2010 in review: Top 10 Wildman moments
What a great year 2010 was … and as we say goodbye to it, let's look back at some of my favorite "Wildman" video moments of the year:
2010 in review: Top 30 pictures
Golfweek's Tracy Wilcox chooses her Top 30 images of 2010.
10. The Hogan Award
Each year the GCAA and Colonial Country Club host the annual Hogan Award dinner banquet to award the best collegiate-amateur player of the year. This year's finalists were recent Washington grad Nick Taylor, Georgia senior Russell Henley and Alabama junior Bud Cauley. I had the pleasure of co-hosting the event with 2010 U.S. Senior Open winner Tom Lehman. The former University of Minnesota golfer talked about how hard it is to stay positive and to never give up on your dream. After a fine dinner and some ballot counting, Taylor walked away with the award, and an automatic exemption into the 2011 PGA Tour event at Colonial. Not a bad prize, eh?
9. Augusta State shocks Oklahoma State
The Cowboys seem to have trouble with the match-play portion of the NCAA Championship. Through three rounds of stroke play, the Cowboys were atop the leaderboard, earning the top seed for a second consecutive year. Augusta State, an upstart school from Georgia, played out of their minds at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn. At the outset of the final day, few gave the Jaguars a chance to win the title, but five hours later, Augusta State had picked up its first NCAA Division I title.
8. Go for Gold
While at the U.S. Junior Championship, Golfweek stopped at Michigan State to get a scouting report on the school’s golf facilities. As impressive as they were, we were blindsided by a bit of Spartan celebrity. Former Olympic coach and current men's hoops coach Tom Izzo took a few moments to talk about LeBron's "Decision" and coaching Team USA. It was definitely an unexpected pleasure to cross paths with a Michigan State legend on a simple golf trip.
7. Arnie’s Alma Mater
Plenty of colleges across the country have standout golf facilities . . . but Wake Forest is on another level. Yes, the school had indoor hitting bays and swing analysis, but one thing I hadn’t seen anywhere else was four different grass putting greens. Wake Forest doesn’t have a space issue for players and greens; instead each green is a different grass so the team can practice on that particular type of putting surface before it heads out to a tournament. I guess the team will always be prepared.
Off Campus 2010: Wildman's Top 10 of 2010
6. QT time with dad
While the Children’s Miracle Network Classic is going on, there is another special event taking place a lob wedge away from the driving range. Disney also hosts a parent-child tournament, and it is a riot. If you think golfers have amazing patience with people talking in their backswing, then try staying calm when your kid puts a club down to go build a sand castle in a fairway bunker. It’s a special day that gets overlooked, but is definitely appreciated by the golfers, wives, and children. That is probably the only tournament I went to all year when I heard comments like, “No napping on the tee box,” “Stop playing in the sand,” and “Can we use our throw on this hole, Dad?”
Earlier in the year, when covering a women’s golf tournament, Larry the Cable Guy was there to support his favorite team: the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The red-neck comedian said he gave them a pep talk before the tournament started, but it didn’t seem to work as the team finished in last place. On a funny note since he is a comedian, Larry was dressed in all camo gear on the golf course. Even funnier: You'd think that Larry would be better dressed since his brother, Jay McCarroll, won the first season of "Project Runway." The Cable Guy gave us some Tiger one-liners, a few golf stories . . . and a quest to help him find the 50 Pro-V1 golf balls with the logo "Git-R-Done" he lost while playing Red Tail, his home course.
4. From Gravel to Grass
One of my favorite events each year is the U.S. Amateur Championship. It has the best amateur talent in the world, normally played on an amazing golf course. This year, a one-time gravel pit named Chambers Bay hosted the event. The course's views of McNeil Island, clear skies and crowded fairways were postcard-esque. Chambers Bay was one course where I truly believe the venue was as memorable as the championship match.
3. Golf’s Dream Team
Over the summer, the U.S. had a women's amateur Dream Team of its own. The U.S. dominated the Curtis Cup with a 12 ½-7 ½ victory over GB&I. The team was led by three teenagers: Alexis Thompson (the last time we'd see her as an amateur), Jessica Korda (who earned her LPGA card last week) and Kimberly Kim. This Curtis Cup team likely will go down as the most talented ever, especially with the star power of Thompson and Korda. While time will only tell on that, retaining the Curtis Cup was a highlight of my 2010 coverage.
2. Happy Birthday
For my birthday this year, I got noise-canceling headphones, but I got them in December. Perhaps I could have used them for the roaring crowds at the U.S. Amateur this year, when Peter Uihlein defeated David Chung. All week, crowds at Chambers Bay were large, but the fans were equally as impressive. The final match between Uihlein and Chung was exciting, and most importantly, a great display of amazing golf. Both players had tough roads to the finals, and both made enough great shots to make a highlight reel for SportsCenter. In the end, Peter Uihlein got the best gift a 21-year-old could have: a 4-and-2 win over Chung, and a giant cup to drink some cocktail juice.
1. Yes they can!
Each year when Golfweek arrives for the women’s NCAA Championship, our team circles the same three or four schools that can win: Arizona State, USC, UCLA and Duke. This year, the unthinkable happened: A school from a cold-weather state with plenty of wintry weather won and shocked the 26 other schools. Purdue and coach Devin Brouse won the title, showing off the impressive victory in front of 1,500 to 2,000 people on the 18th green.