You remember the major champions, the major beefs and the major breakouts from this year in golf. But what about all the other details that made this season in the game such a rich pageant? This brief quiz on “The Year in Golf, 2021” will touch on and test your knowledge of some of the peripheral details that made this such a brilliant year for professional golf.
The answers, with some context to jog your memory, come at the bottom. No Googling or claiming embedded ball relief here please. Keep it straight and take an honest swing.
1: Who set the men’s Olympics scoring record with a final-round 61?
A) Xander Schauffele
B) Rory McIlroy
C) Rory Sabbatini
D) Hideki Matsuyama
2: What was not a Brooks Koepka troll of Bryson DeChambeau this year?
A) “I love my driver”
B) Creating Caddie appreciation day
C) “Hey guys, it’s Brooksy …”
D) Poking him for only making birdie after driving the lake at Bay Hill
3: Who confronted World No. 1 Dustin Johnson at WGC-Dell Match Play for hitting a putt that was not officially conceded?
A) Brooks Koepka
B) Kevin Na
C) Sergio Garcia
D) Billy Horschel
4: Who averaged 323 yards off the tee en route to her first career major?
A) Patty Tavatankit
B) Nelly Korda
C) Yuka Saso
D) Minjee Lee
5: Who was not a character involved in an infamous viral video of one player hitting into another at The Players?
A) Jordan Spieth
B) Justin Thomas
C) Collin Morikawa
D) Rory Sabbatini
6: Who was the only player to shoot under par all four rounds at the Masters?
A) Will Zalatoris
B) Tony Finau
C) Hideki Matsuyama
D) Justin Rose
7: Which famous rap album cover did Billy Horschel photoshop himself onto at the Zurich Classic shortly after details of the PIP went public?
A) Snoop Dogg’s “Doggystyle”
B) Drake’s “Take Care”
C) Kanye’s “Graduation”
D) Outkast’s “Stankonia”
8: Who was Bryson DeChambeau’s spot caddie at the Rocket Mortgage Classic after he split with Tim Tucker just before Thursday’s first round?
A) Jim “Bones” Mackay
B) Ben Schomin
C) Kid Rock
D) Stevie Williams
9: Who was assessed the first slow-play penalty in a men’s major in eight years?
A) John Catlin
B) J.B. Holmes
C) Patrick Cantlay
D) Kevin Na
10: Which golfer did not receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom less than 24 hours after the insurrection in Washington, D.C.?
A) Gary Player
B) Greg Norman
C) Annika Sorenstam
D) Babe Didrikson Zaharias
11: As betting and promotion of betting exploded around the game, what did the PGA Tour announce as the slogan for its new responsible gambling campaign?
A) “Live under par but within your means”
B) “That cash is now in play”
C) “Know when to lay up”
D) “These bookmakers are good”
12: How long into the future did the USGA announce scheduled championships for Bandon Dunes?
D) Until the planet is cooked
13: What was the reason for Shanshan Feng’s sudden withdrawal at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play at Shadow Creek?
A) A foot injury
B) A family emergency
C) A brutal hangover after a night out in Las Vegas
D) The U.S. Women’s Open is next week and I don’t need this
14: What did Phil Mickelson not do on Sunday at the PGA Championship?
A) Break his club on the range before his tee time
B) Switch up his putting grip on the 71st hole
C) Tweet from an airplane he was “half lit”
D) Pledge his allegiance to the Saudi Golf League
15: Who was not bounced from the Olympics for testing positive for COVID?
A) Paula Reto
B) Bryson DeChambeau
C) Nasa Hataoka
D) Jon Rahm
16: Who was deemed to have violated a rule when she scooped Nelly Korda’s “overhanging” ball up to lose a hole, and eventually the match, causing controversy at the Solheim Cup?
A) Leona Maguire
B) Madelene Sagstrom
C) Jessica Korda
D) Sophia Popov
17: What was Rory McIlroy’s daily superstitious meal at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines?
A) Domino’s pizza
B) Rotisserie chicken sandwich
C) Filet mignon
18: What did the PGA Tour do in response to Bryson DeChambeau suggesting he’d drive left of the lake on the 18th hole at TPC Sawgrass?
A) Moved the tees up
B) Created internal out-of-bounds
C) Threatened him with a penalty
D) Built a wall
19: Whose mouth was agape in a viral video watching Bryson DeChambeau’s speed training before the Masters?
A) Vijay Singh
B) Fred Couples
C) Phil Mickelson
D) Larry Mize
20: In the USA rout of Europe, which player joined Larry Nelson, Arnold Palmer and Gardner Dickinson as the only Americans to go 5-0 during a Ryder Cup?
A) Patrick Cantlay
B) Jordan Spieth
C) Collin Morikawa
D) Dustin Johnson
Maddie Meyer/PGA of America
• • •
Rory Sabbatini, the beloved “Boy from Bratislava” by way of South Africa and the United States, kept the middle-of-the-night audience wide-eyed during an electric final-round 61 that landed him an improbable silver medal. Xander Schauffele edged him by a shot to win gold, while C.T. Pan emerged from a lengthy 7-man playoff to take bronze.
With each Bryson controversy that occurred over the summer, it seemed Koepka was always there to comment in jest in not-so-subtle ways. He did not, however, poke at DeChambeau for missing the green on the next shot after driving it across the lake at Bay Hill each day on the weekend.
