Bunker Mentality

Year in review: The Miracle of Medinah

Bunker Mentality

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Best tournament

The Masters. The first Major of the year was on its way to a drab ending as crowd favourites such as Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood saw their hopes fade over the course of the week. But two of the world's best young players, Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson, stepped up to create a thrilling finish. Watson's stunning hook out of the woods on the second play-off hole to set up victory will be remembered forever as one of the greatest pressure shots ever made to claim the Green Jacket.

Best moment

Justin Rose's putt during the Miracle at Medinah. No team had ever come back from a four-point deficit on foreign soil in the Ryder Cup until Jose Maria Olazabal's men did so in Chicago on an unforgettable Sunday in September. Ian Poulter had almost single-handedly kept the visitors in it, but it was Justin Rose's three huge and astonishing putts on the final afternoon to steal the match from Phil Mickelson that turned distant hope into true belief.

Funniest moment

Ernie Els's change of heart on long putters. "It's a form of cheating," Els said of his belly putter in July, "As long as it's legal, I will keep cheating like the rest of them." By November, as the USGA and R&A got the ball rolling on the process to ban the clubs, he had changed his tune:  "I believe they are going to have a couple of legal issues coming their way. We are talking about people's livelihoods." (This was a close second in this category.)

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Best player

The all-conquering Rory McIlroy. After he blew a great start at the Masters, missed the cut at the US Open and finishing 60th at The Open people were ready to write the Northern Irishman off. He responded by winning the US PGA by a record margin, then winning seemingly at will for the rest of the year to become undisputed world number one.

Biggest surprise

Tiger Woods becoming the new Colin Montgomerie. With the dust settled at last from his messy divorce, we were all keyed up to see if Tiger would roar back to his very best  or become a sort of Victorian fairground freak show attraction as a washed-up giant missing cuts all over the place. Instead, and horribly boringly, he became a solid but not great player, winning a few tournaments, contending in biggies but never setting the world on fire. Remind you of anyone?

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Worst moment

Adam Scott's Open meltdown. Scott bogey the final four holes at The Open to hand the tournament to Ernie Els, without doubt golf's worst slow-motion-car-crash moment since Greg Norman blew the Masters in 1996.

Biggest disappointment

Lee Westwood putting himself out of contention. Yet again, his stunning tee-to-green golf got him in position to contend in Majors. Yet again, his inability to putt at the top level, consistently, and for all four days of a tournament cost him any hope of landing one of the big ones. The odd thing is that he can do it: Westy is ranked 137th in putting in America, yet fourth in Europe.

Unsung hero

David Lynn. You can't help but feel sorry for the 39-year-old Englishman. After years struggling through the lower reaches of professional golf, he finally earned a crack at the big time by qualifying for the US PGA Championship - and he grabbed it with both hands by shooting five under par on a brutal Kiawah Island course. Two problems: firstly, Rory McIlroy shot the lights out to push him into second place on a week when his efforts would normally have been worth a win; and secondly, it all happened during the final week of the Olympics when nobody apart from the players' mums was bothering to watch.

Who to look out for in 2013

Long awaited returns to glory for Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia; both Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will narrowly fail once more to win Majors; Open champion Ernie Els to fall out of the top 50; Branden Grace to become the latest young South African to win a Major; and just when we thought his roar had been permanently replaced by a miaow, Tiger Woods will win the Masters by seven shots.

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