golfer, n.
/golf, gawlf/; Brit. also /gof/, n.
1. a game in which clubs with wooden or metal heads are used to hit a small, white ball into a number of holes, usually 9 or 18, in succession, situated at various distances over a course having natural or artificial obstacles, the object being to get the ball into each hole in as few strokes as possible.
2. a word used in communications to represent the letter G.
3. to play golf.
[1425-75; late ME; of uncert. orig.]

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Game in which a player using special clubs attempts to sink a small ball with as few strokes as possible into each of the 9 or 18 successive holes on an outdoor course.

A hole includes (1) a teeing area, a clearing from which the ball is initially driven toward the actual hole, or cup; (2) a fairway, a long, closely mowed, and often angled lane; (3) a putting green, a smooth grassy area containing the hole; and (4) often one or more natural or artificial hazards (such as bunkers). Each hole has associated with it a par, or score standard, usually from par 3 to par 5. The origins of the game are difficult to ascertain, although evidence now suggests that early forms of golf were played in the Netherlands first and then in Scotland. Golf developed in Scotland
the courses were originally fields of grass that sheep had clipped short in their characteristic grazing style. Golf balls were originally made of wood; wood was replaced in the 17th century by boiled feathers stuffed in a leather cover, in the 19th century by gutta-percha, and in the 20th century by hard rubber. Clubs, limited in number to 14, are known by the traditional names of "irons" (primarily for mid-range to short shots) and "woods" (primarily for longer shots); today irons are more likely made of stainless steel, and the heads of woods are usually made of metal such as steel or titanium.

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▪ 2009

      The introduction of drug testing was one big change for golf during 2008, and another came when the world's number-one-ranked player, Eldrick (“Tiger”) Woods, was out of action for the last six months of the season following a knee operation. Between August 2007 and March 2008, the remarkable Woods had won eight out of nine events and was runner-up in the other. After another second-place finish in the Masters Tournament at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club in April 2008, however, the 32-year-old American underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

      His one-tournament comeback in June was a truly memorable reappearance. In the U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines South golf course in San Diego (where he had triumphed in the last four stagings of the Buick Invitational), Woods, clearly in serious pain after many of his shots, holed a 4-m (13-ft) putt on the final green to tie 45-year-old Rocco Mediate of the U.S. with a one-under-par total of 283. Woods then birdied the same par-five hole again to stay alive in the 18-hole play-off the following day and won with a par at the first extra hole of sudden death. That gave him his 14th major title, only 4 short of fellow American Jack Nicklaus's record, but three days later it was announced that Woods would be undergoing reconstructive surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament and that he had played the tournament with a double stress fracture in his left leg. It made his victory—achieved after a 91-hole marathon—all the more staggering.

      The first “Tiger-less” majors in more than a decade were the British Open at Royal Birkdale in Southport, Eng., and the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) championship at Oakland Hills in Bloomfield, Mich. His absence created an opportunity for someone to seize the spotlight, and the player to do it was Ireland's Padraig Harrington.

      Harrington won his first major at the 2007 British Open, but his defense in 2008 was in doubt because of a wrist injury. Nevertheless, a brilliant back-nine 32 on the final day—highlighted by a five-wood approach to the long 17th hole, which finished little more than a metre from the flag and led to an eagle three—swept him to a four-stroke victory over England's Ian Poulter with a three-over-par total of 283. He thus became the first European to retain the title since Britain's James Braid in 1906. The week was also memorable for the performance of 1986 and 1993 champion Greg Norman of Australia, who, less than a month after his marriage to former American tennis star Chris Evert, came out of semiretirement to hold the lead with one round to go. The 53-year-old Norman had the chance to become easily the oldest-ever winner of a major, but his closing round 77 dropped him into a tie for third place.

      The PGA championship was only three weeks later, and Harrington, six behind at the halfway point, stormed to another victory with two brilliant closing rounds of 66. He beat Spain's Sergio Garcia and American Ben Curtis by two strokes, with the three-under-par aggregate of 277, and became the first European to win the event since Scotland's Tommy Armour in 1930.

      Although Harrington was the winner of three of golf's last six majors, he finished fifth in the Masters in April, where the star of the show was South Africa's Trevor Immelman. Less than four months after he had undergone surgery to remove a benign tumour on his diaphragm, Immelman held at least a share of the lead after each round and could afford a closing 75, which matched the highest last round by a champion in the event's history. With an eight-under total of 280, he finished three clear of Woods. It was a first major title for the 28-year-old Immelman, the first South African to win at Augusta since Gary Player in 1978, and he did it in the week when Player set a record of 51 appearances in the tournament.

