The Year In Retrospect
Contributor: Doug Ferguson
Tiger Woods in his Sunday red shirt, both arms raised in victory. For so many years, that was an indelible image in golf. In 2018, it was again as Woods won the Tour Championship. Just like old times, Tiger was must-see golf. The compelling story of his come-back from a fourth back surgery features in the 53rd edition of the prestigious annual founded by Mark H. McCormack, Rolex presents the World of Professional Golf 2019.
Mr. McCormack, the founder and chairman of IMG, passed away in 2003 at the age of 72, but this publication continues in his memory. Plenty of other stories are celebrated in this edition, including Brooks Koepka’s victories in two major championships. The American became the first player for 29 years to successfully defend at the U.S. Open and then he joined only Woods, Nicklaus, Hogan and Sarazen in winning the PGA Championship in the same year.
Koepka was the player of the year on the PGA Tour and ended 2018 as the No.1 on the Official World Golf Ranking, narrowly ahead of Justin Rose, who secured the FedExCup. Bryson DeChambeau won four times to head the World Money List, Patrick Reed triumphed at the Masters and Francesco became the first Italian winner of a major at The Open Championship. Molinari enjoyed the season of his life by winning the BMA PGA Championship at Wentworth, the Quicken Loans National by eight strokes for his first win in America and then the claret jug at Carnoustie having not dropped a shot at the weekend. For good measure he became the first European to win five matches out of five, four of them with his “Moliwood” partner Tommy Fleetwood, as Thomas Bjorn’s team memorably won the Ryder Cup in Paris by seven points. Ariya Jutanugarn dominated the women’s game.
The Thai won the U.S. Women’s Open, bravely prevailing in a playoff after losing a seven-stroke lead, and ended the year as No.1 on the Rolex Rankings as well as sweeping all the top LPGA awards. The other major champions were Pernilla Lindberg, who won the ANA Inspiration at the eighth extra hole, Sung Hyun Park at the KPMG Women’s PGA after another playoff, Georgia Hall, the first English winner of the Ricoh Women’s British Open, and Angela Stanford, in her 76th attempt, at the Evian Championship.