Sherlock Holmes Award: An inconvenient truth that would otherwise have “gone unnoticed” was brought to the attention of the world by our own Lanny H. Spotting the discrepancy between the “four or five” private visits voiced by Tiger Woods, Hank Haney, and Anthony Galea — doping doc extraordinaire — and the 14 documented visits in the book “Blood Sport,” Lanny reached out to Hank Haney for comment. Haney ran to Golf Digest and, within a couple of hours, had them publish his comments regarding the discrepancy. Haney has changed his tune from I don’t think Woods took PEDs to Who knows?
Tournament of the Year: The Duel in the Desert. This was the most dramatic tournament I’ve seen in my life. Jason Day was able to hold off Victor Dubuisson in the final of the World Match Play Championship, a match extended time and time again as Dubuisson saved pars with insane chips from impossible desert vegetation.
And it wasn’t just the final round that made this event the best of the year.
Runner-up Tournament of the Year: The BMW Masters in Shanghai. It would be hard to match the final round of this tournament for storylines and drama. Marcel Siem won in sudden death — with a dramatic chip-in — over two players who reached the playoff in very different fashions. Ross Fisher shot the best round of the day and charged to the top of the leaderboard. Alexander Levy shot one of the worst of the day and squandered the 5-shot lead with which he began the final round. Justin Rose and Jamie Donaldson stayed in the hunt all day, both coming up one shot out of the playoff. Low key Brit announcing helped this late-season dark horse shine. Levy was disappointed that day, but he had a great season overall and has moved from #600 in the world less than two years ago to #53. You should be seeing him in the World Match Play this year, along with the other WGC events.
I’m-Shocked-Shocked-I-Tell-You Award: In May we learned that Phil Mickelson was being investigated by the FBI for insider stock trading. The golf media — surprise, surprise — tried to play down the gravity of the situation.
You’re Making No Sens Award: Josh Sens got a lot of media attention by creating a bogus meme that Tiger Woods’s injury would cost the golf industry fifteen billion dollars. He credited a Brad Adgate of Horizon Media for this factoid; I contacted Adgate for clarification, but he failed to respond.
Later in the year, I asked Mr. Sens about the matter during an online chat he hosted. Sens seemed to throw Adgate under the bus and wash his hands of the entire matter. He expressed no remorse. I sensed he was telling me: Hey, I was just funnin’ ya. (Lately I’ve heard rumors Rolling Stone asked Sens if he thought fifteen billion rapes was a reasonable number for the fraternities last year at UVA.)
Rory: Enough said.
Well, I will say one thing. Doesn’t the Honda Classic won by Russell Henley in a playoff over Rory McIlroy and two others seem like a million years ago? Recall Rory’s troubled 2013, with only a late-in-the-year win at the Australian Open offering much in the way of encouragement. His first 2014 result in the States was a second-round exit from the World Match Play. His next U.S. event was the Honda Classic, where, I’m sure you remember, he hit a tremendous second shot onto the green of the par-five 72nd hole, giving him an eagle putt for outright victory. He missed, then lost in the playoff, but that second shot gave us a peek at the fireworks that, unbeknownst to us, were only a few short months away.