SI senior writerGary Van Sickle has covered more than 225 golf tournaments during his 11 yearsat the magazine. Here are his five favorites from 2007.
5 U.S. OpenBecause I live in Pittsburgh, I slept in my own bed, had a 30-minute commuteand, in an upset, didn't have to battle the traffic backups on the main road toOakmont Country Club. The Open had a dramatic finish, and some Oakmont membersare still chuckling about the fierce rough and the pros' big numbers.
4 EDS Byron NelsonChampionship Until the end, not much went right for the Nelson. Lord Byron haddied the year before, the tournament was moved to an unattractive date in lateApril, and the greens at TPC Four Seasons Resort were brown and bumpy. But theevent 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 OpenPardon my sacrilege, but Whistling Straits, perched on bluffs above LakeMichigan, might be a better course than Pebble Beach. Watching Tom Watson thinkhis way around the Straits was as good as it gets.
December 10, 2007
2 British OpenThere was nonstop drama at Carnoustie, beginning with Tiger Woods sending hisopening tee shot of the second round way out-of-bounds--with a four-iron! I gotmy 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 amazing10-birdie round by Andres Romero and the 18th-hole flameouts by Sergio Garcíaand Padraig Harrington. Harrington is as nice as anybody on any tour, soeveryone was happy to see him win his first major in a playoff. And I have tosmile anytime Sergio goes into crybaby mode.
1 Windon MemorialNorthwestern hosted this college event at Lake Shore Country Club. I watched myson, Mike, who's a junior at Marquette, birdie six of the last eight holes fora closing 30 that lifted him into a tie for first. No nine holes meant more ormade me happier in 2007.
It's tough to accept. We're out here working our buttsoff to get a spot in that tournament, and it's handed to her.
-- BRITTANY LINCICOME, ON MICHELLE WIE BEING GIVEN ASPONSOR'S EXEMPTION TO THE SAMSUNG WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP