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Our Standout Golf Memories from 2021

Last year's golf calendar was decimated by, well, 'you-know-what', so golf fans everywhere hoped for a more positive 2021 and the return of top-quality golf to our TVs.

In many ways, the past 12 months lived up to those hopes and expectations and brought us some truly amazing golf stories. With that in mind, as we get ready to welcome 2022, let's reminisce a little with our collection of standout golf memories from 2021.

Tiger's career-threatening crash

February of this year brought us the terrible news that fifteen-time major winner - and many golf fans' GOAT - Tiger Woods had been involved in a severe car crash which he was lucky to survive.

After months of rehab, he sent the golf world into a spin as he made a return of sorts at this month's PNC Championship, although his slight limp served as a reminder that there remains a hard road ahead if he's to have a chance of playing competitive golf once again.

Indeed, he has poured cold water on the likelihood of any full-time return to the PGA Tour - but it was great to see the Big Cat back hitting golf balls.

It could be a bridge too far to expect Tiger to get back to mixing it with the world's best, but many of us have foolishly written him off in the past. We're just thankful he's still here and able to play golf with his son.

Hideki's Green Jacket

Hideki Matsuyama's accomplishment in becoming the first Japanese major champion in the men's game, and only the second Asian after Y.E. Yang was a perfect way to start off the 2021 major championship season.

Of course, it's every golfer's dream to win at Augusta, and while Hideki isn't known for being one of the most emotional guys on Tour, he was overcome as he walked off the 18th green.

Another moment on the 18th which captured the hearts of golf fans everywhere was Matsuyama's caddie Shota Hayafuji respectfully bowing to the course after returning the pin.

Mickelson becomes oldest major champion

In one of the most unbelievable stories of the year, Phil Mickelson defied the odds at the PGA Championship when he smashed the record for the oldest major champion in the history of the game.

At the age of 50 years and 11 months, 'Lefty' hit his characteristic bombs at every opportunity and managed to hold his game together throughout the four days to finish two shots ahead of Louis Oosthuizen and Brooks Koepka.

Rahm's maiden major win

It was always only a matter of time before Jon Rahm tucked away his first major championship win, and it duly arrived at this year's US Open at Torrey Pines.

After posting an impressive final round 67 (-4), 'Rahmbo' was greeted just off the 18th green by his wife Kelley Cahill and their newborn son, Kepa.

South African Louis Oosthuizen then failed to hole out from 69 yards in a final 'do-or-die' attempt to force a playoff, and the new father was suddenly a major champion... on Father's Day!

Morikawa wins at Royal St George's

The 2020 Open Championship had been due to take place at Royal St George's, however, when the global pandemic scuppered those plans, the R&A shifted the 149th Open to 2021.

It turned out to be a great decision as they were duly rewarded with a wonderful spectacle of golf played in glorious summer conditions with large galleries of fans to cheer every shot.

Collin Morikawa posted four rounds in the 60s and never put a foot wrong before eventually finishing two shots clear of a resurgent Jordan Spieth.

The famous Claret Jug will now sit alongside Morikawa's 2020 Wanamaker Trophy as the young American starts to make a real name for himself in major championship golf.

Europe's Solheim triumph

The European Solheim Cup team's performance in September of this year was nothing short of spectacular. Captained by the oustanding Catriona Matthew, the team went to Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio and put in a performance full of guts, determination and technical excellence.

A special mention goes to one Ireland's Leona Maguire who set a new record for a rookie - securing 4.5 points from her five appearances.

USA destroy Europe at Whistling Straits

At the 43rd Ryder Cup, things took a rather more disappointing turn for the European side.

Team USA were the strong favourites heading into Friday's opening foursomes, but few golf fans expected things to get just as ugly as they did for the boys in blue. No doubt missing the usual fervent away support due to COVID restrictions, Padraig Harrington's side looked well off the pace from pretty early on and rarely did they threaten to mount a comeback.

Things will likely be different when the 2023 Ryder Cup tournament arrives in Rome - but, until then, this will sting for every European.  

Bryson & Brooks STILL bickering

One of the more tiresome memories of 2021 was the on-off beef between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka.

It was the feud that wouldn't go away at the beginning of the year; then it died down a little at the Ryder Cup. Soon, though, it was all stoked up again just in time to sell 'The Match' - their head-to-head grudge match - to the paying golf public.

Whether it's real or fake, an unavoidable takeaway from 2021 is that neither man added to his major championship haul.

Charlie Woods steals the show at the PNC

When it was announced that Tiger Woods would make an appearance at the PNC Championship, golf fans made it their business to tune in on every corner of the globe.

In fact, more NBC viewers tuned into the PNC than those who watched the Open Championship back in July.

It was Tiger's 12-year-old son Charlie who would go on to steal the show though. His eye-popping level of play was a sight to behold as the duo carded 11 straight birdies on their way to finishing in solo second.

The young man was never content to remain in his old dad's shadow, and we expect we'll hear the name Charlie Woods for many years to come.

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