When Hootie Johnson took his leave of Augusta National this year, we lost one of golf's bigger egos. As the man who had most to do with the scarring of Augusta National - once one of the game's most interesting and strategic layouts; now almost just another course with rough, water and trees - Johnson's retirement is welcomed wholeheartedly here at Huggy HQ.Okay, you put it that way. But he gives such good press conference!
The "Plonker of the Year" kind of shocked me:
Having previously had nothing but pleasant conversations with the young Englishman, the journalist approached thinking a brief 20-minute chat would be no problem. But it was.Funny, I had a lovely 10 minute on the record chat with Casey on the range at Sherwood. Could not have been more delightful!
His face darkening by the second, the Sassenach announced that the scribe should "talk to my manager". Three days and five phone messages later, the manager deigned to call back and to say there was "no chance" of even the shortest sit-down with this new "star."
Sadly, even fleeting success can do this to people, but it is a shame when it happens to what appeared to be one of the good guys. So it is that the final Huggy of 2006 goes to World Matchplay champion Paul Casey who, having become the first man to finish off a Ryder Cup match with a hole-in-one, has very quickly become terribly big for his spikes.
Then again, maybe this new-found arrogance isn't really so new.
Relating the above tale to a friend, said journalist commented that Casey was "suddenly very important, in his own mind at least". To which a passing player, another Englishman, added, with some feeling, it must be said: "It isn't sudden."
Oh, and my favorite award...
GOLF WEBSITE OF THE YEAR
Although this Huggy almost went to the often hilarious but sometimes inane principalsnose.blogspot.com, the winner is geoffshackelford.com.
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