Whatever your feelings about the year 2016 may be, there were plenty great moments in golf. We’d love to list them all, but for now let’s reminisce on some of our favorite, most joyous golf events of the year and get excited for 2017.
Golf fans around the world had been anxiously waiting to see Tiger Woods return to the course, no matter how well or poorly he would perform. He did not disappoint.
Tiger made 24 birdies and was tied for the lead at one point during the Hero World Challenge. He finished 15th overall, but he had golf fans on the edge of their seats, watching a tournament that has never had so much worldwide attention before.
Golf entered the 2016 Olympics under skepticism and ended up a success. The men’s team put on an entertaining spectacle, ending with Justin Rose claiming the gold medal for Great Britain. The competition put the game on a spotlight to countries worldwide that typically don’t pay much attention to golf. You can see our full review of golf in the Olympics here.
U.S. Wins the Ryder Cup
For the first time in eight years, the U.S. won the Ryder Cup and the course was arguably the most electric it’s ever been. American fans clashed with European players and we saw a fired up side of Rory McIlroy. It’s going to be tough to top the 2016 Ryder Cup.
Open Championship Battle
Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson fought in one of the most entertaining final round showdowns in golf. Stenson finished with a 63 and Mickelson with a 65. Their battle is comparable with Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus' "Duel in the Sun" in 1977.
Jim Furyk Sets PGA Record
PGA history was made when Jim Furyk shot the first-ever 58 on the PGA Tour at the Travelers Championship. He hit all 18 greens in regulation as the golf gods were in his favor that day.
It was the trip that made us all jealous. Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman gallivanted around the Bahamas in nothing but their swim trunks and dad bods and documented their intoxicated adventures on Snapchat for all to enjoy. In reality, golf needed something like this.
A Look at 2017
The storylines are endless for 2017. Will Tiger return to the Masters? Will he win a tournament? Who will be invited to SB2K17? There are a few guesses we can make.
Jason Day has a fresh Nike deal and just announced that he hopes to be No. 1 all year-round, so he's worth keeping an eye on. Getting to No. 1 is tough enough, but staying there is even harder. He has the determination but may be too injury-prone to last.
Tiger Woods gave us a glimmer of hope with this 2016 return, but he has an ambitious lineup of events in 2017 and a win will be tough, but not impossible. A couple top-5 finishes is a reasonable expectation.
With team play, we have the President’s Cup in September at Liberty National Golf Course in New Jersey. It’s a bit early to make a prediction, but the International team will be looking for redemption from its close loss in 2015.
If you want to follow a rising star, watch out for Aditi Ashok. She got people’s attention in the Rio Olympics (see our spotlight) and went on to win a couple tournaments in 2016. The 18-year-old recently became the first Indian woman to win a Ladies European Tour title and got Rookie of the Year recognition. She is very close to earning her LPGA card and making higher-stakes tournament appearances.