      Without Woods, the United States was underdog for the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., but Europe under the captaincy of Nick Faldo failed to achieve an unprecedented fourth successive European victory. Harrington, Garcia, and England's Lee Westwood (three players of whom the most was expected) did not manage one win between them, whereas the six American newcomers, three of them chosen by captain Paul Azinger, all played their part in a stunning 161/2–111/2 success.

      The PGA Tour again culminated in the FedEx Cup play-offs. Fiji's Vijay Singh won the first two events, and Colombian Camilo Villegas took the second two, but it was Singh who claimed the $10 million bonus; the 45-year-old also finished as leading money winner on the circuit, with $6,601,094. On the European Tour, Robert Karlsson became the first Swede to claim the Order of Merit, with £2,171,087 (about $3,425,000), and then combined with Henrik Stenson to win the World Cup at Mission Hills, China.

      After three Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) wins in her first eight events of the year, Sweden's Annika Sörenstam appeared to be mounting a challenge to women's world number one Lorena Ochoa of Mexico. In May, however, the 37-year-old Sörenstam announced that she was retiring from competitive golf at the end of the season.

      Sörenstam hoped that she might bow out with an 11th major title, but it was not to be. The nearest she came was joint second place in the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., five strokes behind Ochoa. It was the Mexican's second successive major win and came in the middle of a run of six victories in seven tournaments. The other three women's majors were all won by Asian players. The McDonald's LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace, Md., saw Yani Tseng beat Maria Hjorth of Sweden at the fourth play-off hole to become Taiwan's first major champion. Nineteen-year-old Park Inbee of South Korea beat yet another Swede, Helen Alfredsson, by four strokes in the U.S. Women's Open at Interlachen in Edina, Minn., and at the Ricoh Women's British Open at Sunningdale Old, Berkshire, Eng., her compatriot Shin Ji Yai defeated Tseng by three. Ochoa topped the LPGA Tour money list for the third straight season, with earnings of $2,763,193.

      The LPGA Tour, with 121 non-Americans (including 45 South Koreans) in its ranks, caused a huge furor when it announced its intention to introduce a rule whereby anyone not reaching a certain standard of English could face suspension. In what was believed to be the first such move by a sports governing body, Deputy Commissioner Libba Galloway said, “For an athlete to be successful in the sports entertainment world we live in they need to be great performers on and off the course. Being able to communicate effectively with sponsors and fans is a big part of this.” Under increasing criticism, claims of discrimination, and possible legal action, the LPGA Tour backed off from its proposed ban, and non-English-speaking players would continue to be offered tutors and translators.

      In the amateur game, 18-year-old New Zealander Danny Lee eclipsed Woods as the youngest-ever winner of the men's U.S. Amateur, and Reinier Saxton of The Netherlands became British Amateur champion. Another Swede, Anna Nordqvist, won the Ladies British Amateur, and American Amanda Blumenherst took the U.S. version. In the men's and women's world team championships, held in Adelaide, Australia, in October, the victories went to Scotland and Sweden, respectively. The United States retained the Curtis Cup with a 13–7 triumph over Britain and Ireland's top women players at St. Andrews, Scot.

      As well as implementing a drug-testing program in 2008, golf's governing bodies came together under the umbrella of the International Golf Federation to formulate a strategy that they hoped would result in the sport's inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games. Golf had not been part of the Games since 1904. Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, who retired from competition in 2007 at the age of 50, was admitted to a Madrid hospital in October and after the discovery of a brain tumour needed four major operations.

Mark Garrod

▪ 2008

      The four major men's golf championships in 2007 produced four different winners. For three men—American Zach Johnson, Argentina's Ángel Cabrera, and Irishman Padraig Harrington (Harrington, Padraig )—it was a first major success, but for Eldrick (“Tiger”) Woods it was victory number 13, placing him just five short of the record set by fellow American Jack Nicklaus.

