SI senior writer
Gary Van Sickle has covered more than 225 golf tournaments during his 11 years
at the magazine. Here are his five favorites from 2007.
5 U.S. Open
Because I live in Pittsburgh, I slept in my own bed, had a 30-minute commute
and, in an upset, didn't have to battle the traffic backups on the main road to
Oakmont Country Club. The Open had a dramatic finish, and some Oakmont members
are still chuckling about the fierce rough and the pros' big numbers.
4 EDS Byron Nelson
Championship Until the end, not much went right for the Nelson. Lord Byron had
died the year before, the tournament was moved to an unattractive date in late
April, and the greens at TPC Four Seasons Resort were brown and bumpy. But the
event had the feel-good finish of the year when Tour veteran Scott Verplank,
who had been mentored by Nelson since his teens, holed the winning putt,
pointed skyward and mouthed, "Thank you."
3 U.S. Senior Open
Pardon my sacrilege, but Whistling Straits, perched on bluffs above Lake
Michigan, might be a better course than Pebble Beach. Watching Tom Watson think
his way around the Straits was as good as it gets.
2 British Open
There was nonstop drama at Carnoustie, beginning with Tiger Woods sending his
opening tee shot of the second round way out-of-bounds--with a four-iron! I got
my first up-close look at Rory McIlroy, the 18-year-old from Northern Ireland,
and saw that he really is the Next Big Thing. Then there were the amazing
10-birdie round by Andres Romero and the 18th-hole flameouts by Sergio Garc�a
and Padraig Harrington. Harrington is as nice as anybody on any tour, so
everyone was happy to see him win his first major in a playoff. And I have to
smile anytime Sergio goes into crybaby mode.
1 Windon Memorial
Northwestern hosted this college event at Lake Shore Country Club. I watched my
son, Mike, who's a junior at Marquette, birdie six of the last eight holes for
a closing 30 that lifted him into a tie for first. No nine holes meant more or
made me happier in 2007.