It's the 2nd Annual Chipshot Awards!! A panel distinguished judges (me) have thought long and hard about the following categories and is giving a tip of the hat to some people, places, and things in the golf world that I happen to think are pretty darn cool. Without further ado...
Favorite Golf Web Site other than Tees2Greens which is of course my Favorite!! - www.masters.org
It's a repeat winner from last year! I was glued to it again this year - coverage of the par-3 tournament and streaming coverage on each day. I'm remembering back to Masters Sunday - I'm sprawled out on the couch, TV on and my laptop on a chair right by my head so I can watch some of the other players as they followed Phil and Tiger around for awhile. I had to watch Steve Stricker!! Overall, great info on the site.
Honorable mention to: http://www.waggleroom.com/ and http://www.realwomengolf.com/
I picked Budget Golf because I like that they have some really great deals in their weekly email. They have flat rate shipping and friendly customer service folks.
Honorable mention to http://www.rockbottomgolf.com/ - they are sort of a close-out site, so you might not find the newest of everything, but you can't beat some of their awesome deals. And I really like that they always have some sort of deal going on - either freebies, free shipping, or discounts on already discounted items.
Best golf TV commercial - Eye of the Tiger
He's back...the http://www.pgatour.com/ commercial with Tiger whistling the classic 80's song and finishing with just a few seconds of the actual song got me fired up for golf every time I saw it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxscSLvvGnY
I found this on Shane Bacon's site - as a fan of the sports center commercials, I couldn't help but like this one, too! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLxKSvkpE1Y&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=DF76BF248A5FC8BF
Best Club Brand - Nike
If you don't check out the "What's in the Bag" (right here on Tees2Greens!), you're missing out on the peek inside all of the winner's golf bags on tour! My criteria this year started out at looking who won the Majors...Cabrera at the Masters has Ping in his bag; Lucas Glover is a Nike man; Stewart Cink is also a Nike guy; and YE Yang had a great performance using Taylor Made. Looking at the top 5 players on the money list - of course we know Tiger plays Nike, Steve Stricker carries Titleists (some with UST shafts!), Phil Mickelson is a Callaway guy, and Kenny Perry has his bag full of Taylor Made. So based on the 2 Major wins...and the number 1 player in the world, Nike gets the award for the 2nd year in a row.
Rookie of the Year - Marc Leishman
I have to admit that I didn't follow the rookie class as much this year. I know we picked Webb Simpson on our fantasy team a lot at the beginning of the season, but after looking at the stats, Leishman (from Australia) was the most successful on several fronts - he finished highest on the money list (47th), making about $500,000 more than the next closest rookie (Simpson). Leishman also made 18 of 28 cuts and made all the way to the Tour Championship after a nice 2nd place finish at the BMW. He looks like a guy to watch in 2010!
Comeback Player of the Year - YE Yang
There have been some discussions about Tiger Woods being considered (but him not being interested) for the comeback player award for 2009 after being out with his knee injury...it's tough for me to call someone a comeback player while being the #1 player in the world the entire time! And to be honest, I'm not even sure what the PGA tour criteria is...I was all for Steve Stricker being lauded with an award, but even I was a little baffled by the comeback award 2 years in a row. So with that said, my criteria is just based stats and what I was impressed with. There were several guys who I thought had a much improved year over 2008...Retief Goosen, Jerry Kelly, Matt Kuchar and even Steve Stricker come to mind right away. But when I looked at the Top 10 on the money list this year and then compared it to last year it was hard not to notice YE Yang - at the end of 2008 he had made just over $460K, was 157th on the money list, and 480th in the OWGR...fast forward to 2009 - a Major Champion, 10th on the money list with around $3.4 million in earnings, and currently 31st on the OWGR. He had another win, too, and a total of 4 top 10's in his 19 of 23 cuts made. But most importantly, Yang held strong and battled to victory against the fiercest competitor in the game.
Best Attendance in 2009 - Brian Davis, 32 events
He didn't beat Nicholas Tompson's 36 events from '08, but Brian Davis, from England, who turned pro in 1994, took the top spot with 32 events this past year. He made the cut 19 times and earned almost $1.9 million on tour this season, ending up 43rd on the money list. His best finish was second place at the Byron Nelson and a T5 at the Players.
