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What A Season!

Nov. 15, 2004
Nov. 15, 2004

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Nov. 15, 2004

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What A Season!

Big winners, super shots, surprising stumbles, startling stats--the now-completed year had 'em all

We saw the impossible on the PGA Tour in 2004: Tiger Woods falling to earth, a mere mortal after all. We also saw the improbable, Phil Mickelson finally winning a big one, and the unimaginable, Vijay Singh, a 41year-old from Fiji, dominating the game with nine victories and a record $10.9 million in earnings. Here's what else made the '04 season a memorable one.

This is an article from the Nov. 15, 2004 issue

Biggest Meltdown

Steve Allan (above) of Australia lived every Tour player's worst nightmare at the Reno-Tahoe Open. In the fairway of the 72nd hole with a sand wedge in hand and needing only a bogey for his first Tour win, Allan chunked, bladed, flopped and gassed his way to a double-bogey 6, then lost the playoff to Vaughn Taylor.

DEFINING MOMENT

Vijay Singh (left), going head-to-head with Tiger Woods in the final pairing in September's Deutsche Bank Championship, birdied three of the last four holes to win by three. The victory vaulted Singh past Woods to No. 1 in the World Ranking, ending Woods's five-year reign.

Best Shot

The 176-yard six-iron holed for an eagle 2 by Craig Parry (left) to defeat Scott Verplank on the first playoff hole of the Ford Championship.

Wettest Whistles

According to The Detroit News, the U.S. team consumed a six-pack of beer in the Oakland Hills locker room during the Ryder Cup. Attendants lost count of the Euros' intake. The room was "one big party, from beginning to end," the News said.

Quotes of the Year

"What's an anecdote? Isn't that something you put on pizza?"

--Chris Riley, asked for an anecdote about himself

"If they were smart, they'd realize they look really stupid."

--Jerry Kelly, on the USGA officials who set up Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open

"It doesn't suck."

--Phil Mickelson, on contending at the Masters without Woods in the mix

Dollar Dandies

The top 10 money winners on Tour without a victory in 2004.

View this article in the original magazine

 

Driving Distance

GAINERS

'04 AVG.

YARDS GAINED

LOSERS

'04 AVG.

YARDS LOST

Matt Kuchar

287.3

12.0

Phil Mickelson

295.4

10.6

Geoff Ogilvy

303.3

11.5

Bob Tway

278.2

10.6

Chris Smith

304.0

10.8

K.J. Choi

285.0

9.7

Driving Accuracy

'04 FAIRWAYS HIT

% GAINED

'04 FAIRWAYS HIT

% LOST

Phil Mickelson

62.9%

13.9%

David Gossett

54.4%

13.7%

Tom Pernice

68.2%

7.0%

John Reigger

61.4%

10.7%

Scott Verplank

77.1%

4.9%

Brenden Pappas

50.1%

9.6%

Greens in Regulation

'04 GREENS HIT

% GAINED

'04 GREENS HIT

% LOST

Mark Wilson

68.9%

5.2%

David Gossett

54.7%

13.7%

Phil Mickelson

69.5%

4.7%

Dan Forsman

63.1%

8.8%

Sergio García

70.8%

4.7%

Mike Heinen

62.8%

7.1%

Putts per GIR

'04 AVG.

AVG. GAIN

'04 AVG.

AVG. LOSS

John Daly

1.736

.049

John Huston

1.804

.091

Paul Azinger

1.745

.043

Dicky Pride

1.842

.087

Steve Stricker

1.754

.038

David Frost

1.802

.073

Birdies per Round

'04 BIRDIES AVG.

AVG. GAIN

'04 BIRDIES

AVG. LOSS

Paul Azinger

3.73

0.57

David Gossett

2.40

1.34

John Daly

3.99

0.45

Dicky Pride

2.83

0.85

Pat Perez

3.80

0.42

Peter Lonard

2.77

0.77

Scoring Average

'04 AVG.

AVG. GAIN

'04 AVG.

AVG. LOSS

John Daly

70.82

1.57

David Gossett

75.01

3.86

Phil Mickelson

69.16

1.09

Dicky Pride

72.91

2.16

José Coceres

70.98

1.09

Dan Forsman

71.83

1.48

Earnings

'04 $

$ GAINED

'04 $

$ LOST

Phil Mickelson

$5,784,823

$4,161,686

Davis Love III

$3,075,092

$3,006,804

Vijay Singh

$10,905,166

$3,331,259

Kenny Perry

$1,952,043

$2,448,079

Stewart Cink

$4,450,279

$2,668,385

Mike Weir

$2,761,536

$2,157,374

Sal Johnson

Worst Loss

The Ryder Cup? Nope, the 2005 Presidents Cup will be even more one-sided. The International team will have Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Mike Weir, and enough Aussies to stoke a giant barbie. Memo to U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus: If the Internationals offer to settle for a tie again, take it!

(Nearly) Man of the Year

In 2001 Ernie Els (above) finished second in three majors. In '04 he nearly did it again. Els was second at the Masters and the British Open, contended at the U.S. Open before tanking on Sunday and missed the PGA playoff by a shot. After the Masters he revealed how he dealt with the disappointment: "After the seventh beer I felt better."

Rookie of the Year

The award could go to Todd Hamilton, since he won the Honda Classic and the British Open, but c'mon, the guy's 39 and had played in Asia for more than a decade. Or we could name Zach Johnson, who won the BellSouth Classic and played well enough all year to finish among the top 30 on the money list and get into the Tour Championship, but he's 28 and was the leading money winner a year ago on the Nationwide tour, which doesn't exactly make him wet behind the ears. The real rookie of the year is Whistling Straits, the Pebble Beach of the Midwest, which looked better than Angelina Jolie in fishnets when it debuted to rave reviews at the PGA. The sun, the wind, the fescue, Lake Michigan combined to give the PGA the look of a British Open. The USGA is already on board for the 2007 U.S. Senior Open, and the PGA of America probably will be back with a Ryder Cup.

COLOR PHOTOAL MESSERSCHMIDT/WIREIMAGE.COM (ALLAN)COLOR PHOTOBOB GEVINSKI/WIREIMAGE.COM (SINGH)COLOR PHOTODAVID ADAME/AP (PARRY)COLOR PHOTOCORBIS (BEER)TWO COLOR PHOTOSROBERT BECK (DUVAL, FUNK)COLOR PHOTOSCOTT HALLERAN/GETTY IMAGES (ELS)