Welcome to Part two of the Gorilla Golf Awards, after awarding the first four awards, let’s now find out who wins our next four categories, including the choice of golfer of the year!
5. Comeback of the Year: Europe winning the Ryder Cup
For the first two days of the 2012 Ryder Cup, the American team were playing arguably some of the finest golf the competition had ever witnessed. The European team, who were not playing that poorly, were simply swamped under a relentless barrage of birdies and eagles, allowing Davis Love’s side to eke out a 10-5 lead.
Late on the Friday afternoon, Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy knew their game against Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson was pivotal. Defeat, and Europe were surely dead and buried 11-5 down. Victory and 10-6 although a huge hurdle to climb, was not insurmountable.
For once, it wasn’t World Number 1 Rory McIlroy who stole the show as five birdies in the last five holes from the incredible Ian Poulter led Europe to a vital one hole victory.
That incredible show set the scene for a remarkable Sunday when Europe overturned a 10-6 deficit to win the Ryder Cup following an incredible day of singles matches. The feat all the more remarkable as it was achieved on American soil and against a passionate home support.
Martin Kaymer holed the put to retain the Ryder Cup, Francesco Molinari was gifted the half by Tiger Woods to win it outright, but before them the likes of Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter and the incredible Justin Rose, who birdied the last two holes to turn around a one hole deficit to Phil Mickelson, into a crucial victory all played a huge part.
It was a stunning victory and one which put the seal on a fantastic golfing year for Europe and the magnitude of it is summed up perfectly in this interview conducted with Europe’s captain Jose Maria Olazabal just after the incredible win.
6. Let-down of the Year: Lee Westwood’s putter
For all the highs of the past year, there have been some lows too. There were one or two isolated incidents in the crowd during the Ryder Cup that were somewhat unsavoury, though it is fair to say that the vast majority of fans behaved impeccably. The debate over belly putters fairness rages on but without doubt, the biggest let down this year in golf has to be Lee Westwood’s putter.
Quite simply, from tee to green, Westwood has been the most consistent player on tour for the past few years. Arguably the best driver in the world, his iron play too is strong, however put him on the green with a putter in his hand and it all seems to fall apart.
Poor putting has cost him chances at so many majors now and times is running out. Westwood has the skills to put it right, but can he find the mental strength required to turn things around in 2013?
Only time will tell.
7. Gorilla Golf Special Award: Peter Alliss
There are few pleasures in life these days that cannot be associated with some degree of guilt, fortunately listening to venerable British commentator Peter Alliss commentate on the game he has graced for so many years, is not one of them.
Listening to Alliss commentate on the game is like being sat to a wise uncle who can regale you with stories from his past with such clarity of detail and evocative imagery, that any mundane event is brought vividly to life. Add to that a sharp observational eye for a witty comment, an appreciation of the finer points of the game and the surroundings in which it is played and a friendly, warm demeanour and there are few things as enjoyable as listening to Alliss commentate on a tournament.
He’s pushing on in years now, as he is the first to admit, but his love for the game has never diminished and through his words, he has brought golf to life for millions. Here’s his speech when he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012. Richly deserved for one of the games true legends.
8. Gorilla Golf Golfer of the Year: Rory McIlroy
Lastly, our final award is for the golfer of the year and though there were several candidates here, surely this award has to go to the mop-haired Irishman from Holywood and boyfriend of tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, Rory McIlroy.
His stats for the year make incredible reading, he’s made 10 cuts out of 11 events on the European tour, 12 out of 15 on the US Tour, in all over the last two years he has missed five cuts and won seven times, including both the US Open and the US PGA Championships by a record eight strokes.
So what can the future hold for McIlroy? Well he needs to be more consistent, there are still flashes of impetuosity at times and he is still prone to the occasional disastrous round. McIlroy can still improve in lots of ways and its important to remember, he is still only 23 years of age.
That’s the choice of Gorilla Golf – who would your choice be in each category and why? Feel free to let us know below!