      In the Masters Tournament at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club in April, Johnson's one-over-par 289 matched the highest winning total in the history of an event that dated back to 1934. On a course that had been stretched in 2006 to a massive 7,445 yd—the second longest ever for a major—the 31-year-old Iowan (ranked 56th in the world) was not expected to do well. Among the 60 players who made the halfway cut, Johnson ranked 57th in driving distance. He did not attempt to reach the green in two strokes at any of the four par-five holes, but during the week he made 11 birdies and 5 pars on them. He played the other 14 holes in 12 over. With birdies on the 13th, 14th, and 16th holes on the final day, he could even afford a bogey on 17 to finish two strokes ahead of Woods and South Africans Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini. It was the first time since the ranking system was introduced in 1986 that a player from outside the top 50 had captured the title.

      More high scoring came as no surprise at the U.S. Open, held in June at the famously difficult Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club. The winning aggregate was 285, five over par, and victory went to Cabrera, the only player able to produce two below-par rounds. Cabrera, trying to become the first South American major winner since his Argentine compatriot Roberto de Vicenzo in 1967, charged from joint seventh place at the start of the final round into a three-stroke advantage with three holes to play. Cabrera's bogeys at the 16th and 17th holes and a par on 18 for a final-round 69 gave hope to Jim Furyk and Woods. Furyk, however, also bogeyed the 17th while tied for the lead, and Woods, one stroke behind, could not catch up either.

      A month later the world's best were gathered again for the British Open at Carnoustie, Scot. Andres Romero had the chance to give Argentina a second successive major win, but after a remarkable 10 birdies he went out of bounds on the 17th hole and finished with a double bogey and a bogey. Harrington led as a result, but on the 18th he twice went into the stream known as the Barry Burn, and his double-bogey six handed the advantage back to longtime leader Sergio García of Spain. García needed a closing-hole par to win, but his failure to get up and down from a green-side bunker left him tied with Harrington at 277, seven under par. In the four-hole play-off, Harrington opened with a birdie to García's bogey and stayed in front to become the first major winner from the Republic of Ireland.

      A second-round 63, which equaled the lowest ever in majors, gave Woods a lead he never relinquished in the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) championship, held in August at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. Playing in temperatures that exceeded 100 °F (38 °C), with the heat index touching 110, the world number one player was only one stroke ahead of fellow American Woody Austin with four holes to play, but a birdie on the 15th and pars on the remaining three holes took the 31-year-old Woods to an eight-under-par aggregate of 272 and a two-stroke victory. It confirmed Woods as the greatest front-runner the sport had ever seen; he had held at least a share of first place with a round to play in 13 majors and each time went on to win.

      The PGA Tour in the United States, in an attempt to improve the size of television viewing audiences, introduced a late-summer four-tournament play-off series and, with the sponsorship of FedEx, offered a deferred-annuity first prize of $10 million, the highest bonus ever paid in sports. As the top money winner at the time, Woods led the points standings going into the four tournaments. Although he controversially chose to miss the opening event (hardly a ringing endorsement of the Tour's initiative when coupled with American Phil Mickelson's absence from the third leg), Woods then finished second (behind Mickelson), first, and first again to be crowned FedEx Cup champion. Woods won seven titles during the season, including two of the three World Golf Championships, and finished his 2007 PGA Tour campaign with $10,867,052, more than $5 million more than runner-up Mickelson. Woods had 81 worldwide tournament victories to his name—and, when the FedEx Cup bonus was added, total career earnings (on the course) in excess of $100 million. Woods, whose Swedish wife, Elin, gave birth to their first child in June, also helped the United States beat the International team 191/2–141/2 in the Presidents Cup at the Royal Montreal Golf Club.

      In Europe 27-year-old Justin Rose became the youngest winner of the Order of Merit since Ronan Rafferty in 1989, winning the closing Volvo Masters at Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande, Spain, to leap ahead of South African Ernie Els and Harrington with a season-ending total of €2,944,945 (about $4.3 million). In October Els took his record number of victories in the HSBC World Match Play Championship, at the Wentworth Club in Virginia Water, Surrey, Eng., to 7 in 14 years. Harrington also won the Irish Open at Adare Manor in County Limerick, where he became the first Irish winner since John O'Leary in 1982, while Spaniard Pablo Martin created history at the Portuguese Open, becoming the first amateur to win on the European Tour since the tour was launched in 1971.

