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Flashback 2018: Woods is still the man to beat

Tiger Woods

Bengaluru, December 28: The most memorable scene in golf in 2018 was not the conclusion to a major championship, but rather the sight of a frenzied gallery swarming over the final fairway as a familiar figure stood on the brink of a win some doubted would ever come.

Tiger Woods had gone more than five years without a victory when he rolled into Atlanta for the Tour Championship, the September season-ender on the PGA Tour that often ranks as one of the most boring events on the schedule.

It had already been a successful year for 14-time major winner, simply by being able to compete without pain again after a successful April 2017 spinal fusion that rectified a potentially career-ending back injury.

The victory, Woods' 80th on the PGA Tour, brought him within two of the all-time record held by Sam Snead, a far more attainable mark than the 18 major titles of Jack Nicklaus.

Inscrutable Koepka

Inscrutable Koepka

While Woods fell short in the majors, the inscrutable Brooks Koepka won two - successfully defending his US Open crown before adding the PGA Championship - with performances that were greeted with a proverbial yawn in the golf world.

It is not so much that fans dislike Koepka as much as they are generally apathetic about a player whose lack of charisma and outward emotion make him difficult to connect with.

Reed in limelight

Reed in limelight

Koepka was joined on the major honour roll by Patrick Reed.

Even his giant chip on his shoulder did not prevent the American from slipping easily into the green jacket awarded to the winner of the Masters.

Molinari raised his game

Molinari raised his game

And 35-year-old Francesco Molinari raised his game to a new level, finally finding a short game and putting stroke to match his long-admired full swing, as he became Italy's first-ever major winner in the British Open.

Molinari also swept all five of his matches in golf's premier team event, the Ryder Cup, as Europe again proved invincible in their own backyard.

Ariya is women's star

Ariya is women's star

Ariya Jutanugarn captured the biggest women's event, the US Open, but not before blowing a seven-stroke lead on the back nine at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

A triple-bogey at the 10th hole greased the wheels for the Thai, who eventually skidded into a play-off with South Korean Kim Hyo-joo.

Tragic death of Celia

Tragic death of Celia

The golf world endured several losses in 2018, none more tragic than that of 19-year-old Spanish amateur Celia Barquin Arozamena, murdered while playing alone at a course in Iowa, where she had been on a university golf scholarship.

The sport also mourned the passing of five-time British Open winner Peter Thomson (88), double major winner Hubert Green (71), 13-time PGA Tour winner Bruce Lietzke (67) and Australian Jarrod Lyle.

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Story first published: Friday, December 28, 2018, 10:52 [IST]
Other articles published on Dec 28, 2018

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