As we head towards the climax of what has been an incredible golfing year, let’s celebrate some of the great moments of the past year with the Gorilla Golf Awards for 2012.
Eight golfing awards for those most deserving! Part One sees us list the first four awards, with Part Two to follow next week!
1. Performance of the Year: Ian Poulter’s Ryder Cup Performance
There were many heroes for Europe on the final day at Augusta. Paul Lawrie was imperious, Justin Rose inspired as he putted the life out of Phil Mickelson to turn defeat into victory, Martin Kaymer holing the winning putt and Luke Donald leading from the front, but over the four days there was only one member of the European team who performed like that every time.
Four years ago, Ian Poulter shocked Americans with his gutsy display, this time around he was even better. His four points, undefeated in four games, were absolutely vital in keeping Europe going, especially on the first two days when the American team was so dominant.
Indeed, it was Poulter’s heroics on the Friday afternoon, birdying the last five holes to secure a vital point for Europe, that laid the foundations for Sunday’s heroics. Without him, the Ryder Cup would be residing back in the United States for sure. His record in the Ryder Cup now stands at 15 matches, 12 wins, 3 defeats.
In addition to his sparkling performances, few will forget the sight or sounds of Watson and Poulter teeing off on the Second day to a chorus of cheers a unique golfing moment to cherish!
2. Shock of the Year: Augusta accepting female members
It isn’t Europe’s victory on American soil, Webb Simpson’s US Open triumph or even that Tiger Woods seems to be getting his form back. After an 80 year wait, the biggest shock for us in 2012 was when Augusta Golf club finally admitted its first two female members.
South Carolina financier Darla Moore and former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice are the first two women to be allowed entry into the hallowed halls of Augusta, once thought to be a male-only preserve and that surely can only be a good thing for golf and the end of an outdated, misogynist ‘tradition’ that had its roots firmly embedded deeply in prejudice and self-interest.
3. Newcomer of the Year: Branden Grace
At the beginning of 2012, Branden Grace was a little known South African golfer trying to make a name for himself on the Sunshine and European Tours, ranked 258th in the world. It didn’t take him long to rocket up the rankings on the back of two outstanding wins in his first two events of the year, the Joburg Open and the Volvo Golf Championship.
Those two wins moved him into the top 100 golfers in the world and since then he has climbed the rankings adding three more wins at the Volvo China Open, the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship to his C.V. Now ranked 37 in the world, 24-year-old Grace looks set to take the golfing world by stoem in 2013.
4. Shot of the Year: Bubba Watson’s recovery at The Masters
This year’s Masters had many highlights. Louis Oosthuizen’s incredible Albatross, or as American’s like to call it a ‘double eagle’ would normally have won the award on any other year and indeed, had the South African managed to win the tournament, then almost certainly it would have won this award too.
Unfortunately for Oosthuizen, he was tied on the final day by American Bubba Watson who had something incredible in store in the play off. Having driven his tee shot into the rough and seeing Oosthuizen’s second shot fall short of the green, Watson could have chipped safely out and tried to pitch and putt for par.
Instead the American attempted an incredible hook, swerving the ball around landing just a few feet from the cup, a shot deserving of winning any Masters title.
Tune in next time when we look at the final four awards of 2012!