A performance of the highest quality at last week's 149th Open Championship led to the young debutant Collin Morikawa being crowned as the 2021 Champion Golfer of the Year.
Now that the final major of 2021 is firmly in the books, we've been reminiscing over some of the standout memories from this past major season. From the sublime to the ridiculous, there's been something for every golf fan.
Collin Morikawa wins 2021's final major
What a spectacle last Sunday was as American Collin Morikawa hoisted one of golf's most coveted prizes on Sunday after putting together a memorable final round to finish two shots clear of Jordan Spieth at Royal St George's.
Come Sunday, it seemed to be a shootout between Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and Louis Oosthuizen, and it was the 2020 PGA Champion who stayed strong throughout his back nine and captured his second major title in fine style.
Though he flew under the radar a little in the lead up to the 149th Open Championship, the new world number three will be right at the forefront of everyone's mind for further major glory in 2022.
Matsuyama's Masters & Shota's bow
Talking of 'under the radar' wins, few of us saw Hideki Matsuyama's Masters victory in April coming.
Early on in his career, the Japanese superstar had been widely tipped to become the second Asian male golfer to win a major championship. However, a few years of patchy form meant the former world number 2 plummeted as low as number 25 in the Official World Golf Rankings when he teed it up at The Masters.
It came as a bit of a shock when Matsuyama put on what can only be described as a masterclass at Augusta National and held off a spirited challenge from rookie Will Zalatoris to don the Green Jacket.
One of our abiding memories from the four days’ play was the respectful bow by Matsuyama’s caddie, Shota Hayafuji. It drew emotional acclaim from all corners of the golfing world and embodied everything we love and strive for in the game.
A true class act!
Rahm roars at Torrey Pines
For a golfer with such breathtaking talents and ferocious competitive spirit, it was simply a matter of time before Jon Rahm got over the line in a major championship.
The Spaniard arrived at the US Open just a few weeks after a strong performance at the PGA Championship and then subsequently dominating at the Memorial Tournament before being forced to withdraw due to a positive Covid test.
The game was obviously in good shape, and after he stalked the leaders through the first three days at Torrey Pines, a final round 67 was enough to bag Rahm his maiden major title.
It was possibly one of the more predictable major championship wins of 2021. We even managed to call his win in our pre-tournament picks. 😜
Mickelson rolls back the years at Kiawah
Perhaps one of the most eye-popping results of the 2021 major golf season was Phil Mickelson rolling back the years at the PGA Championship and capturing a seventh major golf championship. It was an awesome achievement for a golfer now into his 50s and we all enjoyed watching ‘Lefty’ do what he loves to do best. Hit BOMBS! 💣
Golf fans always talk in gushing terms about the great Jack Nicklaus' Masters victory in 1986 when he was 46 years of age. Mickelson's victory was an equally impressive feat by one of the most likeable characters in the game, and we expect it will live long in the memory.
It certainly will at Hole19 HQ!
McIlroy's major struggles continue
Another year passes with probably more questions than answers for Rory McIlroy as he seeks to add to his haul of four major championships.
McIlroy’s victory at the Wells Fargo Championship in May suggested his game was in great shape, but his solitary top ten finish came at Torrey Pines in June. The Northern Irishman was way off the pace at both The Open and the PGA Championship and by that stage had already failed to make the cut at Augusta National in April.
He's seen by many as the best golfer on the planet when he's on his game, and it feels like McIlroy has easily a few more major championships to come over the next decade or so.
Let's go Rory!!
Brooks vs Bryson feud rekindled after 'that' video
In the preamble before beginning our list of standout memories, we referenced ‘the ridiculous’ and, finally, we’ve arrived at that very destination.
We were all aware that needle existed between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, but at the 2021 PGA Championship their 'feud' went stratospheric after a simple video - which was never supposed to see the light of day - blew apart any question of their uneasy truce holding.
While the Golf Channel was interviewing Brooks after his second round, Bryson and his caddie walked by. Bryson said something inaudible to his caddie, and Brooks, quite obviously irritated, gave a massive eye-roll and seemingly lost his train of thought.
There seems to be no let-up in the tit-for-tat squabbling between the pair - it even reared its head at The Open - but while they have been busily embroiled in one-upmanship, neither man added to their major haul in 2021.
Augusta in April is everything to golf fans
Now, don't get us wrong on this one, we loved watching the November Masters last year; it was a truly unique experience and, without doubt, better than the prospect of no Masters at all.
It's just that, while we loved the autumnal colours and DJ’s dazzling display, the Masters simply belongs in the springtime. Here's hoping there's never a need to shift the date again.
The only downside is the 9-month wait we all now need to endure before major golf starts again.