The Year In Retrospect
Contributor: Doug Ferguson
In the summer of 2014 one player proved his dominance against all others as Rory McIlroy won both the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and the PGA Championship at Valhalla. In addition, he won his first World Golf championship, the Bridgestone Invitational, and helped Europe win the Ryder Cup. All this and more are included in the 49th edition of the annual founded by Mark H. McCormack, Rolex Presents the World of Professional Golf 2015.
Mr. McCormack, the founder and chairman of IMG, passed away in 2003 at the age of 72, but this publication continues in his memory. With his wire-to-wire win at Hoylake, McIlroy became at 25 the third youngest player to win three different majors. He also won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and the European Tour’s Race to Dubai for a second time, as well as finishing the year as a clear leader at the top of the world ranking and the wild money list. Others were not to be overshadowed, however, notably Martin Kaymer, who won wire-to-wire at both The Players Championship, in a dramatic finish and U.S. Open by 8 strokes.
Bubba Watson won the Masters for the second time in three years, as well as his first WGC title, while there were also maiden WGC wins for Jason Day and Patrick Reed. Rickie Fowler finished in the top five at each of the four majors and Jordan Spieth emerged as an exciting young talent, but the Americans led by Tom Watson and without the injured Tiger Woods, could not find redemption in the Ryder Cup and Gleneagles. Inspired by the meticulous leadership of Paul McGinley, Europe won by five points for a third successive victory. Numerous fine achievements made for a fascinating season in the women’s game.
Inbee park ended the year as she started it, at the top of the Rolex Rankings, and retained her LPGA Championship title. But she was pushed all the way by Stacy Lewis, winner of the money list, the player of the year and stroke average titles on the LPGA, and Lydia Ko, who won the inaugural CME globe in her first full year as a professional. Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie were among maiden major winners, Wie doing so at the historic U.S. Open played at Pinehurst No. 2 a week after the men’s version.