Christmas, according to a crooner of yore, is the most wonderful time of the year. And probably the most frenzied too. If you’re not being trampled into the pavement by a stampede of crazed shoppers, then you’re having your ear drums splintered by the racket generated from a marauding office party.

It’s all festive this and yuletide that. In fact, the season of goodwill is rammed down your thrapple with such force, I’ve just coughed up a chunk of tinsel typing this sentence.

So, before Santa takes his annual tumble down the lum, let’s have a selective glance back at one or two major moments from an eventful golfing year.


As all and sundry tuned into 24-hour Tiger-vision during the build up to the 86th Masters, Woods’ announcement at his pre-tournament press conference that “I feel like I’m going to play” led to an hysterical media screeching the news at a pitch several hundred octaves above sanity.

When he took to the tee on the Thursday for his first competitive round in 508 days, the masses gazing on had been holding their breaths for so long, they just about needed a snorkel to get through his backswing. Some 14 months earlier, Woods had been lying in a hospital bed, his legs mangled and his career seemingly at an end after a shattering car crash.

On that April day in Augusta, though, the 46-year-old, with a creaking, groaning body that was held together by various pins, screws, rivets and scaffolding, posted a quite heroic one-under 71 to sit inside the top 10. He couldn’t, could he?

Well, no actually. Amid the kind of unhinged expectation that Tiger attracts, he would eventually hirple and hobble his way to a 47th-place finish. It was still a herculean effort in the circumstances. The uncertainty about where and when he’d appear again would be an on-going theme of the golfing year.


There was no avoiding the 150th Open at St Andrews. In fact, you couldn’t just call it The Open. It had to be the 150th Open and if you didn’t comply, the R&A’s marketing gurus would deploy baton-wielding 150th Open Enforcement Officers to hammer home the officially-branded message. It was a week that had it all, from record crowds to a tear-stained Tiger exit and a closing round for the ages by Cameron Smith.

With a thrilling back-nine rampage, which should have been accompanied by the rousing soundtrack of Ride of the Valkyries, Smith roared home in just 30 blows en route to a sparkling 64 to win the Claret Jug. It was an historic finish for this most historic of championships.

While the tumult created by LIV Golf was an increasingly wearisome millstone around the global game’s neck, this milestone occasion in the sport’s cradle provided some escapism from the civil war.

Not for long, mind you. Asked in his champion’s press conference about rumours linking him to LIV, Smith did little to douse the speculation with an abrupt, defensive response. A month later, The Open champion – sorry, 150th Open champion – would join the LIV rebellion.


If you had suggested a few years ago that the AIG Women’s Open would be staged at Muirfield, you probably would have been tried for heresy, strapped to a gurney and rolled into the Firth of Forth.

The golfing times they are a-changin’, though. It had taken this hitherto bastion off all-male exclusivity 275 years to admit their first female members. During their first hosting of the Women’s Open, it seemed the good ladies didn’t want to leave. An epic play-off in the fading light led to Ashleigh Buhai claiming her maiden Major at the fourth play-off hole as she thwarted In Gee Chun’s bid for the career Grand Slam.

It was another memorable moment in a memorable year for women’s golf. Prize money at various showpiece occasions shot to record levels, the brilliant Lydia Ko rediscovered her majesty and returned to world No.1, while Nelly Korda recovered from a blood clot to win again.

In Europe, meanwhile, Sweden’s Linn Grant, whose grandfather was a golfer from Inverness, capped a mighty year by becoming the first woman to win on the DP World Tour in the Scandinavian Mixed event. In a field of 78 men and 78 women, Grant won by nine shots. Now that’s girl power.


In a truly global game, with a frightening strength in depth, we always have to celebrate Scottish wins when they come along. So, hats off to Robert MacIntyre, Richie Ramsay and Ewen Ferguson – we need two hats for his two wins – as they flew the saltire with great aplomb on the DP World Tour.

On the LPGA Tour, meanwhile, Gemma Dryburgh’s breakthrough victory, the first by a Scot on the circuit since 2011, was a fine reward for her patience and perseverance. Hopefully, it’s onward and upwards.

Merry Christmas when it comes, folks.