As I patiently wait for the LPGA to announce its 2013 schedule, I would like to look back at what I consider the top stories of 2012.
I have narrowed my list to ten, although I know there were many more. Of course this list is very subjective, depending on who your favorite golfers are. A top story for me may be a story someone else would want to forget.
Feel free to add your own top stories in the comments section if you feel that I missed one.
So in reverse order, here we go:
10- Rules Official Doug Brecht passes away.
Following a three month battle with the West Nile Virus, LPGA Rules Official Doug Brecht passed away at the age of 62. Doug may be the only person who hated slow play more than me. Doug became the center of controversy at the Sybase Match Play Championship in 2012, when Morgan Pressel after winning the 12th hole was informed she would lose that hole instead because of slow play. Doug was known for being tough but fair, and truly loved the LPGA. He will be missed.
9- Yani Tseng's slump at the age of 23.
Most golfers usually hit slumps sometime in their careers, but usually not at the age of 23.
Yani, at a very early age has already won 15 times with 5 of those wins major championships. She won 3 of the first 5 events of the year and then practically disappeared for the rest of the season. She failed to finish in the top 25 in 11 of the last 15 tournaments she played in. This is certainly worth keeping an eye on in 2013.
8- Morgan Pressel's loss of hole penalty.
After winning the 12th hole in her match with Azahara Munoz and taking a 3 hole lead with 6 to play, Morgan was informed she would be penalized the loss of that hole because of slow play. She was warned previously in the match. She was told that she took 129 seconds to play the twelfth hole, 39 more than allowed. Instead of a 3 hole lead, it was changed to one. She would go on to lose the match and Azahara would win the Championship. Morgan would not play well again the rest of the year.
7- Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin's 9 hole playoff.
Was this playoff golf at its best, or golf at its worst, I am still not sure. I can only tell you that this was golf at its most exciting. After finishing tied at the Kingsmill Championship after 72 holes, they went to a playoff. After 8 playoff holes were played with still no winner, they had to stop because of darkness. The next day while everyone else flew to Europe for the British Open, Jiyai would come out victorious on the ninth playoff hole. While most people thought that arriving a day late would hurt the 2 players at the British Open, Jiyai would win that also, and Paula would finish 3rd.
6- Lydia Ko wins the Canadian Open at age 15.
This one speaks for itself. Lydia became the youngest player ever to win an LPGA event.
5- Two women granted membership to Augusta National.
Former United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and Financier Darla Moore became the first two women ever to be granted membership to Augusta National. Not to take anything away from the great accomplishments of those two women, but wouldn't this have been a much bigger and more satisfying story if they would have chosen Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez instead?
4- Na-Yeon Choi shoots 65 in third round at the U.S. Open.
Why was this such a big story? It was the hottest and most humid day I have ever spent walking on a golf course. The average score for the day was ten strokes higher than what Na-Yeon shot. Yani Tseng and Suzann Pettersen shot 78. Stacy Lewis shot 80. Karrie Webb and Angela Stanford shot 81. Ms. Choi would go on to win the Championship.
3- Inbee Park's ten consecutive top 10 finishes.
I don't know that this has ever been done on the LPGA tour before. I don't know that it has been done on any tour. This is an accomplishment we may not see again for a very, very long time.
2- Stacy Lewis wins Player of the Year.
If your not an American you probably think that I rated this too high. Maybe I did. But this is still an American based tour, and I have been waiting since 1994 for this to happen.
1- I.K. Kim misses 12 inch putt and loses Kraft Nabisco Championship.
I honestly hate making this the top story of the year. Especially it being about someone as classy as I.K.
Problem is the criteria I used for my rankings here, is what story will I remember the longest. That look on her face. I think the whole country just wanted to hug her. Will any of you forget this anytime soon? I won't. Every time somebody has a small putt to win a championship, we will think of this.