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Monday, December 31, 2012

Three Big Golf Stories in 2012

It's the final day of 2012 and the perfect time to take a look back at some of the pivotal moments of the year. It's been a great year, particularly in the professional game, though the continuing decline in participation in the amateur game continues to be a cause for concern. And for all the talk of The First Tee and its $100 million spend, there is precious little to show for it.

1. The Rules of the Game. The governing bodies, The R&A and the USGA introduced the belly putter rule - well they talked about introducing it - the actual change comes in 3 years and just like the groove change a couple years ago, this will ultimately have little to no impact on the game. They continue to ignore the golf ball and the manufacturers have the upper hand as each year the golf ball travels farther and makes the great golf courses of the world relics from the past.

2. The Men's Pro Game. Continues to go from strength to strength. The best events of the year were once again non PGA Tour events, which must drive them crazy! European dominance of the 2 big Tours with Rors taking both money titles was a site to behold and McIlroy really stepped it up again this year. I think Tiger will add to his majors tally in 2013 and Rose will win his first.

3. Shots of the year. There were many contenders and here are my top 3:

First - Bubba's second shot in the playoff at The Masters. He was a long way into those right trees on #10 and somehow hooked the ball 50 yards with a wedge onto the green and set up an easy 2 putt par to win. Truly an amazing shot.

Second - Not one shot, but a series by Ian Poulter on Day 2 of the Ryder Cup that led to 5 birdies on the bounce to give Europe a glimmer of hope going into the singles on Sunday. The grit he showed was remarkable and alongside the memory of Seve as motivation, the Europeans once again proved that they relish Ryder Cup victory more than the Americans.

Third - It's still fun to see Louis Oosthuizen a couple hundred yards out from the 2nd green at Augusta National standing over his 4 iron. The ball seems to take forever to make it to the hole as it sweeps over the crest in the middle of the green. We all know where it is going, but it's great to watch again and again!

Happy New Year to you all and thanks for reading. 2013 should be a great year at the majors - the roster of Augusta National, Merion, Muirfield and Oak Hill will create drama around classic golf courses. Cheers to that!

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