Golf, like the rest of the world, made big strides to returning to normal in 2021.
The crowds came back to the PGA Tour, the usual tournament schedule played out and even Jordan Spieth looked more like, well, Jordan Spieth. But while there were a lot of things to celebrate, there were also plenty of regrettable actions as well, ranging from bad decisions to bad tempers. And as it is Thanksgiving in the US, our Golf Digest colleagues in America have highlighted the turkeys of the year. So grab a plate and eat up:
We continue with another regrettable sound bite, although this time, it was something said during an interview. Here’s Giuliani telling an off-colour story about playing golf with Michelle Wie:
Yikes. Wie would respond by calling Giuliani’s comments “unsettling” and “highly inappropriate”. Here’s a tip we didn’t think we’d have to provide to such a public figure: if you’re not sure whether to tell a “joke” – especially with the cameras rolling – then you probably shouldn’t tell that “joke”.
It’s really, really hard to mess up a special moment like the one we saw at this year’s Masters with Lee Elder, the first black golfer to tee it up in the tournament back in 1975, getting the nod as an honorary starter with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. But Wayne Player, the nine-time Major champ’s son who was working as a “caddie” for the ceremony, used the opportunity to do some not-so-subtle guerilla marketing for OnCore golf balls:
There’s tacky and then there’s that. “The only thought from that point was that it would be cool for fans to know what ball my dad was teeing off with,” Wayne told Golf Digest. Yeah, Wayne, because that’s what everyone cared about in that moment. Amazingly, this wasn’t Wayne’s first rodeo when it comes to Masters controversies, but it could be his last because he’s reportedly been banned from the tournament.
No stranger to being a villain, this governing body really stepped in the stuffing with its decision to cancel one of the four women’s D-I golf regionals. There’s only so much you can do when seven inches of rain pelts a golf course, but doing nothing and automatically ending 12 of the 18 teams’ seasons? Not good.
DeChambeau did a lot of cool things this year, but he finds himself on our naughty list yet again. There are a number of directions we could take this from some really odd social media posts to that whole, “The driver sucks!” outburst. But we’ll focus on the fact that he continued to not shout “FORE!” on errant tee shots – and that he denied not doing it when asked by our John Huggan. Again, when a just about every piece of VIDEO evidence before and since suggests otherwise. Well, listen up, Bryson, because we’re yelling, “TURKEY!” at you.
We’re as guilty as anyone of getting wrapped up in the whole Brooks–Bryson feud this year, but Brooks crossed the line when he promised beer to fans heckling his rival.
Fans yelling “Brooksy”
These dopes aren’t getting off easy, either. “Brooksy”? Really? You’re purposely yelling the wrong name at someone during a golf tournament? Most 7-year-olds would even find that childish. Go back to yelling, “GET IN THE HOLE!” or “MASHED POTATOES!” Actually, on second thought, just clap. Please. Although, since it is Thanksgiving, we’ll let “MASHED POTATOES” stand. Mmm. Mashed potatoes…
The fan making fart noises
What were we just saying? As if screaming fans weren’t annoying enough, someone at the Open Championship snuck a recorder onto Royal St George’s that played fart noises. Even worse, they let one rip right as Collin Morikawa was about to tee off on the final hole. Luckily, Collin laughed it off because he’s a total legend, but aren’t these supposed to be the most knowledgeable/polite/PROPER fans in the world? Oh, who are we kidding? It was probably one of those “Brooksy” American dopes.
The fan who dressed up like Borat
That’s certainly not the case at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Those fans are absolute animals for the most part. And this year, one dressed like Borat stole the show by trying to interact with Jordan Spieth by making a bet during Saturday’s third round. He was eventually arrested, which caused fans to start chanting, “Jordan, pay his bail!” We’re pretty sure that didn’t happen.
Look, we have no problem with fans dressing up as Borat or any other character. We also, for the most part, have no problem with rowdy fans, especially at TPC Scottsdale, where they are the local species. And we certainly have no problem with gambling. But when you start blatantly interrupting golfers, that’s where we draw the line. It’s not about you, Borat. It’s about the golf. Oh, and get off our lawn!
The fan who took Rory’s driver
One dude went even farther than Borat by actually walking onto the tee and taking a club from Rory McIlroy’s bag. He then proceeded to go through an entire pre-shot routine before security finally removed him.
Again, you are NOT part of the action so stay off the tee, you turkey! And we’re calling him a turkey based on Jon Rahm claiming he could “smell” the alcohol on him. Although, Rory’s caddie, Harry Diamond, might be deserving of a turkey as well for letting this all happen right in front of him. Steve Williams he is not. Speaking of memorable tee shenanigans…
Erik Van Rooyen
The South African missed the cut at the PGA Championship, but on the bright side, he avoided manslaughter charges. After a poor tee shot that found the water on Kiawah’s 17th hole, Van Rooyen hit a tee marker so hard he nearly decapitated Matt Wallace’s caddie:
EVR then waited until Wednesday to apologise for his actions, earning him an even bigger turkey. Or does he get a smaller one? Whichever is worse.
Monday qualifier fight in Wichita
We’re giving out a pair of turkeys to a father-son combo involved in a scrap during a Korn Ferry Tour Monday qualifier in Kansas. After Austen Dailey got upset that his playing partner didn’t help him look for his golf ball, Oliver Smith, who was caddying for son Luke, went off on him. And then Luke actually went off on him with his fists. When a third player tried to intervene, Oliver reportedly waved a putter to keep him away. Eventually, both players were DQ’d and transported back, with Dailey saying he would press charges. We’re pressing charges on these guys as well. You get a turkey! And you get a turkey! AND YOU GET A TURKEY!
As an eight-time PGA Tour winner, Faxon is certainly qualified to give his golf opinions, and as an analyst, it’s part of his job. But silly, Brad, this is Twitter. No matter what you say will be ripped apart. Especially when you make a top-10 list. This one was Faxon’s personal top 10 putters of all time list:
It did, Brad. It did. Zoom in a little and you’ll see things more clearly: yep, that’s better. We detailed all the things wrong with Faxon’s ranking in a previous post, but just including Rory McIlroy alone is enough to be mocked.