Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Golf: 2007 Year in Review (Part 4)

By Jim Brighters, Sports Network, The Sports Network

GOOD YEARS (other than the obvious)

Suzann Pettersen - If Lorena Ochoa never existed, Pettersen would have won the LPGA Tour Player of the Year by miles. She had a great chance for win No. 1 and major No. 1 at the Nabisco, but fell apart. Pettersen then rattled off five wins, including that elusive first major at the LPGA Championship.

Steve Stricker - Actually won the Comeback Player of the Year award for second straight year on the PGA Tour. Last year, he returned to golf's spotlight. In 2007, he shined in it. Stricker won the first FedEx Cup playoff event, the Barclays, and finished the year second in FedEx Cup Playoff points and fourth in the world rankings.

American golfers - In years past, the U.S. teams in international match-play competition have looked poor. They did not in 2008. The American Presidents Cup and Solheim Cup teams looked very strong in relatively easy wins against the Internationals and Europeans. Could bode well for Paul Azinger's Ryder Cup team, which has won once in the last six competitions.

Woody Austin - He provided the single best moment of the year when he went face first into the water trying to hit a ridiculous shot from the soup at the Presidents Cup. Formerly known for smashing a putter against his head (something he hated seeing over and over again), but won at the St. Jude Championship and took second behind Woods at the PGA. Lost some points for idiotic statements that he played better than Woods on Friday when Woods matched the best round in major history with a 63 and Austin shot a 70.

Nick Flanagan - The young Aussie's name is not on the tip of anyone's tongue, but it will be soon. He played the Nationwide Tour and earned an automatic promotion to the PGA Tour with three wins. Flanagan's promotion came at a tough time since the PGA Tour was headed to the Playoffs, but Flanagan will be tough on the big tour.

Loren Roberts - Last year, Roberts, one of the best putters in the world, missed a shortish putt that would have given him the $1 million annuity for the yearlong Charles Schwab Cup title. This year, Roberts won it and the Senior Players Championship. Jay Haas, however, was voted Player of the Year by his peers.

Check back tomorrow for the list of players who had bad years

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