Golf’s defining moments of 2012
Bubba Watson’s victory at the 2012 US Masters was unforgettable. The image of Watson playing that miraculous wedge from the right trees at Augusta National is now part of history.
It was no doubt the golf shot of 2012.
It was a year that was not without controversy and historic moments in golf, from the long-awaited anchoring announcement, the controversial changes to St. Andrew’s Old Course and Augusta National allowing women to become members for the first time.
Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson won their first majors, Ernie Els won his fourth, and Rory McIlroy won his second to cement his place as the world’s number one ranked golfer.
Let’s take a closer look at the defining moments from 2012.
Bubba Watson and that shot at the US Masters
Bubba Watson’s 2012 US Masters victory will forever be remembered for his amazing recovery shot on the second playoff hole against Louis Oosthuizen. When Oosthuizen charged into the lead on the second hole with only the fourth albatross in US Masters history, many thought it would be the South African’s day.
But Watson’s steady performance is now etched into history, as was that shot.
The anchoring decision
Golf’s governing bodies missed the boat a long time ago on this controversial way of hitting the golf ball but they rapidly sought to outlaw anchoring in 2012. By late November, an announcement was made that would see anchoring the golf club against any part of the body to make a shot deemed illegal in 2016.
Adam Scott’s Open Championship meltdown
For most Australian golf fans, 2012 will forever leave a bitter taste. Ernie Els played a remarkable back nine at Royal Lytham at St. Anne’s to set a worthy clubhouse lead on the final day of the 2012 Open Championship.
With four holes to go, Adam Scott appeared to have one hand on the Claret Jug with a four-shot lead. Four holes later, the lead had gone and so had Australia’s first major since 2006.
Popovic wins Australian PGA Championship
The 2012 Australian summer of golf may well be remembered for the rise of the young stars which was exemplified in Daniel Popovic’s win at the Australian PGA Championship.
Brushing aside dinosaurs and much bigger names in Australian golf, the unheralded 26-year-old from Victoria stunned the field and the golf community by holding on for a career defining tournament victory.
Europe’s miraculous Ryder Cup victory
Few who watched the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup will ever forget it. It was quite simply the best golfing entertainment we have seen in many years and the remarkable comeback by the European team, lead by Ian Poulter, was incredible to watch. If you haven’t seen it, do so.
Hell freezes over, Augusta admits female members
Taking many of us by surprise Augusta National announced it would allow female members in a break with tradition. As the face of golf for one of the world’s greatest golf tournaments which accepts so much public sponsorship, most golf pundits agreed that this change in policy would eventually happen.
Few expected it to happen quite so soon, or even during this decade.
Rory McIlroy ranked world #1 golfer
2012 belonged to Rory McIlroy. He cemented his place atop of the world golf rankings courtesy of five victories, including a domination of the field at the 2012 US PGA Championship. The PGA Tour agreed and named him the player of the year, which wasn’t exactly a surprise.
St. Andrew’s Old Course renovations
The end to 2012 was marred by the news of the major renovations to the Old course at St. Andrew’s. A seemingly rash decision by the usually snail paced R&A saw changes to the Old Course start almost immediately after they were announced, leaving the golfing world aghast.
Some of the alterations, including green and bunker changes, changed parts of the course that had not changed in centuries – all in the name of making the course harder for professionals.