Top 10 Golfing Moments of 2012
Last updated: 9th January 2013
Rory in command and Kaymer and Poulter's Ryder Cup heroics - we pick out 10 unforgettable golfing moments from the past year.
The Putt That Won The Ryder Cup
Martin Kaymer showed nerves of steel to hole the putt that ensured Europe could not be beaten at Medinah and would retain the Ryder Cup. Heading into the final hole with a one-shot lead, Kaymer was aided by Steve Stricker's capitulation, but he still had to show the temperament to complete the task. The German later said that he felt that his whole career rested on the putt, with a mental recovery after a miss unlikely. Lucky for him, then, that he found the middle of the hole.
Rose Gives England Hope
Kaymer's winner may have stolen the headlines but it was Justin Rose's putt at the 17th that was a cut above the rest. Having already brought the contest to life with a great putt at the 16th, Rose holed a 35-foot monster to leave Phil Mickelson wondering how it was all going wrong and give Europe true belief.
Poulter - An Inspirational Force
None of the magic of the final day at Medinah would have been possible had it not been for Ian Poulter's inspirational run in the closing fourball on Saturday. Sinking five birdies over the last five holes, Poulter halted the Americans' momentum and showed his team-mates that the impossible was possible. With fists pumping and his eyes seemingly on the verge of popping out of his head, Poulter inspired one of the greatest comebacks ever seen.
McIlroy 'Tiger-esque' At Kiawah Island And Dubai
The comparisons between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have been numerous this year - and not just because the Northern Irishman has a fondness for wearing red! There were a few moments in the season when the world number one did what Woods did so well in his prime - annihilate the opposition with a strong finish.
Heading into the final day of the PGA Championship, McIlroy was tied for the lead on six-under with the back nine of his third round still to be completed. With the penultimate rounds done and dusted, the man from Holywood held a three-shot lead. Showing little signs of nerves, McIlroy produced a bogey-free closing 66 to claim his second major by a massive eight shots - the same margin he had won the US Open by the year before. Golf's new star hadn't just arrived, he was making himself comfortable.
The 23-year-old produced an even better final run at the DP World Tour Championship where he birdied the final five holes to pip Justin Rose in a fitting finale to the European Tour season and underline his status as the world's best.
A Tale Of Two Shots - Bubba And Louis At Augusta
The first albatross at the Masters ever recorded on television, Oosthuizen's two at the par five second, was certainly worthy of making history. Positioned well in the middle of the fairway, the South African hit a booming shot down the middle which found the left of the green with the pin on the right. The ball slowly meandered across the putting surface and flopped into the hole, sending the crowd into hysterics.
Oosthuizen could only watch as Bubba Watson produced a piece of magic of his own at the second extra play-off hole, however. Having seen his tee shot go right and into the trees, the American appeared totally out of it. But Watson somehow managed to manufacture a hook shot that curled 90 degrees around the corner and set him up with two putts to win the Masters - which he duly did.
Drama At The Open
It's hard to know whether one should commend Ernie Els for his great comeback at the Open or console Adam Scott for his incredible implosion. Either way the closing moments at Royal Lytham & St Annes made for enthralling watching. As Scott bogeyed the final four holes he not only threw away a handsome lead but also the chance of a play-off. It was hard to watch - even for his good friend Els, the beneficiary of his failure. Credit must go to the South African, though, for working his way back up the field after a decade without a major.
Woods Shines At The Memorial
McIlroy stole the headlines but Tiger Woods also had something to smile about in 2012. Woods claimed three titles on the PGA Tour and at times almost looked like his old self. No more so was this in evidence than at the Memorial. One shot back with three holes to play, Woods found himself in the rough at the back of the 16th green, with water lurking on the other side should he over-hit his chip. With a full swing, Woods lobbed his chip onto the green and watched it roll down the hill and into the hole. Out came the fist pump and not long after the title.
Simpson And Birdman Steal The Limelight
Webb Simpson showed great calm under pressure to stand tall at the US Open when more experienced players the likes of Jim Furyk crumbled beside. The American's first major certainly looks like it may not be his last. The win will also be remembered for the appearance of 'Birdman', a crazed man who interrupted the trophy presentation by coming onto the green in front from of where Simpson was being interviewed. Wearing a woolly hat emblazoned with the Union Jack, the fan make a succession of bird calls before being hauled out of the way; as the NBC anchor said - "Always something to spice matters up!"
Fowler Breaks His PGA Tour Duck
Since bursting onto the scene in earnest in 2010 with runner-up spots at the Memorial and the Phoenix Open, earning himself a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup that year, Rickie Fowler had been unable to quite live up to expectations. The 24-year-old finally secured his first PGA Tour title in 2012, however, winning the Wells Fargo Championship when he beat D.A Points and a certain Rory McIlroy in a play-off.
Phelps Shows Them How It's Done
Better known for his exploits in the pool than on the golf course, Michael Phelps notched up the small matter of what is regarded the longest ever televised putt when he knocked in a 153 foot monster at the Dunhill Links Championship. Fresh from notching up Olympic medal number 22 in London, Phelps, playing alongside Paul Casey, produced another bit of magic in the form of a putt that took all of 17 seconds to drop.
A look at some of the impressive golf courses on offer in the south of Wales. Go to Gallery
Ian Botham, Allan Lamb, Mark Boucher and company in action at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Go to Gallery
Neville Leck Blog
"The embrace a gleeful Sergio Garcia gave his German caddy after his first victory in 2013 at the Thailand Open on S..."
The famous Blue Monster at Trump National Doral, Miami, has undergone a significant transformation, courtesy of famed course architect Gil Hanse.
Next week's European Tour stop, Golf du Palais Royal, lies within the well-guarded walls of Morocco's Royal Palace.
Looking For The Perfect Pitch? Visit The Swing Doctor!