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2016: A Golfer’s Year in Review

Our staff took stock of the 2016 golf season by counting down the top newsmakers. Our list includes an eclectic mix of high-profile tour pros, wily veterans, young up-and-comers who already have grabbed the spotlight, touchstone moments of joy and sorrow, and more.

First highlight of the year was #SBK16. Hashtags are still a foreign language for many golf fans, but even the most uninitiated have probably heard this one by now: #sb2k16. For a few sun-splashed days in April, twentysomethings Jordan Spieth, Smylie Kaufman, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler left behind the buttoned-up world of the PGA Tour for a shirtless, shoeless, careless trip to Baker’s Bay in the Bahamas … and everyone was invited.

On the business side of golf one giant in the golf world change course in their strategy and that company was Nike Golf. Nike decided to drop its hard goods which in    clude clubs, ball, and etc. This left many people worried on the state of golf, if a formidable giant like Nike golf was cutting their product line in half. For all of its star power—in addition to Woods, the company has Rory McIlroy, Michelle Wie (shown) and a host of other name players among its staff “athletes”—Nike had trouble adapting to the golf marketplace, failing to either produce products that resonated with consumers or, when they did, to capitalize. The company never quite figured out its target audience or what it should be. As a result, it struggled in the quest to become an “authentic” golf brand.

Legend led to grace. We lost a legend this year the king of golf Mr. Arnold Palmer.  Arnold Palmer died on Sept. 25 in a Pittsburgh hospital at 87 while awaiting surgery on his heart, the organ most responsible for his immense stature in sports and the world at large. So many things made Palmer endearing: the way he played golf with abandon; the charisma and sex appeal that helped popularize the game while driving his unparalleled success as a corporate pitchman; his humility, which never waned despite his fame and wealth.

America Brings Back The Ryder Cup:Riding the fiery intensity of Patrick Reed and playing in honor of Arnold Palmer, who died the Sunday before the matches, America stormed to a resounding 17-11 victory over Europe at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn. The victory also was vindication for captain Davis Love III and team leader Phil Mickelson.

Olympics Return to Golf:While aggressively pursued by golf governing bodies on the premise that it will grow the game globally; the idea of golf in the Olympics long drew ambivalence from the public and players. Didn’t the fact that the sport hadn’t been at a Summer Games since 1904 speak for itself? Justin Rose held the golf champion of the year Henrik Stenson in a final round showdown that literally came down to the last shot. Safe to say that we will see golf again in the Olympics at Tokyo for 2020 it has and will grow the game like no other initiative before it.  

Honorable mentions in the year of 2016:

  • Tiger Woods
  • Jason Day
  • Donald Trump
  • Rory Mcilroy
  • Andrew (Beef) Johnston
  • Jim Furyk lowest recorded round on tour (58)
  • LPGA Young Guns
  • USGA Rules Controversies
  • Dustin Johnson

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