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PGA Tour has a season to remember – and then some

Ron Green Jr.
Ron Green Jr., a former Observer staff writer, will write golf columns occasionally for the newspaper.

The 2013 PGA Tour season ended Sunday in Atlanta with Henrik Stenson holding two trophies, his bank account richer by $11.44million and the start of the new Tour season just two weeks away.

Before the new calendar-crossing season begins, let’s take a look at what this season gave us:

We Should Buy That Kid A Beer But…: Jordan Spieth began the year as a 19-year-old with no status on the PGA Tour. Now he’s the coolest kid in school, having won once already and being the guy everybody wants to be paired with at the Presidents Cup next week.

Is Spieth really that good? Sure looks like it.

This Isn’t A Multiple-Choice Quiz: Rules issues were almost as prevalent as weather delays this year. Tiger Woods took a bad drop at the Masters. Woods didn’t call a penalty on himself at the BMW Championship. Guan Tianling, age 14, was penalized for slow play at the Masters.

And let’s not even get into the anchoring ban, which won’t go into effect for two more years.

Hey, Didn’t You Used To Be…: Stenson had fallen off the grid for the second time in his career, plummeting out of the top 200 in the world two years ago. This week, he’s No. 4 in the world, the FedEx Cup champion and the hottest player in the game since July. If he’s not player of the year, he’s certainly the comeback player of the year.

But He Still Doesn’t Like Haggis: After years of frustration playing links golf, Phil Mickelson won the Scottish Open and the British Open on consecutive weekends.

Mickelson called his Sunday 66 at Muirfield the best round of his life and who’s to argue with him? It was the best Sunday afternoon of the season.

Changing His Stripes: Had any other player won five times this year, including two World Golf Championship events and The Players Championship, he would be given a tickertape parade down PGA Tour Boulevard. But when Woods does it, everyone wants to talk about why he can’t win another major.

Woods deserves to be the player of the year despite his rules issues and his flat finish to the year.

He also showed us something new this year: He admitted to being tired at the Tour Championship, earth-shaking from the fitness fanatic, and he seemed to revel in being a father, having his children with him at tournaments this year.

It’s Not Gangnam Style But…: Dufnering became an unlikely craze, sparked by the classic photo of Jason Dufner on a classroom floor looking like most of us feel when we’re forced to look at someone’s vacation photos.

Dufner also struck a pretty good pose in August when he hoisted the PGA Championship trophy at Oak Hill.

You Thought Chaminade Was An Upset: Rookie Derek Ernst won the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in May, beating David Lynn in a playoff after Mickelson made two late bogeys to blow his chances.

It is the only time in Ernst’s young career that he has finished inside the top 40 of a PGA Tour event.

Would Matthew McConaghey Play Him In The Movie? Eight months after losing the British Open with bogeys on the last four holes, Adam Scott won the Masters in the rain in a playoff over Angel Cabrera.

Was there a better shot than the 9-iron Cabrera hit to 18 to force a playoff? Maybe it was the putt Scott made there moments earlier. Or the one Scott made at No. 10 to win his first major.

Great guy. Great finish. Great story.

The Good News Is His Tooth Feels Better: Rory McIlroy didn’t win a tournament this year, lost the No. 1 ranking and his press conferences sounded at times like cross examinations.

The low point came when he quit midway through his second round at the Honda Classic, citing a sore wisdom tooth rather than the double bogeys piling up on his scorecard. For all the talk about how poorly he played, McIlroy had five top-10 finishes and missed just one cut in 16 starts.

Can I Still Wear White Pants? It was a sign of things to come when the season-opening event at Kapalua was late starting because of persistent high winds. A round was wiped out at Torrey Pines because a chowder-thick fog settled in.

The weather winner, though, was the 2-inch snowfall during the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson, Ariz. Matt Kuchar eventually won while wearing mittens in his championship match.

Ron Green Jr. is senior writer for Global Golf Post ( www.globalgolfpost.com) and a contributor to the Observer. He can be reached at rongreenjr@gmail.com.

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