The Three Best Things About Golf in 2014

Well it’s been a strange year in golf. Tiger’s claws were well and truly trimmed back and Rory found his roar once again to head back to the top of the rankings and claim two majors, plus a WGC event in the space of a few weeks this summer.

However at a more local level, the game continues to have positive and negative aspects. In this two part series, we’ll take a look at three positive things that have happened in the world of golf in 2014, and next week we’ll take a look at three that the game could do without.

But let’s start on a more positive note for a change and look at three big positives in the world of golf this year.

Ryder CUp 2014

  1. The Big Bertha Returned

When I was growing up, the one club I wanted to try hitting more than any other was the Callaway Big Bertha. The name sounded so implausible, so uncool and so out of keeping with the other names for drivers at the time, that it was kitsch cool.

It also helped that it was an absolute beast from the tee, according to those who used it.

Sadly, I never managed to use the first version and the subsequent follow up clubs just didn’t fill me with the same anticipation.

So to see Big Bertha make a comeback this year was entirely pleasing.  It’s now Callaway’s leading driver and has a price tag to match (£279 in the UK) and is available as a V-series or the traditional Big Bertha design as shown in the picture.

To be honest, whether or not it hit the mark is irrelevant to me, it was simply a case of nostalgia to see a great name from the past make a timely return.

Big Bertha Club

  1. Rory’s British Open Victory

One of the greatest pressures any popular British or Irish golfer can face is the prospect of trying to win a British Open title. There hasn’t been an English one for a good while now (not since Nick Faldo) so we’ve taken vicarious pleasure in watching the likes of Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke lift the title.

Rory McIlroy though was a different proposition. Here was the world’s number 1, arguably one of the best players ever and he hadn’t yet managed to win that first British Open. The pressure was certainly on McIlroy just down the road from me at Hoylake but the Irishman performed magnificently to record the win.

So that’s two majors in a row to finish the season and next up is Augusta in April. Is a Rory Slam on?

I hope so, I really do.

Rory PGA Claret Jug

  1. The European Ryder Cup Victory

A lot has been made about this with various people suggesting that it would be better for the competition had the American’s won. Personally, I found the American’s post-Ryder cup disintegration enthralling and just a little bit pathetic.

What is best for the Ryder Cup is for the best team to win. And they did, by a mile, but it was what happened after the closing ceremony that angered me a little.

For Phil Mickelson to throw Tom Watson under the bus as unceremoniously as he did was positively shameful. If you have issued like that, you would sort them away from the glare of the media.

This highlighted for me America’s issues. There are too many chiefs and not enough indians. Mickelson’s moaning about all the things that were wrong may have a point, but it was how he chose to make it that I have an issue with.

I do like America’s attempt to rectify the situation by appointing a consultant team to rescue their Ryder Cup future. Unfortunately, they’ve gone and appointed many of the players who I think contribute to American failure more than any others, onto that team.

As great a players as they are, Mickelson and Tiger Woods are not team players.

All this American fallout took away from what was a brilliant win for Europe. Paul McGinley was a sharp captain, his wildcard picks worked out very well, his pairs worked out well and by all accounts, he was one of the finest skippers Europe have had in Ryder Cup history. That’s no small praise. So enjoying this victory is one thing, enjoying America’s meltdown afterwards just added the gloss and a touch of Schadenfreude to proceedings.

McGinley’s successor (which looks likely to be either Darren Clarke or perhaps Miguel Angel Jiminez) has a very tough act to follow.

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