2017 Annual

The Year In Retrospect

Contributor: Doug Ferguson

Arnold Palmer truly had a larger-than-life presence and his death on the eve of the Ryder Cup cast a sombre shadow over golf in 2016. The joyous celebrations for America’s victory at Hazeltine National, a first in eight years, were followed by an emotional farewell at a memorial service at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe for a man whose appeal was unrivalled throughout the game. “He was the king of our sport,” said Jack Nicklaus, “and he will always be”. Yet while golf saluted the life of its king, today’s stars produced new moments for the game to celebrate.

As well as the heroics at Hazeltine, there were four first time major winners in the men’s game including Dustin Johnson at U.S. Open and Henrik Stenson at the Open Championship, new rivalries to savour in the women’s game and a golden return for golf at the Olympics. All this and more feature in the 51st edition of the prestigious annual founded by Mark H. McCormack, Rolex Presents the World of Professional Golf 2017. Mr. McCormack, the founder and chairman of IMG, passed away in 2003 at the age of 72 but this publication continues in his memory.

At Royal Troon, Stenson and Phil Mickelson produced a battle that rivalled the “Duel in the Sun” between Nicholas and Tom Watson at Turnberry in 1977. The pair distance themselves from the field as Stenson said a new record low total to become the first Swede to win a men’s major. Johnson fulfilled his major potential at Oakmont despite playing the final few holes under the threat of a penalty. England’s Danny Willett, days after becoming new father, calmly claimed a Masters green jacket after Jordan Spieth’s implosion at the 12 hole, while Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championship over Jason Day. The Players Champion Day finished the year as World No. 1 as Rory McIlroy won the FedExCup for the first time before losing his Race to Dubai crown to Stenson.

Justin Rose and Inbee Park created history by winning gold medals as golf returned to the Olympics for the first time in over a century. Lydia Ko remained at the head of the Rolex Rankings all year after claiming a second major title at the ANA Inspiration, but new young stars emerged in Brooke Henderson and Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, who won the Ricoh Women’s British Open and the LPGA’s season long race to CME Globe.


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