Year-End Toasts From The Post

As this is the year-end issue of Global Golf Post for 2012, we take time for reflection, sort of. We have a list of people who we think are worthy of being noticed this year and will bestow upon them the inaugural Postmaster Awards.
There is no real award, no cash prize, no plaque or trophy. They just get their names in a digital magazine – in boldface type! – which they’ve already done a ton of times, which is why they’re receiving this recognition to start with.
So, here in no particular order, are this year’s Postmasters:
No one in the history of the Ryder Cup since Seve Ballesteros has burned so hot to beat Americans as has Poulter. His performance in the past three matches has been nothing short of extraordinary. He is 11-2 since 2008 in two wins and a loss for the Europeans, including 4-0-0 at Medinah. He played and putted so well that even Rory McIlroy – the best player in the world – was, as they say, gobsmacked. You can look it up. However, remember that he earns millions on the PGA Tour and owns a huge house and a bunch of cars in Orlando. Somebody check his visa.
She’s only 15 years old for God’s sake. Fifteen. What were you doing when you were that age? Never mind. Ko was busy winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur and the CN Canadian Women’s Open, becoming the youngest player to have won an LPGA Tour event. She says she wants to go to college, preferably Stanford – and graduate high school in New Zealand first. We doubt it but certainly hope so.
Whether you agree with the proposed ban on anchored putting strokes or not, these two men deserve a world of credit for standing on their convictions. Davis, executive director of the USGA, and Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, believe they are acting on behalf of the game and therefore are making a decision based on the common good. There is no higher calling in our game.
Before you congratulate the membership of Augusta National for admitting two women members, you need to congratulate Moore and Rice for accepting. It had to be a difficult decision. They willingly placed themselves in the middle of a media feeding frenzy. Rice is accustomed to such attention but Moore is not. And they will make themselves even more visible next April when (or if) they attend The Masters while wearing their green jackets.
The most under-applauded major championship belongs to Els. He didn’t even make the field at The Masters, yet he shot 32 on the back nine to catch and pass a slipping and sliding Adam Scott to win the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. We focus on Scott’s collapse but forget that Els made an 18-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole that would win him the Open. It was Els’ fourth major and his first since 2002. If Darren Clarke was the Open Championship’s most popular winner, Els must be a close second.
Courage is a word used all too loosely in sports, but Lewis is the genuine article. As a high school senior, she faced surgery on her spine that, if not successful, would have ended her golf aspirations and ushered in more health problems. Instead, she faced it head-on and as a result, she is the top American woman golfer in the world.
He makes this list not for his golf but for his humanity. He’s 23, has a world-class, tennis-playing girlfriend and jets all over the world. Yet, he falls into his father’s arms moments after winning the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, he admits it when he’s burned out and, all the while, he will make himself available to the media and the public. It’s in those areas that he’s No. 1 – and there is no second place.
If you’re looking for your athletes to show some emotion, then Bubba’s your guy. While winning The Masters with one of the most incredible shots in the game’s history, he cried on his mother’s shoulder after winning the playoff. It was said of Ben Crenshaw that he’d cry at a supermarket opening. While Watson is not in Crenshaw’s class, he’s clearly in second place.
Hard to believe that 1) Tiger is 37 and 2) he won three PGA Tour events this year. He spit the bit while in the lead on the weekends of at least two majors in 2012, occasions the old Tiger would have stomped on the competition and turned it to dust. Despite that shortcoming, he still not only moves the needle in golf, he is the needle.
Watching golf in person is the most difficult spectator sport in the world because fans have to chase the action. Combine that with hard-to-walk sand dunes, goofy spectator routing, high tem-peratures with equally high humidity and a two-hour wait for a bus in pouring rain, the spectators at Kiawah Island deserve to have a glass raised on their behalf. Cheers, folks. You’re why we exist.


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