John Huggan presents his awards for the best and worst of the year, along with grades for European Tour players. A must read. My favorites:
BIGGEST PIECE OF SELF DELUSION
Perennial contender Colin Montgomerie is up there again with his misguided, "I'm as good as I've ever been" mantra. The same is true of Peter Dawson, secretary of the R&A, whenever he opens his mouth to talk about how the modern golf ball doesn't go too far when struck by the modern professional. But this year's Huggy goes to Seve Ballesteros, who thinks he can still win on the European Tour. Stunning.
DISGRACE OF THE YEAR
The sight of long grass growing all over the Old Course last July was enough to make any self-respecting golfer puke. Because of their ineptness in the high-powered face of modern clubs and balls over the last decade and a bit, the R&A were forced to destroy the basic point of the game's most famous and revered venue in order to keep the scores within reason.
Most vomit inducing was the sneaky rough grown up the right side of the Road Hole. Without it - as the R&A knew full well - the world's best players would likely have been flipping half-wedge shots into the most feared green in golf. All of which would have represented nothing less than final confirmation that the game's administrators have lost the technological plot. Shame on them.
MOST BLATANT BIAS
In a repeat of the discriminatory selection policy he adopted for the 2003 President's Cup (when he shamelessly picked his compatriot Tim Clark), international team captain Gary Player gets a Huggy for nominating yet another undeserving South African, Trevor Immelman, for the '05 joust with the Americans. Immelman is a fine young player, but selecting him ahead of Australia's Geoff Ogilvy, a man who has beaten Immelman like a redheaded stepchild all year, was unjustifiable. One would like to think Player's actions had nothing to do with the fact that, as well as a spot on the team, Immelman received a two-year exemption onto the dollar-laden PGA Tour. One would like to think that, but one is not so sure.