Vijay Singh Despite a final-round 76, golf's version of the Terminator continued his unrelenting attack on golf's top honors, virtually wrapping up the money title and player of the year award while moving within decimal points of the No. 1 World Ranking.
Phil Mickelson He didn't get his second, but Lefty finished a breakout year in the majors with another run at a title.
Chris DiMarco, Chris Riley They came in ranked 15th and 18th, respectively, in the Ryder Cup standings, but top four finishes catapulted them onto Hal Sutton's team.
PGA It not only took a chance and came up aces on a new venue, but it also set up the course in a challenging way that still allowed the players to score.
August 22, 2004
Cheeseheads Badger State fans showed up in record numbers--45,000 a day--and they were polite and enthusiastic from start to finish.
Smilin' Marvin The feel-good story of a local postal worker who stood in front of his house waving hello and goodbye to tournament goers got more airtime than Stephen Ames.
Whistling Straits It looked great on TV, the players loved it, and it was playable for long and short hitters alike, while the gnarly rough and ubiquitous bunkers meant double bogey was never more than a stray shot away.
Ernie Els On the one occasion when finishing second would have made him a winner--moving him to No. 1 in the World Ranking--he couldn't muster a round of even par, coming up short when he was within striking distance for the fourth time in a major this year.
Justin Leonard His gutty front nine on Sunday put him in position to win his second career major and qualify for the Ryder Cup, but he folded like a paper hat down the stretch.
Steve Flesch, Jerry Kelly Flesch began the week with a spot on the team (9th) and Kelly was one place out (11th), but both just missed qualifying on points and then got passed over as captain's picks.
USGA Rumor has it that David Fay and crew have the Straits lined up for a future U.S. Open. Can you imagine the place with six-inch rough, punitive pin placements and burned-out greens?
Jelly Ankles All the steep dunes and slick, windswept grass at Whistling Straits looked cool, but they were treacherous to walk on, as dozens of spectators went down with sprained or broken ankles.
Herb Kohler The Kenny Rogers look-alike paid millions to build his vanity course--then seemed just as determined to get every penny back in free p.r. as he became a fixture on TV.
Whistling Straits For many purists the Lake Michigan links course was underwhelming, terribly overhyped and more contrived than the plot of a John Grisham novel.
Michelle Wie's struggles to close out her matches at the U.S. Women's Amateur show that she should be learning to win against players closer to her own age and skill level.