Monday, December 18, 2006
Updated: December 19, 6:42 PM ET
Take a walk on the lighter side
By Brian Wacker
The 2006 golf season produced the usual share of memories sad to happy, dramatic to dubious. Who can forget Tiger Woods' tearful British Open victory after the passing of his father Earl two months earlier, or the loss of legend Byron Nelson? How about the sheer joy exuding from another victorious European Ryder Cup team, or any number of moments over the last few holes of the U.S. Open? But there were also more humorous moments in '06 that, if they didn't make you crack a smile then, you could sure crack a joke about now. The lighter side of 2006:
Getting our Phil: Whether it was the now infamous "I'm such an idiot" quote after choking the U.S. Open away to Geoff Ogilvy, the fact that Phil Mickelson's ball actually landed in a trash bag on the 71st hole of the U.S. Open, or Phil being named to GQ's list of 10 athletes you love to hate the most, Lefty was a highlight reel unto himself.
Daly happenings: Pretty much anything involving John Daly provided a few laughs. There was the release of his book "John Daly: My Life In and Out of the Rough" a good read if you like watching "The Jerry Springer Show," as few gory details were left out. And don't forget the John Daly-is-dead rumor that was circulating the week of the PGA Championship. Fortunately, Daly didn't die, just his tour card did.
Power couple: Among the year's "celebrathletes" to get involved in '06 were Sergio Garcia and Greg Norman's daughter Morgan-Leigh. Imagine the possibilities if the two unite a la Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf and produce a Little Sergio. He'd be as daring and dashing as Daddy and Grandpa Greg, only to lose the 2036 Masters by choking away a six-stroke lead in the final round after which he'd stomp off the course and blame the tournament committee for giving Eldrick Woods Jr. a favorable tee time in rainy conditions.
Injured list: Jim Furyk's withdrawal from the Barclay's Classic because of a shoulder injury suffered while brushing his teeth is right up there with Sammy Sosa's infamous sneeze that resulted in back spasms and a trip to the 15-day disabled list. Furyk's Srixon rep told him he had to come up with a better story than that like saving a puppy from a burning building. The injury to his shoulder didn't seem to hamper him, though. Furyk finished outside the top four only twice the rest of the year.
Water hazard: Thank Mark Roberts for providing one of the images from 2006 that we'd actually like to forget. If you were lucky enough to miss it, Roberts was the bloke, sans clothing, who did a perfect swan dive into the pond off the 18th green at The K Club as Paul McGinley and J.J. Henry shook hands after halving their singles match at the Ryder Cup. "It wasn't even a woman," McGinley joked afterward. Seriously, where was Scarlett Johansson when you needed her?
Brian Wacker is an associate editor for GolfDigest.com.