Final-round duel between Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia at the Masters was the highlight of a thrilling year

  • Sergio Garcia won his first major at Masters after winning a play-off at Augusta?
  • Jordan Spieth turned potential Open meltdown into extraordinary victory
  • Branden Grace carded a wondrous 62 in the third round of The Open?

After another absorbing golf year, let's look back on the biggest, best and worst bits.

?

Best Tournament

Commendations to The Open, with Jordan Spieth's eye-opening shenanigans plus the amazing, raucous crowd, and a vibrant yet sporting Solheim Cup. But it has to be the Masters for that unforgettable final-round duel between Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose. Everything we love about sport was on show: two men at the top of their game, culminating in a win for a deserving Spaniard who almost won a major as a teenager but, at 37, finally got there.

Sergio Garcia won his first major at the Masters after winning a play-off at Augusta

Sergio Garcia won his first major at the Masters after winning a play-off at Augusta

Best Shot

Isn't it amazing that one stands out from the millions played? Step forward Justin Thomas, and the three wood he struck from 310 yards with a 290-yard carry at the par-five 18th at Erin Hills to set up the eagle three that broke the scoring record at the US Open. Quite simply, only a handful of players have the skill set to even contemplate such a blow, much less pull it off.

Best Player

Certainly Justin Thomas in America. As for Europe, that would be telling. I'm on a small panel that will have the honour of deciding such a European Tour accolade in London on Friday and I hope I'm not giving anything away in predicting a rather lively conversation debating the respective achievements of Sergio Garcia and Tommy Fleetwood…

Best Round

Given we'd been waiting more than 40 years for someone to better a score of 63 at a major, look no further than Branden Grace's wondrous 62 in the third round of The Open. It's perhaps as well the South African didn't know history was on the line when he stood on the 18th tee.

Biggest disappointment

It's not meant as a slight on all the exciting young golfers who have taken over the world game but when you start the season eagerly anticipating what Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are going to do and both pull up lame, it's hard for the shoulders not to sag. They are the greatest players of their respective generations, and it will be next year's biggest disappointment as well if Rory doesn't bounce back in 2018. As for Tiger, we're in 'hope for the best and expect the worst' territory.

Biggest shock

Lee Westwood and his manager Chubby Chandler going their separate ways after a 24-year partnership. Two titans of the European game in their different ways, you'd have thought this a bond to last a lifetime, and how sad that it didn't. As to why they split, they have both signed confidentiality clauses, so we may never know the murky truth.

Biggest Comeback

You'd have to have the flintiest heart not to have been touched by the story of American Patrick Cantlay and his wonderful year on the PGA Tour, after all he's been through. Three years of hell with his back, during which he watched his best friend die in his arms following a hit and run — how on earth do you come back from all that? You get the feeling there's plenty more to come from the 25-year-old as well.

Jordan Spieth turned potential Open meltdown into extraordinary victory at Royal Birkdale

Jordan Spieth turned potential Open meltdown into extraordinary victory at Royal Birkdale

Worst Tournament

Just when you think they can't possibly cock it up for a third year running, the United States Golf Association managed to debase yet another US Open. A shocking, soulless venue in the middle of nowhere and scoring so low the tournament's raison d'etre as the hardest major was lost completely. I recently had to fill in a survey from the USGA asking what I thought of them. It's fair to say they didn't score well.

Worst Shot

Has any golfer won The Open while hitting a shot as bad as the drive Jordan Spieth struck on the 13th at Royal Birkdale in the final round? It finished in such heavy rough that he decided to take a drop beside a club manufacturers' truck in an area not usually considered part of the golf course. The only reason it wasn't out of bounds is that no-one thought it would be necessary to mark off that area. The golf Spieth played thereafter was the mark of a true champion, but he was a lucky one, too.

Follow Him…

If you don't mind fruity language and a few too many mentions of his dog, do follow the Twitter account of Eddie Pepperell, who is both daring and funny. After being drawn with the notoriously slow Padraig Harrington and Paul Dunne: 'Great draw for me tomorrow with Dunners and Padraig. Two certainties: they'll chip and putt me to death, and we'll be on the clock.'

Follow Them…

Is there any sports organisation in the same ball park as the European Tour when it comes to putting out irresistible social media content? They have a devoted audience and quite right as well, for their videos this year featuring the pros in a wholly different light were both funny and revealing.

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.