Happy New Year!
I’m incredibly excited about the year ahead and can’t wait for golf to get underway all over the world on various tours. Golf is in such a great place at them moment and the thought of watching the world’s best again this year fills me with bubbly joy! That reminds me of all the prosecco and champagne drunk over the christmas period!
Looking back on 2016, what a year and what drama. Starting with the first Major of the year, the Masters. We saw Danny Willett follow in the footsteps of Faldo, Lyle, Woosnam to claim the green jacket at Augusta. He delivered some of the best golf of his career coming down the stretch. He performed when it mattered most. Many observers would have put their money on the experienced Lee Westwood, his playing partner, when both had three holes to play but it was Danny Boy who seemed to absorb the pressure, which made him stronger and more focussed. The way he won will always be remembered. Inevitably it’s going to be tough delivering results post a Major win but let’s not forget Willett finished second on the Race to Dubai at the end of the season. A solid year and more to come from him this year.
Moving on to the US Open and the one major event that stood out was the USGA rules decision to penalise Dustin Johnson post round for a moving ball on the fifth green. Officials approached him on the twelfth tee informing him he may incur a penalty post round. To play the last seven holes of a Major Championship not knowing how many you lead by could unhinge many a golfer. Not Dustin Johnson. He displayed the personality of a world class performer, he didn’t let it get to him, shot five under par, was penalised one and beat the field by three strokes. Dustin is talented beyond belief. Watching him hit balls this year on the range, it’s hard to believe how far the ball goes. But he’s not just about length off the tee as you all know. His wedge game is sublime and he now putts really well. A force to be reckoned with in 2017.
Next up, the Open Championship at Royal Troon. This was a classic battle between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson on the final day and an Open that will never be forgotten for record breaking reasons. Henrik fired a 63 on Sunday, the lowest round on the final day in Open history to score a record breaking 20 under par winning by three and fourteen strokes clear of third place!! Every shot, every hole was mesmerising. Stenson lost out to Phil at Muirfield back in 2013 but this was Henrik’s Open. Over the years he’s had to deal with so much Major chat, when will it happen, will it happen.. He’s finally answered those questions in the most dramatic fashion. He also finished off the season in style, winning the Race to Dubai and a silver medal at the Olympics. At forty years young, he’ll be stepping in to 2017 with a youthful spring in his step.
We can’t miss out the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in 2016. A week that began with the passing of the one, the only Arnold Palmer. Arnie was one of the most influential players in the game’s history. Times magazine said ‘Win or lose, Palmer, with his daring, slashing attack, is fun to watch. He is a splendidly built athlete (5ft ,11in, 177 lbs) with strength in all the right places, massive shoulders and arms, a waste hardly big enough to hold his trousers up, thick wrists, and leather-hard outsized hands that can crumple a beer can as though it were tissue paper.’ He put the game of golf on the map and was a an absolute superstar. He provided plenty of passion for the American side on home soil at the end of September 2016. There are so many superb highlights to mention from last year’s Ryder Cup. One match we will never forget will be Patrick Reid up against Rroy McIlroy in the singles on Sunday. It was a match like no other. Both players showing passion, resilience, sportsmanship and absolute golfing excellence.
Speaking of Rory, the year finished incredibly well for him. Let’s not forget he won his own event, the Irish Open, earlier in the year. In the Fedex play offs he really shone, winning the Deutsche Bank and finally the Tour Championship beating Ryan Moore on the fourth extra play off hole to also claim top spot in the Fedex Cup rankings. Not a bad way to finish off the season!!
One of the big moments of the year was of course Tiger Woods returning to competition. Golfing fans around the world were ecstatic to see him tee it up at the Hero World Challenge. Tiger has changed the face of the sport and revolutionised the game so to see him back after a fifteen month absence was fantastic. He swings now with mobility issues and will need to find other ways to win golf tournaments but his performance demonstrated he’s certainly not done yet. We don’t know what to expect from him in 2017 but one thing’s for sure, he’s still hungry to compete and you can never say ‘he can’t’ when it comes to Tiger. He has defied the odds over the years and were his comeback to involve a victory this year, he’ll once again be written about in the history books.
On a Lynx note, a huge congratulations to Lynx Ambassador Paul Eales winning the Scottish Senior Open to become the seventh player to win on the Challenge Tour, European Tour and European Senior Tour. A brilliant achievement and we can’t wait to watch you continue this success Paul. Bravo. Also another congratulations to Lydia Hall. 2016 has been a solid, strong year for Lydia with three top tens and a runners’ up spot at the Qatar Ladies Open. I’m sure you’re game will go from strength to strength this coming year with team Lynx behind you. I also can’t wait to see Lynx ambassadors Laura Davies and new signing Becky Brewerton on the fairways in 2017. So much to look forward to from these talented players.
In golfing terms 2016 has been a great success. What will 2017 bring? Many more magical moments I’m sure. One early event I’m looking forward to seeing is the World Super 6 Perth tournament, written about by Ian Carter in September on the Lynx blog. A new format to encourage more in to the game. An innovative idea, golf is moving with the times and we all have to keep up. happy New Year all of you!!!