Somehow we’ve made it T2G’s 13th annual Bungs, our (largely unchanged down the years) celebration of the year’s golf.
I never expected a running joke to last this long, nor with such meagre returns. But being the persistent type, I’m certainly not giving up at this particular number. Perhaps the fates of 13 will give you all sweet relief next year.
So, ahead of me being poleaxed by a loose Rory McIlroy tee-shot (see below), here’s this year’s best.
Player of the Year
As is also customary, we dealt with this last week. Despite the fact he was better in 2018, Brooks Koepka was the outstanding player in 2019. As well.
Tournament of the Year
There’s certainly a case for the Open Championship and the Masters, the outstanding majors this year, and each with major features that will remain memorable for decades.
But in all seriousness, everything this year paled into insignificance compared to the Solheim Cup. It was slow enough to annoy Bryson DeChambeau at times, but all the weekend’s tension culminated in one putt, by a legendary player in the women’s game, who had barely played for 18 months.
Suzann Pettersen made it, Europe won, and she promptly retired. Quite right, anything after that was sure to be an anti-climax.
Round of the Year
Many contenders as usual, but my vote goes to Koepka’s 63 to open the PGA at Bethpage Black. Coming off the first major he’d blown, on a brutally long and tough track, he just made a statement about who was the daddy.
Shot of the Year
Having seen the world and his wife hit it into the water on the 12th on the final day at Augusta (well, Molinari, Koepka and Finau) Tiger Woods played the smart percentage shot to the safe area left of the flag.
That probably was not the shot of the year really, but what followed was a series of sure-footed shots that didn’t allow the players now behind him to entertain any hope he would fail. Until a meaningless bogey on 18, Woods was faultless with that long awaited 15th major within reach.
Depression of the Year
Too many. Patrick Reed sweeping in the bunker. Bryson DeChambeau taking an age. Matt Kuchar stiffing a caddie and then trying to get the media to feel guilty for upsetting his mee-ma. Saudi Arabia. The general, unpalatable entitlement of too many elite professional golfers.
Non-event of the Year
The Saudi event. No spectators, everybody who was there was paid to be there. And the most attention paid was when Sergio Garcia had a two-hour tantrum.
Reassurance of the Year
Can’t separate two Scots: first Robert MacIntyre, a breath of fresh air but at the same time old school, just a sound lad with an extraordinary talent, and a joy to follow around the course.
And Catriona Matthew, who reassured those who doubted her ability to be a Solheim Cup captain. She played a blinder, and not for the first time, we under-estimated her.
Trophy of the Year
Long-held tradition dictates this goes to the worst trophy in all of golf, and is the only Bung that really involves your scribe doing some detailed research. Well, most years that’s true, but not in 2019, as all of golf is unanimous that the Staysure Tour Championship Trophy, featuring a large “coffee bean” that looks really like, ahem, someone’s backside, is the unquestionable winner.
Stat of the Year
128 seconds.The time it took Bryson DeChambeau to assess a reasonably routine 11 foot putt at the Northern Trust, which he of course then missed.
While far from the only example of appalling slow play on the PGA Tour, the reaction to DeChambeau’s 128 seconds (more than three times over the prescribed limit) seems to have been the catalyst for the Tour to finally do something about it. Not before time.
Shank of the Year
It can only be Rory McIlroy’s opening tee shot in the first round of the Open at Royal Portrush, which went into the internal OB and smashed the phone screen of a spectator. For all his brilliance in 2019 – and much of it was spectacularly good – that shot might be the most remembered in the entire year from Rory. Life, and golf, ain’t fair.
Comeback of the Year
Logic surely dictates, by the pure definition of the title, that it is impossible to win this award two years in a row. But round here at T2G we defy logic, as you’re probably aware by now.
Tiger Woods’ comeback from all the (mainly self inflicted) woes of career started last year but culiminated at Augusta in April.
To give this to anyone else would be perverse, no matter how illogical it is.