It was Na who summoned DJ back down to the green, putting his hand on his shoulder, and explaining that he didn’t concede a putt before the world No. 1 had quick-scooped his ball. DJ was under the impression it had been conceded, they halved the hole, and both moved on in a match that Na went on to win while walking in putts. DJ did not talk to the media after the match and quickly got out of town.
A year of breakout winners at the women’s majors started with Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit bombing her way to a comfortable ANA Inspiration title even in the face of a sizzling final-round 62 by Lydia Ko.
Justin Thomas, the eventual winner of this year’s Players Championship, did miss out on the fun on Saturday when Spieth unknowingly hit into Rory Sabbatini, with the entire sequence seen and, more importantly, heard on the impressive Every Shot Live coverage at the tour’s marquee event. Collin Morikawa and his caddie became an integral and amusing part of the sketch, contributing lines to the script as they tensely watched up ahead.
He did not win on tour. Hell, he never became a member during an astounding run of top-10 finishes playing with the big boys. But this was a breakout season for Will Zalatoris, and he announced his presence to a larger audience with his performance at the Masters, going 70-68-71-70 to fall a shot short of Hideki Matsuyama
In the earliest days of the PIP entering our lexicon, Billy Horschel tweeted the image of himself and Zurich Classic partner Sam Burns in the place of Big Boi and Andre 3000 and it was received with great fanfare. So Fresh, So Clean would be the duo’s walk-up music in NOLA.
Ben Schomin, the Cobra tour operations manager who said DeChambeau is “like an 8-year-old that gets mad at you” and has “never really been happy, ever” in response to “the driver sucks” comments at The Open, stepped in to carry Bryson’s bag just a couple weeks prior to that Open contretemps for the two Detroit rounds after the sudden split with Tim Tucker.
Catlin, who received a special exemption alongside Rickie Fowler into the PGA Championship, got popped with a one-shot penalty. It was the first slow-play penalty at a men’s major since 14-year-old amateur Tianlang Guan took one at the 2013 Masters. Catlin would also miss out on a U.S. Open spot a few weeks later when his group drew a three-shot penalty in sectional qualifying.
In what suddenly became a closed-door ceremony a day after the Jan. 6 incident at the U.S. Capitol, Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player received the Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump, in addition to a posthumous nod for Zaharias. Greg Noman did not.
You may have seen it far less (or maybe zero) than ads for or promotions with official betting partners, but this was (is?) a campaign launched with the American Gaming Association at the start of the year. It’s as much a part of this year in golf as, well, not much else.
While not designating Bandon Dunes an “anchor site” like with Pinehurst, the USGA did announce that they’ve scheduled 13 amateur championships at the West Coast venue beginning in 2022 and ending, for now, in 2045 with the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior.
16th hole at Bandon Dunes
Feng was arguably the best quote of the year in all of professional golf, but this caused a minor stir among the hot-take provocateurs. After advancing all the way to the final four of this match-play event before losing in the semis, and facing her seventh match in five days, she decides “nah, I’m good” and concedes the consolation match to Ariya Jutanugarn. It was 100 degrees in Vegas, and the U.S. Women’s Open was on deck, but that didn’t stop a few critiques from coming that this was quitting or anti-competitive.
Well, he did not publicly pledge his allegiance to the Saudi golf league disruptors. They were on site all week at Kiawah meeting with players and agents as a tension gripped the island concurrently with the ongoing major. But Phil’s eventful, historic, wild ride of a final round to become the oldest major champion in golf history has to be the best Sunday of the year, which included his half-lit tweets from the PJ, a pre-round scramble after the face of his club(s) cracked, and a “Phil being Phil” change to the claw grip late in the day.
The men’s side of the Olympics competition took a big hit when both Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm tested positive for COVID right before their departure to Tokyo. The women’s draw lost less starpower, and both Hataoka and her compatriot Mone Inami represented for their home country, with Inami edging Lydia Ko for a silver medal.
Perhaps the most dramatic moment in a convincing Team Europe victory at the Solheim Cup came via a rules controversy, when Madelene Sagstrom, passing by the hole, scooped Nelly’s ball and gave it back to her. That’s when officials got involved and said she didn’t give it enough time as it was “overhanging” and really none of the players involved or either side felt good about it.
It was another major-less year for Rory, perhaps the game’s most interesting character. But he did play his way into contention once, at the U.S. Open, and so the subject of his pre-round meal routine at the Torrey Pines lodge became a supporting actor in this show.
Fresh off his win at Bay Hill, DeChambeau let on that he was thinking about using that prodigious length to find a better angle into the green with a near inconceivable play down the left. But once Bryson went public with his comments, the tour stopped it in its tracks and created an internal OB, much to the gawkers’ chagrin.
Bryson was the subject of a viral moment again early in Masters week at the “tournament practice area,” where it looked like he might come out of his shoes as Vijay stared on in wonder. It’s no leaked Brooks interview video from the PGA, but one of the tweeted videos of it does have 5.3 million views.
The Ryder Cup was a weekend of record-setting success for the USA side, and the narrative took hold that a “new generation” of American talent had turned the roster over for coming decades of dominance. But it was the senior-most member on the team who led the way with a perfect 5-0 mark and, of course, some of those younger teammates, like Collin Morikawa, had a helping hand in that.