It’s been one of the best seasons of golf that I can remember. The skill on display throughout the year had been mesmerizing, and I want to talk this week about the highlights in my opinion.
To begin, we had one of the most exciting US Masters tournament finishes that I have ever seen. As Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera walked up the 18th of Augusta National, it really could have gone either way. It was then that my favourite for shot of the year occurred. The long approach that the big Argentinian hit to set-up his birdie and the play-off was simply majestic! Adam Scott went on to be the highly deserving winner and kick-start a season in which he really lived up to the hype that has gone with his career since the beginning. He certainly looked comfortable in the famous green jacket.
We then moved on to the US Open at Merion. This was another classic and brought about another first-time major winner. The first thing that got people talking was the baskets that adorned the top of the pins instead of the usual flags. This actually caused the players some problems, as they couldn’t use the fluttering material to judge the wind. The golf was, as you would expect of a major, spectacular. Phil Mickelson took the tournament by the horns and went into an early lead, where he stayed for almost the whole week. Jason Day hung onto his coattails and brought the possibility of an Aussie double to start the season, but it was a plucky Brit who prevailed. Justin Rose completed his round in the group ahead of lefty and had posted an impressive, but not unassailable, clubhouse lead. Yet again, it was coming down to the wire. Mickelson left himself a short pitch that he had to can to force the play-off. He hit a great shot but watched the ball sail agonisingly wide. Until this point, Mickelson had won two of the four majors and had declared the US as the one he wanted most. The loss clearly hurt him, but Justin Rose, who has been threatening a big win for some time, was a worthy winner.
Next up was the only other major on Phil’s to do list. The Open Championship at Muirfield near Edinburgh. Like every other major since the 2008 US Open, everyone was asking if this was Tiger’s comeback major. It wasn’t. He played an excellent tournament and certainly threatened, but ‘Sunday Tiger’ wasn’t home, and he slipped away over the last round. Complaints were being made all week that the greens were unfair, as were the flags, but that didn’t deter Phil Mickelson from running away with it and making amends for the previous major. The golf in the final round played by the American was one of the finest displays I have witnessed. He played immaculate golf.
The final major of the year was, as always, the USPGA. As the week progressed the best golfers of the year started to pull away from the field. Henrik Stenson who was, in my opinion, the best golfer in the world this year threatened, as did Adam Scott again! In the end, the laziest looking golfer in the world made up for missing out last year. Jason Dufner was crowned the 2013 PGA Champion. Again the golf he played was flawless. There was nothing special about it, but he went about his business and got it done. In true Dufner-style he caused a stir by spanking his wife as she congratulated him in front of the world’s media.
The major season this year is the most exciting one I have witnessed. The golf was excellent and the battles for each tournament were brilliant to watch. I am of no doubt that the skill of the top golfers continues to grow and the gap between success and failure grows ever smaller. If next year is half of the year this year was, then we are in for a treat and I can’t wait.