With the golf season drawing to a close, now is the best time to recap the four majors this year. 2013 has been a memorable year for the sport as each of the four majors delivered exciting finishes with dark horses triumphing in at least two of the events. This is the fifth year in a row that the four men’s major golf championships have each produced a different winner.
The buildup to the 2013 Masters had been quite unlike any other tournament in the past. The anticipation and expectation was high. Once the event kicked off at Augusta National, it was clear that things weren’t going as planned. Quite surprising was the performance (or lack of) of the three bigwigs, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson. Mickelson had been the odds-on favorite but failed to deliver. McIlroy is going through a dip in form as is Woods .
The tournament featured one of the closest finishes in golf history, instantly making the event a classic. It came down to Aussie Adam Scott and Angel ‘El Pato’ Cabrera. On the 18th hole, Scott hit a birdie placing him in the lead. He thought he had sealed the victory and even started celebrating. However, El Pato hit one of the best No. 18 shots in the tournament’s history, with the ball landing within five feet of the pin. It forced the playoff which Scott won easily. Safe to say, he deserved to win.
This year’s Masters’ also featured 14-year old amateur Chinese golfer Tianlang Guan. He defied the odds by reaching the weekend; however his slow play penalty became one of the biggest talking points of the tournament. Guan easily became the youngest ever golfer to line up a PGA Major.
Will Big Phil win this time? Having finished runner-up five times before, Phil Mickelson dominated the headlines in the lead up to the 2013 US Open. He led the first and third round before messing up the 16th shot in the final round. True to his reputation, he finished runner-up again, becoming a tournament record.
It was Englishman Justin Rose who managed to make the most of Big Phil’s miss in the last round to take the title, making it his first Major win. Rose’s performance was made even more impressive by the fact that he didn’t card any double-bogeys throughout the duration of the tournament.
British Open Championship
After losing the US Open by a shot, Phil was again the focus of attention as he had never prevailed at the British Open before. Ernie Els entered the tournament as the favorite. However, Mickelson managed to overcome the odds and the pressure to win his first British Open, making it his fifth career major. The highly unpredictable Phil Mickelson always has fans and pundits scratching their heads by finishing runner-up at the tournament he is expected to win and winning the one that he isn’t!
It wasn’t an easy win by any means. Mickelson played an inspired round in the last six holes, managing four birdies. This has to be one of the best golf moments of the year if not in history. He had been five shots off the lead, but his spectacular rally over the last six holes meant that he overtook Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and Adam Scott and displaced Henrik Stenson on top of the leader board. The fact that Phil managed to win his first British Open at Muirfield makes it all the more special. Muirfield is described as a golf course for men, not boys.
The PGA Championship 2013 also produced a first-time winner in American Jason Dufner. It was also his first major title. Fellow countryman Jim Furyk finished runner-up, having been in the lead going into the final round. Second runner-up Henrik Stenson had begun the final round just two shots removed from Furyk, but his performance was not up to the mark. It soon became a contest between the two Americans, with the lead switching after every other shot.
It was at the 17th and 18th holes, the final two holes of the round, that Dufner sealed the win. He managed 11 under par and 10 under par on the holes through the tournament while Furyk scored 9 under par and 8 under par. Compared to the other three majors, the PGA Championship had the least exciting finale. Stenson was never in the contest, and once Dufner took the lead on the 8th hole, the game was virtually over.
This year has been a great one for the PGA Tour. It can be said that golf’s popularity will have increased given the way the four majors panned out. Fans will already be looking forward to the next season’s majors!