 The dominant figure in the women's professional game was Mexico's Lorena Ochoa (Ochoa, Lorena ), who took over from Annika Sörenstam as world number one, was the first woman to earn more than $3 million in a season on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour and, with the Women's British Open, captured her first major title. The tournament was also the first women's professional event ever to be staged on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scot. Earlier in the year, 18-year-old American Morgan Pressel became the youngest winner of a women's major with her victory in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, held at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Suzann Pettersen, joint runner-up there, became Norway's first major champion only two months later in the LPGA championship at Bulle Rock, Havre de Grace, Md. When American Cristie Kerr emerged victorious at the U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles in Southern Pines, N.C., there were four new women's major champions. Kerr and Pressel were then part of the American team that retained the Solheim Cup with a 16–12 victory over Europe at Halmstad (Swed.) Golf Club. Sörenstam unexpectedly finished the season without a single win.

      The U.S. captured its second straight men's amateur Walker Cup against Great Britain and Ireland, but as in 2003 and 2005, the winner's margin of victory was only one point. One member of the Walker Cup team, Colt Knost, added the U.S. amateur championship to the Public Links title, a double achieved only once before, by Ryan Moore in 2004. The winner of the British amateur crown was another American, Drew Weaver, two months after he was on campus at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) when fellow student Seung Hui Cho shot dead 32 people and wounded 25 others before killing himself. Weaver, who ran for his life on hearing the gunfire, dedicated his victory to the victims.

      Golf was due to enter a new era in 2008 with the start of drug testing on all of the major tours. Although South African Gary Player had made unsubstantiated claims about players' having used performance-enhancing substances, Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal and Ancient Club (one of golf's two rule-making authorities), said, “The R&A has no reason to believe golf is anything other than a clean sport, but we've been supportive of a coordinated, international effort to test for drugs for quite some time now so we can demonstrate our sport is clean and we can keep it that way.”

Mark Garrod

▪ 2007
 Golf in 2006 was ultimately dominated yet again by Eldrick (“Tiger”) Woods, who captured two more major championships, moved to second place on the all-time list, and remained the clear leader in the official world rankings. Until the dramatic climax to the U.S. Open in June, the year was shaping up to be an historic one for another American, Phil Mickelson.

      Having captured the 2005 Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) championship, Mickelson's success in the Masters at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club in April 2006 put him halfway toward matching the unique feat achieved by Woods in 2001 of holding all four major titles at the same time. Employing an unusual tactic of two drivers in his bag—one for extra distance, one for accuracy—he was brimming with confidence after a 13-stroke victory at the BellSouth Classic, held March 30–April 2 in Duluth, Ga., and on the lengthened Masters course he came from four behind at halfway to win by two strokes over South African Tim Clark, with a seven-under-par aggregate of 281. Mickelson led the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y., with one hole to go, but the left-hander hit a horrid drive, struck a tree with his second shot, put his third shot into a bunker, and recorded a double bogey. Remarkably, Scotland's Colin Montgomerie had also taken six shots just before that, and with both of them dropping to six over par, Australian Geoff Ogilvy's five-over total of 285 gave him his first major title.

      Woods, joint third in the Masters, lost his father to cancer a month later and did not return to competition until the U.S. Open, where two rounds of 76 meant that he missed the halfway cut in a major for the first time as a professional. Starting at the British Open in July, however, Woods proved once again that when he was on his game, the rest—Mickelson included—floundered in his wake. The British championship took place at the Royal Liverpool Club in Hoylake, Eng., for the first time since 1967, and on the bone-hard fairways, Woods had such faith in his approach play that he used his driver only once in 72 holes. Woods's control was a sight to behold, and with an 18-under-par total, he beat fellow American Chris DiMarco by two strokes.

      The win in Hoylake was the first of six successive stroke-play victories for the 30-year-old Woods, and when he captured the PGA championship at the Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, he took his total of majors to 12. This was just six short of the record set by American Jack Nicklaus between 1962 and 1986, although Woods had been a professional for only 10 years. The Medinah win was even more emphatic than that at the British Open. Woods again finished 18 under par (equaling the championship record he jointly held with Bob May), and his closest challenger, 2003 winner Shaun Micheel of the U.S., was five strokes back. With six other PGA Tour victories—two of them part of the World Golf Championships series, in which he had chalked up an amazing 13 wins in 24 starts since its inception in 1999—Woods topped the money list for the seventh time, with $9,941,563. He was so far ahead that, like Mickelson, he did not even play the season-ending Tour championship.

