From Rory Mcllroy's heartbreak at the Masters to his redemption at the U.S. Open. From Bill Hass's splashy win at the Tour Championship to Tiger's triumphant return, 2011 on the PGA Tour is another memorable year that will go down in the books.
Rory Mcllroy, the 22 year old sensation headed into this years Masters in good shape. He put on a golf clinic in the first three rounds of the tournament, hitting nearly all his shots to perfection. Mcllroy shot rounds of 65, 69, and 70 the first three days, and headed into Sunday's final at 12 under par. On Sunday however, all hell broke loose. After a shaky front nine of one over par, Mcllroy broke down on the back nine. The Master's cliche "the Masters doesn't officially start on the back nine of the final day" held to be true. The young star went triple bogey, bogey, double bogey on the first three holes on the back. The damage was done. He never rebounded back, and shot a final round 80 for a four under par total that cost him the major.
After the tragic loss at the Master's, Rory Mcllroy was back again in the year's second major, the U.S. Open. With the loss two months ago still fresh in his mind, he showed the golfing world what a true athlete he was. Mcllroy took the lead again after the first three rounds at a record breaking total of 14 under par. He steamrolled through the course making birdies and more birdies, and left the rest of the field scrambling far behind. This time, however, Mcllroy held true and continued his great play in the final round shooting a two under 69, and secured the major and his redemption.
Three-peat for Steve Stricker-
Steve Sticker at this year's John Deere Classic was a spectacle to watch. Finishing at 22 under par and in first place; the victory was Stricker's third in a row at the event. When Kyle Stanley made four straight birdies on the back nine he took a two stroke lead over Steve Stricker who had made bogeys on holes 15 and 16. Stricker made birdie on the seventeenth, rolling in a pressure packed twenty footer, and was tied with Stanley. He hit his drive into the fairway bunker on the eighteenth hole, and had an awkward stance with his ball severely below his feet. With 182 yards left, Stricker pulled off a miraculous shot with his six iron. The ball rolled over onto the fringe, but it didn't matter for Steve. He poured the 25 foot putt from off the green into the cup, and sealed his three-peat victory.
Keegan Bradley's Breakthrough-
Keegan Bradley just 25 years old collected his first major championship victory at the PGA Championship. Trailing Jason Dufner by one shot, going into the final round Bradley hit his second shot in the water on the par three fifteenth and walked away with a disastrous triple bogey. His hopes for the victory were diminished. Or so we thought. He birdied the sixteenth hole and then sank a 35 footer for birdie on the seventeenth. He was back in the ball game. Dufner didn't play his best stretch of golf on the back nine bogey three straight holes, and forced a playoff with Bradley. Ultimately Dufner lost, and Bradley, well, he surprised all of us.
Bill Haas's Splashy Victory-
Hitting a golf shot from the water is tough. Managing to land the shot on the green is even tougher. Stopping the ball within four feet of the hole, well, that's a miracle. On the second playoff hole at the Tour Championship Bill Haas launched his drive into the right fairway bunker. He then pulled his approach to the left portion of the green, and the slope took over from there. The ball rolled down and trickled into the water hazard. Haas's shot at victory seemed out of the question. Surprisingly, the ball was sitting up in the water, giving Haas a possible shot at it. He splashed out to perfection, stopping the ball within four feet of the hole, and baffled his fellow competitor Hunter Mahan. Haas eventually won the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup on the third playoff hole, and earned himself a good ten million dollars
.Luke Donald at the top of two worlds-
Luke Donald had an astounding 2011 year. He had 14 top tens in 19 events and two victories on the PGA Tour. He also claimed two wins overseas on the European Tour, where he snatched the number one world ranking from Lee Westwood with a win at the BMW PGA Championship. Donald topped both money lists on the PGA and European Tour, and was awarded Player of the Year on both tours. Wow.
Remember Tiger wearing Sunday red and a black cap. Remember Tiger draining long putts in pressure packed moments. Remember him winning a tournament from behind. Well, ladies and gentlemen he’s back. With just two holes to play and one stroke shy of Zach Johnson Tiger, well he did what Tiger does. He birdied the seventeenth hole to pull even with Johnson, and then drained a six footer on the eighteenth for birdie to win the Chevron World Challenge. Tiger gave it the slashing fist pump and the Tiger roar, and my oh my he’s back.