(2018) proved to be a great year in so many ways for our wonderful game – a year that featured several
high points on all the world tours -and- several strong initiatives that will grow the game in the future. But,
before I get started in this area, since our last publication was out on October 1st, here are the results on
the tours since that time.
On the LPGA Tour: The biennial UL International Crown team event, played in South Korea, was won by a terrific South Korean team; the KEB Hana Bank title was won by (24) year old In Gee Chun; the inaugural Buick LPGA Shanghai title went to (26) year old Danielle Kang of the U.S.; the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship was won by (20) yr. old Nelly Korda, who now joins her sister Jessica as a winner on tour; Nasa Hataoka won the 46th Toto Japan Classic in her native country; and the Blue Bay LPGA Tourney saw Mexico’s Gaby Lopez become the 10th 1st time winner on the LPGA Tour this season! This tour is very young & very deep! One more – the LPGA Legends Tour played the senior LPGA Championship in nearby French Lick, Indiana – with England’s World Golf Hall of Famer, Laura Davies, winning (and) therefore sweeping the Majors on the senior circuit of ladies golf…(earlier in the year, she took home the U.S. Senior Women’s Open title).
On the PGA Tour Champions: The Pure Insurance Championship title was won by Ken Tanigawa – (making his eagle at the 18th at Pebble Beach G.C. and ensuring his 1st win on tour); The SAS Championship was won by Germany’s Bernhard Langer – (his 38th! career win on the Champions Tour); Woody Austin won the Dominion Energy Charity Classic; Scott Parel won the Invesco QQQ Championship; and the final event on tour in (2018) – the Charles Schwab Cup Challenge was won by Vijay Singh of Fiji – (this tourney was also the last in the year-long race to the coveted Charles Schwab Cup) – which was won by…of course…Bernhard Langer – for the 5th time! -and- giving him the million dollar bonus that goes with this accomplishment.
The Men’s European Tour: Played the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship over three courses – including the old course at St. Andrews, which opened in (1552!) – yeah, we’ve been playing golf for a while! – Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard captured this victory; the 66th British Masters was won by England’s Eddie Pepperell; Sergio Garcia won the Valderrama Masters on his home turf in Spain for his 15th Euro Tour win; the Turkish Airlines Open was won by England’s Justin Rose for the 2nd year in a row – moving him to #1 in the world; and (45) yr. old Lee Westwood of England won his (24th) European title (and 1st in over (4) seasons) at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
(And) on the U.S. Men’s PGA Tour: - Once again – the U.S. Ryder Cup team took it on the chin on European soil – now having (not) won away from home since 1993! The event was won by the European team 17 ½ to 10 ½ in Paris – with Tiger & Phil going a combined (0 and 6) for the week – great job by the Euro’s – but let’s hope (2020) at Whistling Straits G.C. in Kohler, Wisconsin tells the world a different story! (30) year old Kevin Tway won for the 1st time on tour at the Safeway Open – joining his father Bob as PGA Tour title holders; the Cimb Classic was won by Australian veteran Marc Leishman; Brooks Koepka continued his great play in (2018) by winning the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges Tournament in South Korea – moving him to #1 in the world: (25) year old Xander Schauffele won the WGC – HSBC Champions event; the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children Open was won by (also 25) year old Bryson DeChambeau; (and) for his first time in over (4) years – Olympic bronze medalist Matt Kuchar won – (at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico) – for his (8th) career PGA Tour title.
Just going through my notes:
• As I mentioned at the start of this month’s article – it was a great year in golf – and I hope you enjoyed some wonderful
viewing of all the tours…but most of all…I hope you had fun playing the game yourself this season…and maybe had a few
“high points” of your own!
• I know Brooks Koepka did – winning both the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship; being named the PGA Tour’s Player of
the Year; (and) finishing his season as the #1 player in the world!
• Speaking of #1 – both the LPGA Tour and the men’s tour(s) saw that “numero uno” title change hands a record (5+) times
each in (2018).
• Tiger came back! Started as the #1, 199th ranked player in the world – finishing at number 13! (And) he won! after back fusion?!
• Gambling is coming to golf?! More on that next year – is it good for the game? We’ll see.
• The PGA of America has its first woman president – Ms. Suzy Whaley – I think she’ll do great leading this organization of over
28,000 men & women – she is highly qualified and truly deserves this position.
• I, for one, will really miss Johnny Miller on NBC’s golf telecasts – for (29) years he spoke his mind – and I learned a lot through
his educated commentary - the saving grace is that Paul Azinger is taking over for Mr. Miller – and I don’t think they could not
have made a better choice.
• In one of the best moves (ever) in this game – Dennis Walters has been named as one of the (2019’s) Hall of Fame inductees –
please look him up – great man – great story.
• (And) one more – if you see this in time – Tiger & Phil are finally going to play their “Winner Take All” match for a reported $9
million on Friday, November 23rd – unfortunately – it is pay per view – and no spectators are able to buy tickets to see the
event in person. Anyway, it’s $24.99 if you want to see it – and the Vegas line is (Tiger –220) & (Phil +180).
Just a couple of quick shots this month:
1. Nice job by our local 1st Tee Program(s) – and our PGA Junior League groups in helping make golf available to area kids.
Your hard work is making for better future golfers (and) better region citizens!
2. You know how well you were treated by the great staff(s) at our local courses this year – so please continue to support them
during the winter months. Many have really good food, and they all are a great place to watch sporting events, socialize, or
hold a special event.
3. On that same subject – the holiday buying season is here! Golf balls, bags, shoes, and gift certificates all make great gifts for
those golfers in your life – buy local – support our local courses & merchants whenever you can…please.
(And) one last “special thanks this month”: To: Of course Mike & Kathy Modrzejewski, who do so much to help me get this
article out each month…I will never be able to thank you enough!
To: All of you who give me such wonderful feedback and participate in our contests, etc…(I promise a couple more next year!).
To: Jon & Steve Chontos for keeping this publication going strong – providing all of us with a place to keep in touch with local golf news, etc.
And to: All my dear friends who have made (2018) a wonderful year for yours truly – you know who you are! Thanks! (And)! Happy 105th B-Day Harold Koenig!!!
(And) if you have a suggestion for a feature article you would like to see covered -or- if you just want to chime in – please contact me at our e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a voicemail at (219)617-3276, and to read past golf course reviews – or to just visit Golf Plus newspaper online – visit our website at golfplusonline.net.
Lastly: Usually I try to end with something humorous (or) an odd golf story, etc…but not this month. Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you all! May you be near your loved ones over the holiday season -and- I hope we meet right back here (all in good health) next season!
Merry Christmas - Pete