      Unfortunately for Woods, he finished on the losing side at the Ryder Cup for the fourth time in five matches. Ireland staged the contest for the first time at the K Club in Straffan, County Kildare, and Europe not only achieved an unprecedented third successive victory but also repeated its 2004 record margin of 181/2–91/2. Woods recovered from hitting his opening shot into the water and from the bizarre incident when his caddie dropped one of his clubs into another lake to finish as the U.S.'s top scorer, with three points out of five. Mickelson failed to win any of his five games. Sergio García of Spain and England's Lee Westwood shared top billing in terms of points, with four out of five, but for emotion there was nothing to match Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke's three wins out of three. Only six weeks earlier Clarke's 39-year-old wife, Heather, had died from breast cancer.

      Another member of the winning Ryder Cup side, Englishman Paul Casey, finished one of the games with a hole in one just a week after having won golf's biggest first prize of $1.87 million in the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, Eng., but he narrowly lost the European Order of Merit title to Ireland's Pádraig Harrington. García's closing bogey in the Volvo Masters at Valderrama, Spain, moved Harrington into a tie for second place. With £1,667,618 (about $3,139,792), the Irishman grabbed the number one spot by just £23,616 (about $44,464). Casey made up for that disappointment at year's end by being named European Tour Golfer of the Year. The World Cup, held December 7–10 in St. James, Barbados, was won by veteran Bernhard Langer of Germany and his young partner, Marcel Siem.

      In the women's game, three former leading lights were back on centre stage. Neither Australian Karrie Webb nor South Korean Pak Se Ri had won a major tournament since 2002, and American Sherri Steinhauer had waited 14 years for her second success. Webb's seventh major victory, in the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club, Rancho Mirage, Calif., was a thrilling affair. She sank her 106-m (348-ft) pitch shot to the final green, but Lorena Ochoa of Mexico also eagled to force a play-off, which Webb won on the first extra hole. In the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) championship at Bulle Rock, Havre de Grace, Md., in June, Webb tied again, this time with Pak. When they went into sudden death, Pak almost holed her 184-m (603-ft) four-iron approach to grab her fifth major title. It was no surprise that Steinhauer's long-awaited second major came in the Women's British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in Lancashire, Eng. She won there in 1998, but that victory and her successful defense of the title a year later occurred before the event had achieved major status. World number one Annika Sörenstam had, by her own high standards, a quiet season, but the U.S. Women's Open at Newport Country Club in Newport, R.I., saw the Swedish champion achieve her 10th major title. Level with American Pat Hurst after four rounds, Sörenstam comfortably won it by four strokes in an 18-hole play-off.

      Ochoa led the LPGA Tour money list with one week to go, but for the first time it was decided to put a million-dollar prize up for grabs in a final-round shoot-out at the season-ending ADT Championship at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. Although Ochoa lost to Julieta Granada by two strokes, her second-place finish kept her atop the money list with $2,592,872.

      American Michelle Wie, who turned professional amid huge publicity on her 16th birthday in October 2005, had a season of near-misses on the women's circuit, finishing joint third in the Kraft Nabisco and U.S. Women's Open and fifth in the LPGA championship. Many questioned the wisdom of her accepting more invitations to compete in men's events, but she did finish 35th in the SK Telecom Open in Inch'on, S.Kor., and she won a sectional qualifying event for the PGA U.S. Open.

      In amateur golf, American women recorded a fifth successive victory over Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup at Pacific Dunes in Bandon, Ore. At the world amateur team championships in Stellenbosch, S.Af., in October, host South Africa captured the women's title on a card countback after a tie with Sweden, and in the men's event The Netherlands won for the first time. Julien Guerrier gave France its first winner of the British men's amateur championship since 1981, but that was eclipsed by Richie Ramsay's victory at the U.S. amateur. He was the first British winner since 1911 and the first from Scotland since 1898.

      Golf fans mourned the deaths in 2006 of two legendary players, Byron Nelson (Nelson, Byron ), winner of five PGA major titles, and Patty Berg (Berg, Patty ), winner of 15 women's majors and a cofounder of the LPGA. (See Obituaries.)

Mark Garrod

▪ 2006

      Having seen his five-year reign as world number one ended by Fijian Vijay Singh late in the 2004 season, Eldrick (“Tiger”) Woods did not need long in 2005 to reclaim the position and reestablish himself as golf's leading light. In the process the American took two more steps toward Jack Nicklaus's record 18 major championship titles. Woods improved his total to 10 with victories in the Masters at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club and the British Open at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scot., and he accomplished it as Nicklaus made his final appearances in the two events.

      Nicklaus received standing ovations as he brought down the curtain on what was the greatest career in golf's history. There was added emotion in the British Open because his caddie was his son Steve, whose own son Jake had died earlier in the year in a hot-tub accident at age 17 months. The 65-year-old Nicklaus failed in his stated goal of surviving the halfway cut at St. Andrews, but he did bow out with a birdie.

