Winners & Losers
An end-of-year accounting of 2002's champs and chumps
ELIN The ex--bikini model thrived in the spotlight, and her beau,
Tiger Woods, gallantly proclaimed her nude Web photos to be fake.
CHRISTINE BRENNAN The shrill USA Today columnist's endless
preaching about Augusta National finally got someone's
December 16, 2002
ERNIE ELS With a scrappy win at the British Open and four other
worldwide victories, he solidified his standing as the game's
MUNIS Bethpage was so successful it has already nabbed another
Open, and it paved the way for Torrey Pines in '08.
TY VOTAW The LPGA commissioner bravely became the first in the
golf establishment to blast Augusta National.
TIGER WOODS Two majors, another money-and-scoring sweep--in a
year of parity he continued to dominate.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM With 13 victories, she stirred memories of
Mickey Wright and surpassed Woods as the game's most prolific
KOREANS With two W's, K.J. Choi starred on the PGA Tour, while
five of the top 21 on the LPGA money list also hailed from Korea.
RICH BEEM The most colorful character to make the scene since
John Daly, Beem was the anti-Tiger, accessible and fun.
HARTFORD/DISNEY/HILTON HEAD All three tournaments are off the PGA
Tour's endangered list--at least for now.
DAVID TOMS He followed up his first major by starring in the
Ryder Cup and finishing fourth on the money list, fifth in the
"DEAR MR. JOHNSON ... " So began Burk's private letter to the
chairman of Augusta National, a missive now heard round the
MARTINA The tennis vixen suffered a broken foot and a fractured
relationship with Sergio Garcia, lowlighting a down year for El
PETER KESSLER After a nasty divorce from the Golf Channel, his
most visible role these days is in those numbing Perfect Club
PHIL MICKELSON Second-half slide was a step back; with one career
win outside the U.S. and no British Open top 10s, it's a joke
that he's No. 2 in the World Ranking.
MEN'S CLUBS Golf with the boys has never looked more retrograde.
Next flap: USGA officials and their Pine Valley ties.
TIM FINCHEM The commish's flimsy explanation for the PGA Tour's
sanctioning of the Masters is bound to unravel.
TIGER WOODS His 81 at the British was his first choke, and the
Chosen One made a rare p.r. blunder with Augusta.
NANCY LOPEZ Her farewell tour was a dud, and Sorenstam usurped
Lopez's place as the best player of the modern era.
AUSTRALIANS Stuart Appleby fizzled at the British Open, Karrie
Webb went AWOL, and the season-ending events Down Under were
JOHN DALY He came unhinged at the Australian PGA following the
death of his mother--yet another low in a career that has slipped
CALLAWAY GARDENS/KINGSMILL/VANCOUVER Like Sansabelt slacks, their
time has passed.
DAVID DUVAL He followed up his first major by falling into an
abyss, with only two top 10s and an 80th-place finish on the
" ... NOT AT THE POINT OF A BAYONET" Hootie Johnson's bluster is
destined to rival Neville Chamberlain's post--Munich Agreement
It was messy at times, but 2002 was a very good year for golf.
The majors were thrilling, and Annika Sorenstam staked her claim
as the world's most dominant female athlete, while the year's two
hot-button issues--Suzy Whaley and Augusta National--will
continue to monopolize headlines in '03.
Tom Wyman, the former chairman of CBS who last week became the
first Augusta National member to resign in protest over its
men-only policy, has been accused in some quarters of
grandstanding, but Wyman's act of conscience was not
unprecedented. Twenty years ago he resigned from the University
Club in New York City when it voted not to accept women. (Wyman
rejoined the club when the policy was amended.) In explaining his
Augusta decision, Wyman, who now teaches ethics and corporate
governance at Harvard and MIT, tells SI, "I have three sons, and
we've been to Augusta several times and had wonderful family
times together. But when I began to talk about this within my
family, my sons all said, 'For our generation this issue is real;
we don't want to go to Augusta if it's going to remain in the
posture it's in today.' I found that quite persuasive." Adds
Wyman, "My students were all for [my resignation]. I am
absolutely convinced that of the people who know anything about
golf and the tournament and this issue, a majority of them think
the time has come, and is in fact overdue, for the club to do
exactly what was done when there was an ultimatum about
African-Americans there. The club did not have a choice then, and
it has worked out just fine."
Casey Martin shot a final-round 77 at Q school to miss getting
his card by three strokes, ending a painful week. Following
Saturday's round at the PGA West Stadium course, Martin blamed
the course designer for some of the discomfort in his right
leg. "My worst leg days have come on Pete Dye courses," Martin
said, claiming that entering and exiting the designer's deep
bunkers places extra pressure on his atrophied tibia.
This year's Boo Weekley Award goes to Q school grad John
Morgan, a 24-year-old fish out of water from Portishead, England.
Morgan, the son of a dockworker, had never played in the U.S.
prior to last week, or even been interviewed on TV, but he is now
headed to the big time after finishing 11th and earning his Tour
card. "This is all for my dad, to get him off the docks," said
Morgan, whose tastes in fashion run toward carpenter's pants,
complete with the little loop for hanging a hammer.
Pebble Beach Golf Links recently opened the world's swankiest
maintenance facility, on a priceless patch of real estate
adjacent to the 10th fairway. The 17,350-square-foot structure
sports an employees' locker room, complete with showers, and the
designated break area has views of the Pacific. The $2.2 million
project was spearheaded by Arnold Palmer, a managing partner of
Pebble Beach Co. and famously the son of a greenkeeper.
VOTE AT GOLFONLINE.COM
THIS WEEK: What story would you most like to see next year: Tiger
Woods wins the Grand Slam, Phil Mickelson takes his first major,
Suzy Whaley contends at the Greater Hartford Open or the Augusta
National controversy is resolved?
LAST POLL: Whose side are you on, Martha Burk's or Hootie
--Based on 2,859 responses to our informal survey