Wow – what a year of golf it’s been. How will you remember the golfing year that was 2019? It’s never easy picking the best golf moments, especially if you’re ranking them. However, we’ve given it a go.
So, in reverse order, here are our 10 best golf moments of 2019.
10. Tiger Woods Joins Sam Snead On 82 PGA Tour Wins After Japan Success
Woods’ remarkable resurgence looks set to continue into a new decade, during which time he’ll surely break Sam Snead’s all-time PGA Tour record haul of wins.
His three-shot victory at the Zozo Championship in Japan was his first since April, when he claimed a fifth Green Jacket at Augusta. It came somewhat out of the blue, following some mediocre results on the back of his Masters success.
Never underestimate Tiger. How long will it be before win number 83?
9. Jon Rahm Holds Off Fleetwood Charge To Win Race To Dubai
There might not have been one standout moment during Rahm’s profitable week in Dubai, but that was because everything he did was so classy. He briefly wobbled on the Sunday and Fleetwood’s five birdies in the last seven holes threatened to stop him becoming the first Spaniard to take the European number one title since the late Seve Ballesteros.
In the end, though, he just needed to clean up from four feet to secure the bragging rights. Easy as that.
8. Charley Hull So Close In Season-Ending Tour Championship
The 23-year-old reeled off six birdies to finish runner-up at the LPGA Tour Championship in Florida. Hull was without a top-10 finish in any tournament since May, but a pair of 66s saw the two-time Ladies European Tour winner surge into contention.
Only a birdie on the final hole from Kim Sei-young denied Hull glory, and what a putt that was. Still, to close with three birdies under such pressure, that was better than gritty.
7. Major Winning Machine Brooks Koepka Survives US PGA Wobble
Major number four very nearly slipped through Koepka’s hands at Bethpage. He started the day with a seven-shot lead, but after four bogeys on the back nine, this lead was down to just one.
The 2017 and 2018 US Open champion had dominated the week in New York. It was reminiscent of a certain Tiger Woods up until the back nine on Sunday. Even the greats feel the pressure – but they get the job done.
6. Scot Robert MacIntyre Wins Rookie Of The Year Award
Putting this year’s tournament winners to one side, Robert MacIntyre is arguably the biggest story of 2019. The young man from Oban did everything but win in his rookie year, but that will come.
After back-to-back runner-up spots in May, the 23-year-old finished in a tie for sixth at The Open. Another second followed, before three huge top 10s in Rolex Series events.
He’s won plenty of fans along the way. The expectations levels will crank up a notch in 2020, but you suspect he’ll cope just fine.
5. Rory McIlroy Lands FedEx Cup Title Number Two
That fifth Major is still proving elusive, but you can’t dismiss the Ulsterman’s fine achievements in 2019. He won the Players Championship, Canadian Open and then the TOUR Championship, which was enough the land him a second FedEx Cup title and a staggering $15m.
It all sets things up rather nicely for 2020, when he will renew his battle with world number one Brooks Koepka. What a mouth-watering prospect this promises to be.
4. Kim Sei-young Scoops Richest Prize In Women’s Golf
There were some real pressure putts in 2019 and this one, on the final hole of the season-ending Tour Championship, was right up there with them.
From 25 foot, however, it wasn’t a putt Kim Sei-young would have expected to make. It dropped, though, and it won the South Korean a tidy $1.5m – the richest first prize in the history of women’s golf.
3. Shane Lowry’s Famous Open Win At Royal Portrush
Open week started with all eyes on Rory McIlroy. How special would it be if the Ulsterman could win the Claret Jug on home turf? Regardless of what would happen, this was always going to be one of the highlights of the golfing year, a first Open Championship at Royal Portrush for 68 years.
It proved to be extra special, as Ireland’s Lowry tamed the great Dunluce Links and he won by six shots for his first Major Championship.
2. Europe Edge US In Solheim Cup Thriller
Suzann Pettersen’s eight-footer at the death clinched a dramatic win for Catriona Matthew’s side. It was a third home victory from three matches played in Scotland and Europe’s sixth from 16 editions.
However, the Cup could so easily have fallen into American hands. Marina Alex would have halved her match had her 10-footer dropped, and 14 points would have been enough to retain the trophy. Bronte Law, meanwhile, won her match on the 17th.
This all combined to give Norway’s Pettersen the chance of glory – and she held her nerve to spark wild celebrations. Roll on Toledo 2021.
1. Emotional Tiger Woods Finally Lands Major Number 15
They said that if Woods was ever going to win another Major, it would probably come at Augusta – and so it proved. Francesco Molinari should have pulled on the Green Jacket, but the Italian’s challenge was derailed by two double bogeys on the back nine.
Woods hung around as others faltered, and used all his experience in getting over the line. Given his numerous injuries and scandals, this was surely the most satisfying Major of them all.
Few thought it was possible, even the man himself. Was it more impressive than Jack’s win in 1986? That’s another discussion, but it was truly extraordinary. A worthy winner on this list.
What will be the best golf moments of 2020? Let’s see…