Six months down in 2013, six months left to go, which makes it a perfect time to hand out some mid-season awards. So Back9Network rounded up a clever trio of writers and asked them to do the honors.
We tossed out a few categories to include, but otherwise allowed the scribes to conjure up awards they were aching to give out. And of course, they let their voices be heard about the others’ selections.
Ultimately, nine categories were settled on, with each writer choosing a victor for three, and the other two offering comments from the peanut gallery. Below is their banter:
Adam Fonseca: The biggest surprise for me this year is the number of first-time winners on the PGA Tour in 2013. To date, there have been TEN victory virgins this season (which, coincidentally, would make a kick-ass name for a Punk band). I don’t think there has been anything similar to that statistic in the history of the PGA Tour.
Jon Ackerman: There’s a reason you write about golf and not punk bands.
Jason Devaney: Let’s start the XGA Tour (think XFL) and post a punk band on every tee.
AF: Without a doubt the biggest disappointment has been Rory McIlroy. Nike’s newest overpaid athlete hasn’t paid off up to this point, having missed three tournament cuts and broken two shiny new Nike clubs. I’m not convinced that his off-course escapades have nothing to do with his struggles, and his relationship with Caroline “Yoko Ono” Wozniacki is something to keep an eye on.
JA: I agree, though we could argue that Rory could be the man for Biggest Surprise too.
JD: Rory’s already trailing 30-love.
AF: While there have been numerous memorable moments so far in 2013, my favorite was watching Inbee Park win her third consecutive major at the U.S. Women’s Open. Justin Rose’s heartfelt shout-out to his late father at Merion is a close second, of course.
JD: Are we forgetting about Shawn Stefani’s hilarious and entertaining post-hole-in-one celebration at the U.S. Open?
JA: I respect your nod to the sentimental moments so far this season, but for unexpected moments, James Hahn’s Gangnam Style dance at TPC Scottsdale can’t be topped.
(Editor’s Note: How the heck do you all leave out Adam Scott’s win at The Masters!??)
MOST LIKELY TO FIRE THEIR CADDIE
JD: We already saw Jessica Korda do this the other day, and Bubba Watson almost did it a few weeks ago. So who’s next? My guess is Rory McIlroy. As Adam said, he’s been a disappointment this year. Is it the Nike clubs he’s swinging? Perhaps. But after a while a player like him will eventually point fingers at his bag man. Although Rory did defend his caddie, JP Fitzgerald, from criticism last summer …
AF: Rory’s looper is definitely on the hot seat. It may have been a good idea for him to hide in the smokescreen during Rory’s Nike gala in Abu Dhabi.
JA: Rory may have defended his caddie last year, but we can all agree a lot is different this year.
BEST AMATEUR TO PLAY ON THE PGA TOUR
JD: This is a tough one. I’m going with 14-year-old Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old who made the cut at the Masters. He finished the tournament 58th and was the low amateur. Dude knows how to play golf. And, now that he’s been penalized for slow play (at the Masters), he knows the rules of golf. Watch for this kid to win a green jacket someday.
AF: Guan is a great pick. Definitely leading the “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” conversation.
JA: What’s better as an amateur: Making the cut at the Masters, or actually being in contention at the U.S. Open? I’d take the latter and Michael Kim.
JD: I’ll go with Ian Poulter. He’s got some pretty bold (and bright) colors happening every week, but somehow he makes it all work. His fashion sense is a bit too heavy on the pastels for me but I respect his ability to pull it off. As a sidenote, my favorite golf shirt style are the ones Arnold Palmer wears — the ones with the low buttons. Classic look.
AF: I’m fairly certain Poulter shot, killed, and wore a duck on his head one time. Or perhaps that was just his hair?
JA: If I were you, I’d model my golf gear after Poulter and not Palmer. Just sayin’.
JA: Ben Crane. On a few occasions he’s taken to social media to find a caddy for the pro-am events in which he partakes. Great way to interact with fans, make a kid’s day, or even donate to charity. And when Crane’s not seeking out someone for his bag, he’s great with corny jokes, making fun of himself, or quoting Ace Ventura.
Excuse me, Flo? Uh, what is the Soup Du Jour? It’s the Soup of the Day. Mmmm… That sounds good. I’ll have that.
— Ben Crane (@bencranegolf) June 9, 2013
I’m auctioning off a bunch of swag & opportunity to caddie for me at the Traveler’s Championship ProAm (6/19) next wk http://t.co/km3WrTiBH6
— Ben Crane (@bencranegolf) June 13, 2013
Once I saw a ProV1 on @eBay that was signed by me. It was selling for $2. New ProV1’s cost $4. Lesson: Don’t let me sign your valuables
— Ben Crane (@bencranegolf) June 13, 2013
— Ben Crane (@bencranegolf) June 23, 2013
JD: Ben Crane sounds exactly like me! I am the king of corny jokes – just ask my fiance. I’m surprised she hasn’t dumped me yet.
AF: Yeah, Crane definitely has a strong grasp on how to use social media the right way. Unlike his fellow Golf Boy band member, Bubba Watson, who resorts to throwing Bible passages at anyone within eye-shot. Not that that’s a bad thing.
BEST GOLF COMMERCIAL
JA: There have been some good ones, especially featuring Tiger Woods. There’s the “While we’re young” ad for the USGA; the Nike Covert one; and the classic “No cup is safe” spot with Tiger and Rory McIlroy. Like the USGA, MasterCard has released a series of humorous bits as well. And Padraig Harrington’s work for the European Tour was great – he repeatedly nails the range picker. But the winner has to be Rory and the European Tour, where he battles a robot with shots into washing machines. Rory’s play may be disappointing this year, but his commercials aren’t.
Nike’s “No Cup Is Safe” with Tiger and Rory
USGA’s “While We’re Young” with Tiger
Mastercard’s “Feeling Like A Pro… Priceless”
Nike and Dick’s “VRS Covert” with Tiger
European Tour’s “See Every Shot Imaginable” with Padraig Harrington
European Tour’s “Rory vs. J.E.F.F.” with Rory McIlroy
JD: I’m tired of Rory. My favorite is the Paddy Harrington spot. And I used to be on the receiving end of those shots back in my days as a range pickah.
AF: I definitely prefer the Rory vs. Washing Machine commercial as well. Figures that it was an ad for the Euro Tour and not Nike.
MOST LIKELY TO CHALLENGE INBEE PARK
JA: So Yeon Ryu. The world No. 5 won the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open before she even joined the LPGA Tour, which she did last year, winning an event in August prior to taking the tour’s Rookie of the Year honors. Ryu twice has placed in the top three at a major this year and she was edged by Park in a playoff at the event immediately preceding the U.S. Open. So her game is at least close to the level of Park’s, and they’re friends, so Ryu isn’t intimidated.
JD: So Yeon Ryu? Who? I really don’t know who these people are. It’s time I started perusing the LPGA website.
AF: I honestly don’t think there is any female golfer who could come close to challenging Inbee. Sh’s playing at a whole different level than the rest of us mere mortals.
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