Golf's Biggest Turkeys Of 2016

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Golf's Biggest Turkeys Of 2016

November 23, 2016

Photo By: 2016 Getty Images

Photo By: 2016 Getty Images

Photo By: 2016 Getty Images

Photo By: 2016 Getty Images

Photo By: 2016 Getty Images

Robert Allenby

Another year, another off-course incident involving the Aussie. This time, Allenby was arrested for disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing at a casino after he missed the cut at the John Deere Open. According to Rock Island (Ill.) police, Allenby spent a little less than an hour in jail before being released. Not that the rest of his year went much better. Allenby's nightmare season on the PGA Tour included 21 missed cuts in 23 starts.

Photo By: 2016 Getty Images

The USGA

Unfortunately, the U.S. Open received more attention for a final-round controversy than it did for Dustin Johnson's breakthrough victory in a major. It all started when Johnson noticed his ball move slightly on the fifth green as he got ready for a two-foot par putt. A rules official and playing partner Lee Westwood agreed with Johnson that he didn't cause the ball to move and no penalty was assessed, but seven holes later Johnson was told by another USGA official that the matter was still unresolved. Johnson was eventually given a one-stroke penalty after his round, but luckily, it only mattered in the final margin of victory. Still, it didn't stop fellow players, media and fans from criticizing how the situation was handled.

Photo By: 2016 Getty Images

Jordan Spieth

We'll start by saying Spieth (and his caddie, Michael Greller) handled his Masters meltdown with total class. And we'd kill to have a "disappointing" season that included a runner-up at a major in addition to two PGA Tour titles and an Australian Open victory. But Spieth still made the biggest gaffe of the year when he dunked not one, but two golf balls into Rae's Creek on the par-3 12th during the final round. Spieth arrived on the tee with a one-shot lead (it was five at the turn before bogeys on 10 and 11), but after taking a quadruple bogey on the hole, he walked off the green facing a three-shot deficit he'd never make up. "Big picture? This one will hurt," Spieth said after. "It was a really tough 30 minutes for me that hopefully I'll never experience again."

Photo By: 2016 Getty Images

Phil Mickelson

Mickelson surprised everyone at his pre-Ryder Cup press conference by criticizing his captain. From 12 years before. The stinging comments about Hal Sutton's 2004 captaincy took everyone by surprise, especially Sutton, who threatened to leave the event. But Mickelson smoothed the situation over by apologizing that night ("I was totally in the wrong.") and then made people forget about it with a 10-birdie performance on Sunday that helped the U.S. beat Europe for the first time since 2008. Speaking of Ryder Cup distractions. . .

Photo By: 2016 Getty Images

P.J. Willett

The older brother of reigning Masters champion Danny Willett caused a controversy of his own ahead of the Ryder Cup by writing a scathing column about American golf fans (Calling them "brainless" and "pudgy" among other things). Not surprisingly, P.J.'s comments put Danny and the rest of Team Europe in a tough spot all week by riling up an already rowdy crowd at Hazeltine. Danny played poorly in Europe's loss, then was asked how he would describe his Ryder Cup debut. "Sh*!" he said. Moments later, he added, "Sorry, would you like me to elaborate? It was really sh*!" Saying, "Thanks a lot, bro," would also have worked.

Josh Hogarth

This one hurts to write. The 15-year-old should have had a hole-in-one and a course record, but a rules mistake cost him. Badly. With his ball resting against the flagstick after a brilliant tee shot, Hogarth pulled the pin straight up (mistakenly thinking he had to) and caused the ball to come out of the hole. He was forced to tap-in for the most disappointing birdie of 2016.

Aussie Pranksters

It appeared like Evan Shay and Morgan Ruig pulled the ultimate prank, tricking North Korean officials into thinking they were Australian golf pros so they could play in the North Korea Golf Championship. Their real ruse, however, was tricking the media into buying their grossly exaggerated story. The two competed in the event, but there was no deception about their playing ability (they simply booked through a travel agent), and contrary to what they had everyone believe, they didn't risk their lives -- even when shooting scores in the 120s. They really had those nifty, matching green jackets made for the event, though, so they at least get credit for that.

Tiger Woods

We feel bad for Tiger Woods. Not only was this this the least productive year of his career, but it also had to be the most boring, with the 14-time major champ even admitting to Stephen Colbert that he played eight hours of the same video game a day while recovering from back surgery. But we can't give him a pass for faking everyone out in terms of making a comeback. Woods announced a month in advance that he hoped to play in the Safeway Open, the opening event of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season, and then he confirmed his spot in the field the week before the tournament. But three days later Woods withdrew, saying he still wasn't ready because his game was "vulnerable." It was a big letdown for fans, especially those who had bought tickets (and made travel plans) to see Woods' return.

JJ Downum

First of all, we don't condone heckling at golf tournaments. But if you are to do this, it's probably wise that you don't take to social media to brag about it. That's what Downum did, though, after taunting Ian Poulter at the Valspar Championship to the point that the assistant athletic director at Florida Southern College claimed he caused the Englishman to hit a shot into the water. Well, Poulter saw Downum's posts, alerted his employer of his extra-curricular activities, and a few days later, Downum lost his job. On the bright side, he has a great getting fired story to tell everyone for the rest of his life.

Diana Murphy

Look, no one is perfect, and speaking in public can be extremely nerve-wracking. Still, the USGA President essentially had one job at the trophy presentation for the U.S. Women's Open: Get the winner's name right. After Brittany Lang won the event in a playoff for the first major championship of her career, Murphy publicly congratulated "Bethany Lang" for the victory. Whoops. To her credit, Murphy issued a heartfelt apology shortly after the ceremony.

Photo By: 2016 Getty Images

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