With 2011 drawing to a close, it's time to look back at the most important/ popular/ bizarre stories that we ran here at Devil Ball Golf. Sure, Tiger Woods, John Daly and Phil Mickelson always draw page views and comments, but we like to venture into the stranger realms of golf, too. Join us for one last look back at a remarkable year.
January: We predicted Rory McIlroy would win a major, but we got the wrong one ... In what would become a recurring theme early in the year, TV viewers got a player disqualified from a tournament, in this case Camilo Villegas ... Be careful how you mark your balls on the European Tour; you could get a three-month suspension ... Watermelon vs. golf club. Who ya got?
February: Arnold Palmer ended an era when he flew his final flight as a pilot ... John Daly's new golf bag has a television screen. Of course it does ... Oh my heavens! Tiger Woods spit on a green! The world as we know it is coming to an end! ... Yani Tseng won a couple tournaments by this point. But it couldn't last, could it? ... Oh, and 16-year-old Lexi Thompson beat an all-male mini-tour field.
March: Check out the supreme weirdness that is Henrik Stenson interviewing Henrik Stenson ... also check out Tiger's swank new bachelor pad ... Ben Crane wants you to know about the dangers of slow play. It kills ... Former Atlanta Brave John Smoltz continued the tradition of athletes in other sports trying golf (and failing).
April: Rory McIlroy had himself a bit of a rough Sunday at Augusta ... Tiger Woods damn near turned the golf world on its head with an amazing Sunday among the azaleas ... Oh, right, Charl Schwartzel actually won the Masters thanks to four closing birdies ... Stacy Lewis' mother broke her leg celebrating her daughter's victory at the Nabisco. Ouch ... Kevin Na carded a 16 on one hole in Texas ... Sharks on a golf course? Why, yes!
May: Another tournament, another stupid rule violation. And since Webb Simpson narrowly lost the PGA Tour money title, this one could have been the most significant of all ... RIP Seve Ballesteros ... Tiger Woods bailed on the TPC early. Did the PGA Tour force him to play before he was ready? ... Some kid named Keegan Bradley won the HP Byron Nelson, and, as we put it, "is now a name we should all take notice of for the foreseeable future."
June: Rory McIlroy visited Haiti to get some perspective. And his month would get better ... Pretty impressive between-the-buildings shot here from Rickie Fowler ... The sublime beauty and horror that is "The Golf Boys" video ... NBC omitted "under God" from a pledge before the U.S. Open, and all hell broke loose ... McIlroy absolutely dominated the U.S. Open in what we termed one of the greatest performances in golf history, and six months later, we stand by that.
July: Bubba Watson: not big in France ... Must-watch video: Miguel Angel Jimenez's disturbing pre-round workout routine ... Never ever challenge Michael Jordan to a bet, even a golf one ... Darren Clarke won an emotional, well-deserved British Open ... All good things must end, as Tiger Woods and Stevie Williams officially called it quits, with absolutely no hard feelings whatsoever.
August: Adam Scott won the Firestone, but the story was Steve Williams completely unloading on Tiger Woods ... Rory McIlroy's ill-advised swing at a ball resting behind a root at the Atlanta Athletic Club during the PGA Championship could have had some seriously dire career circumstances ... Some people get very, very excited about being so close to Tiger Woods ... Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship in dramatic fashion over Jason Dufner in a win that shows exactly why we watch golf ... Sports cars in sand traps: never not funny, as this clown at Pebble Beach demonstrated.
September: Nick Watney carded an 11 on a par 5 at TPC Boston, and didn't react well ... We got to chat with the one and only Robert Duvall in advance of his golf flick "Seven Days in Utopia" ... Gators fighting on a golf course! ... Great Britain and Ireland won the Walker Cup in an unbelievable upset ... Another amazing event: the LPGA's Solheim Cup was an instant classic ... The FedEx Cup came down to a $10 million playoff, and Bill Haas topped Hunter Mahan for it all ... oh, and this month saw the debut of "Wozzilroy." Wonderful.
October: Rickie Fowler nailed down the first of what undoubtedly will be many professional victories ... Here's a new one: somebody threw a hot dog at Tiger Woods during a tournament ... Sergio Garcia got his first win since 2008; his second one came only a week later ... Golf racial pioneer Charlie Sifford on the Masters: "[Expletive] Augusta."
November: The "will Yani play on the PGA Tour" talk heated up ... Nice little race-tinged comment by Stevie Williams regarding his former boss ... John Daly falls completely apart in Australia, running out of balls and walking off the hole ... The U.S. won the Presidents Cup behind none other than Woods himself.
December: Holy sweet mother of mercy, Tiger Woods won a golf tournament ... Q School is one of golf's most painful events, and this year, as always, provided more drama than a middle-school cafeteria ... Three golfers drain holes-in-one on the same hole within an hour. We hate them all ... Yani Tseng won her 12th event of the year, and should be the player of the year, without doubt ... John Daly, knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door.
And that, friends, was our 2011. Thanks for joining us along the way. We'll see you in 2012 with much more!