Let’s face it. Golfers are in La La Land quite often, dreaming of once-in-a-lifetime rounds and fantasizing about sinking a 15-footer to win the Masters.
The reality is that 2016 crowned four first-time winners in the major championships. In the theatrical world of golf, some well-known actors played major roles while surprise winners emerged as blockbusters.
As creator of The Major, a gold statue that just happens to resemble my uncle as he bent over to pluck his ball from the bottom of the cup, I can skip the nomination phase and award the figurine to the following unforgettable performances in 2016.
And The Major for Rules Official in a Supporting Role goes to Mike Davis, Executive Director of the USGA. Dustin Johnson was mesmerizing fans on the course with smashing drives and clutch putts during the 2016 US Open while TV viewers were absorbed in rules school.
In fact, the plot was as twisted as The Sting’s, as a one-shot penalty danced across the big screen for the last seven holes.
The debacle duck-hooked the USGA into a lateral water hazard. Spieth labeled the calamity a “joke.” McIlroy tweeted that it was “Amateur Hour.”
Enter Mike Davis, stage right. The CEO rightly admitted that the USGA made a mistake on how they handled the situation while stating that the ruling was correct. On Golf Central, he acknowledged the blunder, “…we'd really like a mulligan because clearly we made a big bogey."
He, the R & A and the USGA made a hole-in-one change when they offered a 2017 local rule that states, “When a player’s ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment.” No wonder the unanimous choice (academy of one) for The Major is Mike Davis.
Best Actor? Duh! Dustin Johnson for acting like the suspense of a penalty that was to be or not to be didn’t bother him. Best Actress? Brittany Lang for acting like it didn’t trouble her when USGA President Diana Murphy called her Bethany four times. Cinematography? The Masters for the 80th year in a row.
Best Picture? Although all four majors were nominated, Stenson and Mickelson’s battle at Troon broke the 1977 Duel in the Sun’s box office records.
The 63 and 65 they shot respectively in the last round capped off 20 and 17-under totals in the 2016 Open Championship, 14 and 11 shots ahead of J B Holmes who finished a distant third. “Yeah, those guys are playing a different golf course from everybody else,” Holmes said after the round.