Highlights: 2016 in pictures
TIMING IS EVERYTHING…
A month after the men’s mess of a US Open the USGA were at it again at the women’s version. Anna Nordqvist’s club barely touched the sand at the second extra hole of a play-off with Brittany Lang but wasn’t told about a two-shot penalty, after footage had been reviewed, until she had played her approach to the final green.
Lang then played safe, made par and won the game’s biggest prize. “It wasn’t any reason to question it but I’m disappointed by the timing. It certainly changed her game plan,” Nordqvist said. “But, hopefully we can all learn and hopefully we can all get better.”
A WALK IN THE OLYMPIC PARK FOR INBEE
Inbee Park’s preparations for Rio couldn’t have been much worse. A thumb injury meant missed cuts and gave ammunition to those in her home country, South Korea, who thought she should step aside. Then she became the first gold medal winner in 116 years, three of her rounds were 66s and world No 1 Lydia Ko was five shots back.
At the start of the year Ariya Jutanugarn was 63rd in the world, she is now up to second. Just turned 21 the youngster became the first player in LPGA history to win her first three titles in consecutive fashion. She then won the Women’s British Open by three shots at Woburn – and she doesn’t even use a driver!
On the LPGA Tour this season there have only been two wins by Americans – which is bizarrely the same number as the Ladies European Tour. Beth Allen, a Californian who lives in Scotland, is poised to land the Order of Merit after a sizzling 2016 which has seen her win in France and Abu Dhabi – and her caddy, Sophie Gustafson, could play a bit too
Here’s the juiciest of threeballs in 2016 – Suzann Pettersen, who claimed a hole when her opponent thought she had been conceded the hole at the Solheim Cup. Add in that opponent in Alison Lee, who was reduced to tears in Germany, and, to top things off, complete the threeball with the incident’s biggest critic, Dame Laura Davies
REID VS JAPAN
This was very nearly the win of the year at the International Crown event in Chicago. Mel Reid had to face the might of Japanese duo Mika Miyazato and Haru Nomura on her own after Charley Hull fell ill overnight with asthma symptoms and a fever. Reid gave it a go and only lost at the last hole. The United States won the overall competition.
DOUBLE DUTCH DISASTER
Netherlands pair Anne Van Dam and Christel Boeljon made the list of 60 golfers eligible for the Olympics but their country’s qualifying criteria stated that they had to be in the world’s top 100 to get on the plane to Rio. So they didn’t send any women to Brazil. Two months later Van Dam, 21, won on the LET in China.
“What can I do? Not much. Since I missed Rio, that’s the number one thing: on top of my bed, it says ‘Tokyo 2020’ (on a poster).”