Golf World just wrapped up its countdown of the top 25 Newsmakers of 2018, a ranking of players, events and moments that mattered this past year. It’s a good list, but in all honesty, it fell short in presenting the stories of a highly underappreciated, yet critical element, of our sport. An element that fills in the gaps that connect generations of golf history and provides color to the commentary. So we’re here to set the record straight and provide some shade for those we overlooked.
Yes, we’re talking the top Newsmakers of 2018, inanimate-object division.
Seriously, much of golf’s iconography has to do with non-living, non-breathing things. The green jacket. The Swilken Bridge. The Stimpmeter. Tiger’s Sunday red shirt. It’s only appropriate that we give these things their due. So we’ve identified a handful of the most important “things” in golf in 2018. Some made us laugh. Some made us cry. And some just plain made us cringe.
Bryson DeChambeau’s drawing compass
The Mad Scientist said he was using it to help him get “true pin locations” off his green-reading books. USGA/R&A officials said not so fast when they saw its use on national TV at the Travelers Championship, noting that it violated Rule 14-3a that prohibits the use of unusual equipment that might assist a swing or play. The revolution ended before it could begin.
Phil Mickelson’s Mizzen + Main long-sleeve shirt
He broke it out at the Masters and wore it again at the Players Championship—even with the hot, humid conditions. “It’s remarkable to have a dress shirt I can wear from a meeting to the course,” he said. OK, then.
Clippers from a Carnoustie barber shop
What do you do when you need a little momentum halfway through the Open Championship? Get a haircut, naturally. Spieth found a local barber shop in the tiny town of Carnoustie, plucked down £9 (plus a £11 tip!), and gave us all a new definition for “going low” on the weekend. “It was a little bit—it was intended to be what I normally get, and instead he went a little shorter,” Spieth said. “Very British haircut.”
Tony Finau’s ankle brace
Who says golfers aren’t athletes? At the Masters, Finau suffered this gruesome (self-induced) ankle sprain after celebrating an ace during Wednesday’s Par-3 Contest. He then played the next four days, shooting 68-74-73-66 to finish in a tie for 10th in his first appearance at Augusta National. Not sure if we could have watched four days of the Masters let along played in it if our ankles looked like that.
New Rules of Golf book
They go live on Jan. 1. If you’re still searching for a New Year’s resolution to help your game, you could do worse than give this a read over the holidays.
Europe’s Saturday Ryder Cup outfit
OK, the Europeans didn’t get everything right over the weekend at Le Golf National.
Shinnecock Hills’ 13th green
And we thought the speed limit was 35 miles per hour in Southampton?
Tiger was spotted wearing it at the Open Championship, briefly scaring the daylights out of golf fans around the world. Within a month, it became the hip new accessory on tour. Does it work? Who the hell really knows. But it sure makes you look like an athlete.
Portable lights at Shadow Creek
Phil Mickelson might want to give them a little something for the effort, since without the lights he never would have taken out Tiger Woods in the sudden-death chip off at The Match and scooped up the $9 million prize.
Paulina Gretzky’s phone
Oh, the stories it could (and sometimes does) tell.
Greg Norman’s hat
Something had to save us all from The Shark going full commando for his ESPN The Magazine Body Issue shoot.