Best Reaction of the Year -Kenny Perry - #16 at the Masters
Or maybe I should say MY reaction to the shot on 16 - I was up and down from the couch several times during the last round of the Masters...I think the first time I got up to cheer was when Campbell made a putt on 12. (It should be noted that I had both Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry on my fantasy team that week and a 1-2 finish would have clinched it for me!!) But being a big KP fan, I wanted this win for him in the worst way! What an amazing shot...less than a foot away! And the did "the walk", too - he knew he hit it good - the crowd was going nuts and he starts marching towards the green...what a great memory!
The Turn Back Time Award - Tom Watson at the British Open
Last year I was writing about Greg Norman's chase at the British Open, and even though I'm a huge Shark Fan, I think Watson one-upped him with his heroic run at Turnberry. I can't imagine that there were many people that weren't rooting for Watson as he played some inspired golf at the age of 59...it was a thrill to watch...until the dreaded par putt on 18...we've all been there. I have always been a Stewart Cink fan, but that day I was one of the masses hoping Watson would make this "one for the ages"...and even though he fell short in the playoff, Watson brought us all back in time for a few days.
Best Dressed Award - Tiger Woods
I'm a fan of the classic and I'm a fan of a really nice dress pant on the course...and really, who does it better than Tiger Woods? He sort of rides the middle between athletic and classic, and it's just the right balance for me - I really like the new striped shirts he had this year and I liked when he mixed it up with his Sunday red. I know there are people who enjoy the "uniqueness" of John Daly, Ian Poulter, Ryo, or Brian Gay, but just as my last year's winner, Davis Love, was, TW comes out every week looking like the classic golfer. My kind of look! Honorable mention to - Steve Stricker (at the Masters especially), and Kenny Perry.
The Peaking Too Early Award - Anthony Kim
AK looked GREAT at the Mercedes and then sort of fell off the map until July. There was quite a bit of hype surrounding Kim coming off of last year and things didn't quite happen for him in '09. But don't worry, he's going to be big in 2010 - Sam Johnson thinks so, so it must be true!
Most Disappointing Fantasy Player Award - Nick Watney
My brother and I made huge strides this year! We did have a little different format from the year before (using Yahoo Golf) so we didn't have to limit ourselves to just 12 players like we had to before. With the pools of players, there were quite a few options from week to week, and often times it was really more about going with our gut. Our tendency was that we picked a guy a week too early! My brother is the king of stats, so he based his choices a lot on tournament history - I was more about streakiness and current stats. If we had picked Nick in the right weeks, we would have been great, but it seemed each time we put him on the roster he didn't come through.
Favorite Tournament to Watch - The PGA - Live and in Person!
Getting to watch the best players in the world is a treat like no other. I loved sitting on #16 at Hazeltine and watching players come through for almost 4 hours - and the grandstands on 18 were great, too. We were only there for the first 2 rounds, but I could feel the pressure and drama on every shot as guys were fighting to make the cut. It was also amazing to watch the throngs of fans following Tiger and Phil. Ryder Cup 2016!!! Of course the best TV tournament of the year was The Masters!!!
The Heart on His Sleeve Award - Phil Mickelson
This year reminded me more than ever that there is something special about being able to feel a connection with a player. I know he gets trashed by some, but I just can't deny his charisma and willingness to engage the fans on the course each week. This year, when his family faced cancer scares, he shared his concerns, changed up some priorities, and then showed his fans appreciation by giving them some inspired golf.
The Golf Passion Award - Christina Kim
If you watched the Solheim Cup at all, you probably saw Christina Kim rallying the crowds, high-fiving fans and rooting on her teammates throughout the week. I love Christina's passion for the game and she wears it on her sleeve most of the time. Some might consider it obnoxious, but I happen to think it's great!! She gets people excited about golf and in golf there's just never enough of that.
Chipshot Player of The Year: Steve Stricker
If you know me at all, you saw this one coming a mile away, but what can I say - Steve Stricker showed us that not only does he have passion for the game, and a putting stroke that is golden, but he can win under pressure and still be one of the nicest guys on tour. A three win season was capped of by some stellar play at the Presidents Cup in San Francisco. He and Tiger made a great pairing and it was actually really fun to watch Tiger sort of go along for the ride a bit. Ending up 2nd on the money list and being ranked #3 in the world is testament to how much Steve has dedicated himself to playing some great golf. I love that he gets emotional and is always thankful the opportunity he has. And all I'm looking forward to now is seeing him get is first Major... Steve Stricker is what golf is all about to me.
Filed under: Masters, Phil Mickelson, Kenny Perry, Steve Stricker, PGA Championship, TIger Woods, Anthony Kim, YE Yang, chipshot, tees2greens, Nike, Marc Leishman, Christina Kim, Tom Watson