Tait’s top 10 moments of the 2000’s

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So we say goodbye to another decade. The “Noughties,” as they have been dubbed, are over, which is strange since it doesn’t seem that long ago that we were saying goodbye to the 20th century.

A lot has happened in the last decade. Much to celebrate and much to forget.

Here are my top 10 moments from the last decade. (As always, you’ll forgive me if they have a slight European slant.)

photo

The Olympic rings are seen on June 16, 2009 at the entrance of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

10. Golf gets Olympic recognition

Will this provide the boost that golf needs to help it grow globally? The experts say yes. Let’s hope so. If the pundits are right, then it could be the boon golf needs to get out of its moribund state.

9. Europe’s Ryder routs

There was a time when all the U.S. had to do was turn up to win the Ryder Cup, such was the dominance of U.S. golfers. In 2004, the Americans must have wished they hadn’t bothered to appear at Oakland Hills. Bernhard Langer led a team that humiliated the U.S, 18 1/2-9 1/2. Two years later, Europe’s best won by the same score in Ireland for a third consecutive victory.

8. Solheim success

Europe doesn’t have much to gloat about in the Solheim Cup, but two victories in the Noughties are worthy of top-10 recognition. The decade began with a shock European win at Loch Lomond over a strong U.S. team, 14 1/2-11 1/2. That victory in 2000 might have been a surprise, but the 2003 rout (17 1/2-10 1/2) wasn’t. It will be some time before a European team wins by a seven-point margin again.

7. GB&I wins third successive Walker Cup

The Great Britain & Ireland side did something in 2003 that no other GB&I side had ever done – won the cup for the third successive time. Despite being the underdogs, GB&I pulled off a superb 12 1/2- 11 1/2 win at Ganton – the last time GB&I won.

6. Martin wins Portuguese Open

It took until 2007 for an amateur to win on the European Tour, and then two more did it in double-quick time. Pablo Martin’s Portuguese Open victory made history; Danny Lee (2009 Johnnie Walker Classic) and Ireland’s Shane Lowry (2009 Irish Open) followed him into the record books.

5. Annika takes on the men

Annika Sorenstam made much history in her playing career, but taking part in the 2003 Bank of America Colonial event ranked as one of the most memorable events of the Noughties.

photo

Padraig Harrington of Ireland celebrates his win while kissing the PGA Championship Trophy after winning the 90th PGA Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club.

4. Harrington goes on major spree

For a while there, Paul Lawrie, 1999 British Open champion, was the answer to a popular trivia question: Who was the last European to win a major? Then Padraig Harrington won three. Back-to-back Open Championships (2007-08) and the 2008 PGA Championship, which no European had won since 1930.

3. Yang puts Asia on major map

Y.E. Yang’s PGA Championship victory will go down in history for two reasons: 1.) He was the first Asian to win a major; and 2.) It was perhaps the most unique celebration in major history.

Any guy who lifts a golf bag over his head deserves plaudits.

2. Woods wins the Tiger Slam

Things haven’t changed since the turn of the century. Just as he is today, Tiger Woods was the story in golf. Only back then it was for his exploits on the golf course. Three straight majors in 2000 – the U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship – and the 2001 Masters earned him a feat no one else had ever recorded. Those four consecutive major wins became known as the Tiger Slam. Too bad it wasn’t in the same calendar year.

1. Woods wins U.S. Open by 15 shots

It’s still hard to believe such a feat was possible. No one should win the U.S. Open by 15 shots, yet Woods made it look easy in 2000. Tom Watson said it was the greatest achievement in golf. It certainly topped the list in the Noughties. That was the highlight of the decade for me.

Happy New Year everyone. Hope 2010 brings you much health and prosperity.

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