Monday scramble for dec. 3, 2018 golf channel 40 awesome hand tattoos

This scribe has been covering golf full-time since 2010, and this was – by far – the most memorable year of the past decade. For starters, woods did somehow return to championship form, and some of the most compelling moments of the year came when he either battled or teamed up with those next-gen stars: overtaking jordan spieth at the open, falling to brooks koepka at the PGA, powering past rory mcilroy at the tour championship, failing with patrick reed and bryson dechambeau at the ryder cup.

Will woods’ upward trajectory continue? That’s the big question. It’s reasonable to expect that woods, turning 43 at the end of the year, has only a few more good years left in him. Next year presents his best opportunity to win a major since 2008, but to do it he’ll have to outduel – again – the best and the brightest, many of whom are 15 years younger.

His last three performances – at the ryder cup, the match and hero – did nothing to diminish the quality of his 2018. It was nothing short of miraculous. Not only did his surgically repaired back hold up, but he showed speed and power and precision and a competitive fire that had been lacking in recent years, when his game and his short-term career were a mystery.

At the beginning of the year, he wondered what his schedule would look like, his back still a question mark and his world ranking south of 600. Including the ryder cup and hero, he played 20 times – his heaviest workload since 2005 – and qualified for world golf championships and all four playoff events, winning the season finale. Now, he’s all the way up to no. 14 in the world, making him eligible for the wgcs and allowing him to set a schedule to conserve energy and peak for the majors.

After that, he played like a man possessed, like a man who wasn’t scared of the major moments and who continually feels as though he’s not given proper respect. Over the offseason koepka and his team will have to manufacture some new slights, because there’s no doubting his place in the game: he’s no. 1 in the world, a three-time major winner, the reigning PGA tour player of the year.

Those expecting koepka to fall off sometime soon haven’t looked at his major record – he has 12 top-15s in his past 17 major starts. Nice tattoo ideas for guys he’s perfected his game plan. No, he doesn’t win as many “regular” events as he probably should, but if he gets more juiced for the majors and continues to pick off the big ones at this rate, why does it matter? He’s the game’s preeminent big-game hunter.

It wasn’t just the final score that was alarming, either. Jim furyk made decisions that weren’t just second-guessed with the benefit of hindsight – everyone knew, in the moment, that they were bad ideas, like sending out an erratic phil mickelson in the demanding foursomes format. Furyk and his assistants didn’t squash the lingering animosity between patrick reed and jordan spieth, and even the bash brothers, koepka and johnson, nearly came to blows at a sunday night party.

None of this will matter, of course, in 2020 at whistling straits, where the americans will deservedly be huge favorites, with its young core of power hitters (and more surely to come in the next two years). The home-course advantage has gotten so extreme that, barring another collapse, it’s hard to imagine the home team dropping a ryder cup for a long time.

Beginning jan. 1, some key changes will go in effect: players will be able to tap down spike marks on the greens (get ready for some undue delays for gardening), caddies won’t be able to stand behind players to help with alignment (sorry, 75 percent of the LPGA), and players can putt with the flagstick in on the greens (which is good news, apparently, for bryson). Also: no penalty for a double hit, a new dropping procedure that will allow players to drop from an inch off the ground, and no additional stroke for a ball that accidentally moves on the green.

Not horrible, by any means, but he regressed across the board. All year he talked about how he’d experienced little breakthroughs and that he was “close.” the results said otherwise, as he failed to qualify for the tour championship for the first time as a pro, then looked off during two fall starts. Spieth has been too good for too long not to figure it out, but there are some legitimate concerns. He needs to excel with his iron game and putting if he’s going to continue to be a top-5 player on the modern tour.

Along the way he made a mockery of the game and himself by playing ping-pong on a baked-out green at shinnecock, perhaps a concession that he’ll never win that elusive U.S. Open. Awesome chest tattoos for guys he played so poorly during the summer and early fall that he wasn’t a lock to receive a captain’s pick for the ryder cup. And then he was so dismal in paris, going 0-2 (including the cup-clinching singles defeat), that he’ll need to qualify on his own to keep alive his incredible streak of team competitions played. They can’t burn a pick on him anymore.

Mickelson remains as entertaining as ever, but he turns 49 next summer and, the mexico win notwithstanding, showed signs in 2018 of a deteriorating game. Would it surprise if he popped up at augusta or pebble? Of course not. He’s phil, the second-best player of his generation, a fixture in the top 50 for the past 25 years. But he’s no longer a consistent contender, and that’s a tough realization.

The only thing dechambeau HASN’T done is contend deep into a major – his T-21 at the masters, as an amateur, remains one of his best finishes – and that’ll be the next step he should take in 2019. He’s a markedly improved putter, but the strength of his game is ball-striking. It’d be a surprise if he doesn’t contend at bethpage and/or pebble.

But the match itself was a massive disappointment, too, with few side bets (thanks to the tour), little interaction between the two stars, a gimmicky playoff hole, a $9 million pot that definitely seemed like it was split beforehand, and a TV production that was a disaster not only because of the broadcast but also the collapsed PPV/streaming model.

Mr. Consistency: tony finau. Cool ironman tattoos the hero was yet another missed opportunity, but there’s never been more evidence that finau is now among the game’s upper echelon. He produced a whopping 12 top-10s, was a no-brainer choice for the U.S. Ryder cup team and rose all the way to no. 9 in the world. Finau is still so raw that he’ll eventually figure out how to slam the door.

Bernie’s biggest threat: vijay singh. No, he still didn’t do enough to overtake bernhard langer for the season-long senior prize, but he won a major and a few other tournaments while finally committing himself full-time. And then there was this: he became even more wealthy after the tour finally settled its year-long lawsuit over the deer-antler spray stuff.

GOAT of the year: jim furyk. He’s a likable, smart, thoughtful guy, but sadly his captainship will not be remembered fondly. He didn’t properly prepare his team for the claustrophobic le golf national layout, he didn’t quell the lingering spieth-reed controversy, he got pushed over by mickelson and then he curiously defended some of his decisions, saying that he’d do it all over again, too. Sigh.

Career year: francesco molinari. Awesome forearm tattoos for guys at 35, the historically-good-but-not-great player took the next step, winning the european tour’s flagship event, blowing out the field at tiger’s event, winning the open at one of the toughest courses on the rota, going 5-0 at a historic ryder cup and then capturing the season-long race to dubai title. He’s already fretting about how to back this up, but enjoy it while you can, frankie. What a year.

Can we get A mulligan?: tiger. Who knows how the open would have turned out, but we’d like to give woods a do-over on his third shot into the 11th hole at carnoustie. Instead of getting too cute with the flop, just send it 30 feet onto the green, take your bogey and move on. That double killed his momentum, led to another bogey and ended his chances at no. 15.