Golf's Biggest Turkeys Of 2013
November 27, 2013
Garcia came across as petulant in his squabble with Tiger Woods at the Players, but he looked a lot worse a couple weeks later. At a European Tour awards dinner, Garcia crossed the linewhen he joked about inviting Woods over for fried chicken during the upcoming U.S. Open. Garcia apologized and the two even shook hands the next time they played together at the BMW Championship. Still, we don't expect them to sit down together for any type of meal anytime soon.
It's not that we have a problem with someone taking on Tiger Woods. But Chamblee's curiously-constructed Internet column, in which he implied Woods was a cheater without really saying say so, caused enough of a controversy that he was forced to issue a quasi-apology on Golf Channel. For a guy who has based his television career around insightful analysis, this was one play Chamblee read wrong from the start.
McIlroy's golf in 2013 was disappointing, but his low point was how he reacted to his bad play. In the second round of the Honda Classic, McIlroy, already seven over through eight holes, abruptly walked off the courseafter hitting a ball in a water hazard on his ninth. Initially, neither he nor his agent gave an official reason for the WD, but McIlroy eventually issued a statement that said he was suffering from wisdom tooth pain. A few days later, Rory admitted he made a mistake and apologized. McIlroy is under new management (again), so hopefully, he'll handle a similar situation better next time -- or at least, have his story straight before it happens.
The former major champion has made Twitter his forum for biting, caustic commentary, most of which has at least been refreshing in its candor. But a series of tweets during the Senior British Open, when he used a racially-insensitive term while criticizing the town of Southport, England, went too far. Elkington received a harsh rebuke from the European Tour, and issued his own statement apologizingfor the tweets shortly thereafter.
Watson was the darling of the PGA Tour after his 2012 Masters win, but 2013 was filled mainly with frustration. That frustration boiled over in the final round of the Travelers Championship when, with a chance to win the tournament, Watson found the water on the par-3 16th. To make matters worse, he blamed caddie Ted Scott during a mini-tirade that was caught on camera. Scott took blame for mis-clubbing his good friend and employer after the round and the two appeared to make up quickly. Even so, we like watching the other aspects of Bubba Golf a lot better.
The USGA president had been enjoying a heady second year in command of the governing body, most notably when the USGA inked Fox to a broadcast dealworth an astounding $1.2 billion. But he appeared to overplay his hand when he sought to shake up the USGA's management structure, and according to reports, implement himself as the organization's new CEO. Instead, Nager's plan was rebuffedwhen most of the USGA sided with executive director Mike Davis. Now, rather than stay on the Executive Committee, Nager said he will leave the USGA outright after his term as president expires in February.
Who says the Presidents Cup doesn't generate a lot of buzz? On the final day at Muirfield Village, Kimberly Webster finished her final shift working at the tournament, took off her clothes and went streaking across the 18th holeand briefly became a social media sensation. While her antics wound up being harmless to those watching and even to her -- she paid just a $99 fine and was even allowed to go back on the course to retrieve her clothes -- we certainly don't want to endorse this sort of behavior. Something tells us Ms. Webster won't have as easy of a time pulling off a similar stunt if she tries to return at next year's Memorial.
The journeyman golfer got a little too careless during one particular journey. Blanks forgot to remove a gun from his backpackbefore trying to board a flight at Palm Beach International Airport on June 30 -- a .40 caliber Glock 27 with eight rounds in the magazine, to be exact. So no, he wouldn't have been firing blanks, if that's what you're thinking. Three weeks later, Blanks said the matter had been resolved with authorities and that he wouldn't receive any jail time. We'll assume he'll also be a bit more careful with where he brings concealed weapons in the future.
Let's get this straight: the Hall of Famer uses deer antler spray, a substance banned by the PGA Tour; ignores warnings from other tour players about how the substance is banned; admits to using the substance in a published report; then issues his own statement repeating that he used the substance but that he had no idea that wasn't cool. Later, after a suspension by the tour is dropped on a technicality, Singh sues the tour on the eve of its signature event. Now as part of his suit, Singh is reportedly asking for the names of other tour members who have violated the tour's drug policy. That should make him some friends!
There are bad rounds and then there are off-the-charts-embarrassing bad rounds. Pawel Japol's first round at the inaugural European Challenge Tour event in the Ukraine falls into the latter category. The Polish pro carded a 109(not a misprint) that included a four-hole stretch of 18 over on his way to a tidy 57 on the back nine. Since there doesn't appear to be any pictures of Japol, we'll just assume he looked a lot like this guy (left) when figuring out his score. Normally, we wouldn't condone a golfer pulling out of a tournament prematurely, but in this case, Japol's WD after the round was probably the right call.
When forced to watch last August's PGA Championship from afar, Overton took to Twitter to express his frustration with the PGA of America. Specifically, Overton was upset that as a former Ryder Cup player, he was passed over for an exemption in favor of other players. "Who did you give your invites to? Not the guy that helped make you 50 million in Wales," Overton tweeted. Lost in that message was the fact that Overton hadn't done much to help his case in 2013 -- plunging to 151st in the world at the time of the PGA -- or that very little of the money generated at the 2010 Ryder Cup had to do with Overton specifically. He later went on to delete the tweets.