-three occasion at Augusta, then dislocated his ankle as he ran from the tee in celebration.

Crystal ball

Major contender: Minjee Lee has the game to win one of the big ones in 2019.

Main contender: Minjee Lee has the sport to win one of many massive ones in 2019.Credit score:AP

Australian golf may have two main winners this 12 months, one among which will likely be Lee, earlier than Day, Smith,  Leishman and Scott lead the Worldwide workforce to victory within the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in December.

The US Masters might show a fantastic start line as Scott already has a inexperienced jacket and Smith and Leishman completed within the prime 10 at Augusta final 12 months, whereas Day, together with his lengthy sport, is all the time a contender.

Woods will proceed his resurgence however, although he will likely be in rivalry on the Masters, US PGA, US Open and the Open Championships, he will not add to his 14 majors.

Racing author for The Sydney Morning Herald

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