Golf's Biggest Turkeys Of 2014

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Golf's Biggest Turkeys Of 2014

November 19, 2014

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Tom Watson

The eight-time major champion was called out of the bullpen to help the U.S. Ryder Cup team in a country, Scotland, where he'd had so much success. But the feel-good story never materialized and instead, Watson came under fire early and often for his choices as captain. A rocky relationship with his team members became apparent during an awkward closing press conferencein which Phil Mickelson pointed out a lack of communication with the stubborn captain. Ensuing reports of Watson mocking a team giftdepicted even deeper disharmony behind the scenes.

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Team USA

Watson deserves blame for another U.S. Ryder Cup debacle, but his players, in particular the veterans, didn't exactly help him out much, either. Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, and Matt Kuchar -- the lone three Americans ranked in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking heading into the event -- had a combined two wins and nine losses at Gleneagles. And as a team, the U.S. could only manage one of eight available points in foursome play. Things are so bad for the U.S. after an eighth loss in the last 10 tries that the PGA of America decided to create a special Ryder Cup Task Force.

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PGA of America

With bad weather in the forecast and Valhalla already in a soggy state, the PGA of America decided against moving up tee times for Sunday's final round of the year's final major championship. A near two-hour rain delay caused the leaders to tee up even later and a finish in near darkness. While all of this was exciting to fans, the finishing hole was a messwith the final two groups essentially playing as a foursome. The players involved handled the situation well, but it's hard to think that the confusing and frantic finish didn't play some role in the outcome. Oh, and Rory McIlroy had to make a saving catch during the trophy presentation with the PGA president. Speaking of which. . .

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Ted Bishop

Bishop did a lot of good in his tenure as PGA of America president, and the argument can still be made his impeachment last month was an over-the-top punishment. But the blame still falls to Bishop for putting himself in that position when he called Ian Poulter a "lil girl" on social media. The cries of sexism were extreme, but the charges that Bishop often recklessly thrust himself into the spotlight were still spot on.

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Patrick Reed

We normally would be applauding a player like Patrick Reed for a breakthrough season, and in some ways, we still are. Reed won three times in the span of seven months, and was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise dismal U.S. Ryder Cup team. But he was also the player who, following his win at Doral, brashly proclaimed himself as one of the "top five players" in the world at a time when the sample size was still quite small. And worse, earlier this month, Reed was caught by a greenside microphone using a homophobic slur after a three-putt. Reed summarily apologized, and in fairness, the comment was directed at no one but himself. But it was the latest example of how the 24-year-old American has plenty of rough edges left to smooth out.

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Mark Allen

You may not recognize the name, but you may recall the guy who got into a car accident while doing a golf radio interview. That's Allen, a former Australian golf pro turned analyst, who was in the middle of giving his thoughts about the Ryder Cup on SEN Radio when he rear-ended another driver with his Mercedes. Unfortunately, the crash abruptly ended Allen's analysis, but fortunately, no one was injured.

John Daly

Daly has set the bar pretty high for on-course meltdowns, but he outdid himself at this year's Valspar Championship in March. Daly shot a career-worst 90at Innisbrook's Copperhead Course in the second round, which included a 12 on the par-4 16th hole. "It was a good 12. I got up-and-down for 12," Daly said afterward. If anyone knows what "a good 12" is, it's Daly.

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Grantland

The otherwise clever sports and pop culture website seemed to stumble on a compelling tale in "Dr. V's Magial Putter", which chronicled the backstory of a "scientifically superior" golf club and its mercurial inventor. But a closer look exposed a series of ethical breaches, namely the writer's decision to "out" the transgender putter maker Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt to a source, which may have played a role in Vanderbilt's suicide. The fallout was significant, with Grantland -- including Editor-in-Chief Bill Simmons (left) -- roundly criticized by both the journalism and transgender communities. But it at least brought light to a sensitive issue many mainstream outlets hadn't contemplated before.

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Steve Elkington

He's taken to Twitter to make racistand sexistremarks, but Steve Elkington hit another low in February with his homophobic remarktoward openly gay NFL draft prospect Michael Sam. First, Elkington said, "ESPN covering Michael Sam as a gay athlete is embarrassing," then this gem: "ESPN reporting Michael Sam is leading the handbag throw at NFL combine.... No one else expected to throw today." Fortunately, we live in a society that quickly condemned Elkington's comments, and the 1995 PGA champ later said the PGA Tour suspended him for two weeks.

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Bubba Watson

The 2014 season was obviously a success for Watson from the mintue he slipped on a second green jacket in April, but at the year's final major, he made a couple of gaffes that may have cost him some fans. First, Watson strangely refused to participate in the long drive contest, which consisted of hitting one drive from the par-5 10th hole during Wednesday's practice round at Valhalla. Instead, Watson opted to hit an iron despite hitting driver on the 595-yard hole during the tournament. Then during Friday's second round, Watson had a bit of a meltdown in the rain. He moped, complained, and even cursed. The low moment, though, was having his caddie, Ted Scott, tee up a ball for him.

Dustin Johnson

Whether you believe he took a leave of absence or was suspended by the PGA Tour, the end result was the same: Dustin Johnson had a career-best season cut short. Just two weeks after playing in the final group of the British Open on Saturday, Johnson withdrew from the WGC-Bridgestone Championship and hasn't played since. Still, in just 17 events, he earned more than $4.2 million and earned enough FedEx points to take one of 30 spots in the Tour Championship despite not playing in any playoff events. Now 30 and with a baby on the way, Johnson is eyeing a February return in 2015. Hopefully for him, there won't be any more early exits.

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Brittany Lincicome

With a chance to win her second major at the LPGA Championship, Lincicome three-putted from the left fringe on the 18th hole to fall into a playoff with Inbee Park. Minutes later, from nearly the same position, Lincicome tried chipping instead, but got the same result when she missed a six-footer for par to lose to Park. Lincicome's Sunday 71 wasn't bad, but making near mirror image bogeys on the same hole to lose was. "Not being in this position for a while, I think it all caught up with me," said Lincicome, who won her lone major in 2009.

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Politician who played golf instead of campaigning

A member of Parliament representing a section of northeastern Wales called Montgomeryshire, Davis was supposed to help drum up support for his party in October, but said he couldn't because of a bad back. It was later discovered that Davis instead spent the time playing golfjust seven miles from where he was asked to campaign. Davis called the controversy a "silly story" since he always uses a golf cart when he plays, and said he wouldn't have been able "to walk around." Something tells us his opponent will use this whole incident against him in the next election.

Justin Bieber

The entertainer became a terror on a mini-golf course in L.A. after suspecting a woman was taking photos of him. Bieber reportedly tried to take the phonefrom the woman and then forced her to prove she didn't have any pictures of him on it. According to a report, after not seeing any photos, Bieber still screamed at the woman, which caused her daughter to cry. Charges of attempted robbery against Bieber were later dropped, but c'mon, Justin. Mini-golf isn't supposed to be that stressful.

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Nick Faldo

As if the Europeans needed more motivation to band together at the Ryder Cup, Nick Faldo provided it when he ripped one of the team's stalwarts. While announcing the action on Day 1 for the Golf Channel, Faldo called Sergio Garcia "useless"and said he had a "bad attitude" when Faldo was the losing captain at the 2008 Ryder Cup. Garcia had the last laugh -- literally -- following the Europeans' latest victory. While Lee Westwood talked about the former captains Paul McGinley consulted with before the matches, Garcia jumped in and asked, "Do you think he talked to Faldo?" and all of Team Europe cracked up.

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