November 30, 2009
As the decade winds to a close, we're focusing on the moments that made it exceptional. Today, we take on the greatest tournaments of the last 10 years.
10. 2008 Players Championship. The story of Paul Goydos, everyman golfer, was a dream come true for a nation of golf fans who looked almost exactly like him. He lost the Players in a playoff, dunking his ball on the Island Green hole, but he was as gracious in defeat to Sergio Garcia as he'd been all week long. It was the opening act to an even bigger star/journeyman act to follow.
9. 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills. In one of the tensest and most agonizing moments on a golf course this side of Jean Van De Velde, Mark Brooks three-putted the 18th, giving Retief Goosen a chance to win. Goosen then proceeded to yip a short putt that forced a playoff, and Stewart Cink also missed a short putt that would have gotten him into the playoff mix. In the 18-hole playoff the next day, Goosen topped Brooks by two strokes.
8. 2005 WGC-Amex Championship. In a pairing of two of the game's polar opposites, Tiger Woods and John Daly, neither player gave an inch of ground. Daly, more than a decade past his glory days and already well into his country-song life, took Tiger all the way to a second playoff hole before missing a two-footer. Even so, Daly proved that he's always capable of one more miracle.
7. 2008 Ryder Cup. It was a matchup that Europe was supposed to win in a rout, but the Paul Azinger-coached, Phil Mickelson-led American team took the fight to the Europeans and ended up winning going away. Highlight: Boo Weekley "riding the pony" in celebration.
6. 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla. Tiger Woods notched the victory in a tense three-hole playoff with Bob May, setting the PGA Championship record (-18) en route. It marked the first time since 1953 that a single player held three majors in one calendar year, and Woods was three-fourths of the way to the Tiger Slam.
5. 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine. Many had tried, but only the previously unknown Y.E. Yang managed to run down and defeat Tiger Woods in a major. Yang was as clutch as they come in catching, matching and finally passing Woods.
4. 2005 Masters. Tiger Woods and Chris DiMarco battled into overtime in one of the fiercest challenges in Masters history, a round highlighted by Tiger's astonishing "in your life!" chip on 16. Tiger won on the first playoff hole with a deadly approach shot.
3. 2004 Masters. Phil Mickelson, so long a hard-luck victim in majors, finally won one, outlasting Ernie Els to win by a single, long-awaited, championship-winning putt on 18.
2. 2009 British Open at Turnberry. Had one little putt dropped, this would have ranked as one of the best tournaments of all time, not just the decade. But Tom Watson came up just inches short in his bid to win, and then lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink. Nonetheless, it was a magnificent display by one of the game's icons, and one that no one who saw it will ever forget.
1. 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Simply one of the most riveting, tense tournaments in golf history, with Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate trading punch after punch in their Monday playoff. Tiger prevailed, but Rocco could hold his head high when it was all over.
Everyone's got their favorite tournament from the last 10 years. Did yours make the list? Have your say below!