The Year In Retrospect
Contributor: Doug Ferguson
The 55th edition of Rolex Presents The World of Professional Golf chronicles. Bryson DeChambeau, taking big-hitting to new lengths, overpowered Winged Foot for an extraordinary US Open victory. World number one Dustin Johnson dominated the FedEx Cup and achieved a dream at the Masters by wearing the green jacket. Korea’s Sei Young Kim finally claimed her maiden major title, while Sophia Popov came out of nowhere – 304th on the Rolex Rankings – for an incredible victory at the AIG Women’s Open.
There were memorable shots. Collin Morikawa drove the 16th at Harding Park to set up an eagle and win the PGA Championship in only his second major. Jon Rahm holed a rapid, curling downhill 66-footer to beat Johnson in a playoff at BMW Championship. Mirim Lee chipped in for an eagle on the final hole of the ANA Inspiration and then won at the first extra hole. Little-known A Lim Kim birdied the last three holes to win the US Women’s Open.
Professional golf was affected by the coronavirus pandemic like everything else but the game still provided indelible memories in 2020. Tournaments returned thanks to extensive safety protocols. Coordinated efforts enabled schedules to be revised. Things were a little different. Spectators were missing, as were some of the great championships. New tournaments were created in weeks, others felt different – the Masters played out against autumnal hues rather than spring blooms. But the golf went on, as did Lee Westwood, winning a third Race to Dubai title.
Emily Kristine Pedersen won four times on the Ladies European Tour, including three in a row. Rolex Rankings number one Jin Young Ko held off rival Sei Young Kim at the LPGA’s December finale. Among other storylines, Tyrell Hatton broke through with his first win in America and fulfilled a boyhood dream in claiming the BMW PGA Championship. In South Africa, Christiaan Bezuidenhout won three times, including the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the SA Open back-to-back. In Japan, Takami Kanaya won his third start as a professional at the Dunlop Phoenix, while the Japan LPGA Tour was led by exciting young rookies Yuka Saso and Ayaka Furue. And Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk had successful debuts on the Champions Tour, both winning their first two events.