      The two Woods successes were contrasting affairs. At the Masters, which he had won in 1997, 2001, and 2002, Woods trailed Ryder Cup teammate Chris DiMarco by six strokes at halfway before equaling the tournament record of seven successive birdies in a third-round 65, which took him three clear. Although DiMarco faltered with a third-round 74—and Woods had never lost a major when he held the lead after 54 holes—the fourth round turned out to be an unexpectedly thrilling climax. DiMarco appeared to have a chance to draw level on the par-three 16th hole, only for Woods to produce one of the most memorable shots of his career. Long and left off the tee, he chose to play his chip shot up and down the steep slope in the green. In what was perhaps the most dramatic moment of the entire 2005 season, the ball lingered on the edge of the hole before it toppled in accompanied by a huge roar from the crowd. DiMarco missed his putt and was two behind. He was handed a lifeline when Woods bogeyed the final two holes, and, tied at 12 under par, they went into a play-off. DiMarco, who had nearly chipped in for victory on the last hole, faced a similar shot at the first extra hole but missed again, and Woods grabbed the victory for his fourth green jacket with a 4.6-m (15-ft) birdie putt.

      There was no such late excitement in the British Open. Back on the course where he had won in 2000 by eight strokes with a major-championship record of 19 under par, Woods was in a league of his own. An opening-round 66 gave him the lead; he followed with a second-round 67 to surge into the lead by four strokes. Closing scores of 71 and 70 were sufficient to give Woods a five-stroke victory with a 14-under-par score of 274. In front of his home fans, 42-year-old Colin Montgomerie was second, the fourth time he had come up just shy in pursuit of a first major title.

      Woods also figured prominently in the other two major championships of the season, finishing second to New Zealander Michael Campbell in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, N.C., and fourth behind American Phil Mickelson in the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J.

 Campbell's victory was a real surprise. The 36-year-old, who was 80th in the world rankings, would not have entered the tournament had it not been for a qualifying tournament that was held in Europe for the first time. At Pinehurst, with a round to play, he was in joint fourth position. The defending champion, South African Retief Goosen, who was seeking a third win in five years, led by three strokes over little-known American Jason Gore, but both those players collapsed with final rounds of 81 and 84, respectively, while Campbell's fourth-round 69 for a level-par total of 280 gave him a two-stroke triumph over Woods. Campbell became New Zealand's first major golf champion since Bob Charles captured the 1963 British Open; he later added the record £1 million ($1.8 million) first prize in the HSBC World Match Play championship.

      Mickelson had achieved his first major win in the 2004 Masters and had come close in the other three majors of that season, but it was not until the 2005 PGA championship that he put himself in position to win again. Bad weather forced the event into a Monday-morning finish, and Australian Steve Elkington and Denmark's Thomas Bjorn posted three-under-par aggregates of 277. Mickelson chipped from the rough to within one metre (3 ft) of the final hole and sank the birdie putt to win by one stroke. Woods finished at two under par on Sunday evening and unexpectedly flew home to Florida without waiting to see if he might be required for a play-off.

      Woods was quickly back on the winning trail; he again pushed DiMarco into second place at the NEC Invitational at Firestone Country Club, Akron, Ohio, and then beat American John Daly in a play-off for another of the World Golf Championships events, the American Express championship at Harding Park, San Francisco. Remarkably, that made it 11 victories for Woods in the 21 WGC tournaments in which he had played since the series was introduced in 1999. Not surprisingly, he topped the PGA Tour money list for the sixth time; his 2005 earnings of $10,628,024 took his worldwide career total to nearly $70 million, not including endorsement, promotional, and appearance fees. Montgomerie became the European tour's leading money winner for a remarkable eighth time, with earnings of £1,888,613 (about $3.3 million).

      DiMarco had some compensation for his two narrow losses to Woods when he sank the winning putt to give the United States an 181/2–151/2 victory over the International side in the Presidents Cup at the Robert Trent Jones Club, Gainesville, Va.

      One of the hottest stories in women's golf was American Michelle Wie, whose potential was recognized in 2005 when she decided to turn professional on reaching the age of 16. Without having won any significant titles, Wie signed contracts with Nike and Sony for a reported $10 million. As an amateur she gained worldwide fame in 2004 by missing the halfway cut by only one shot in the PGA Tour's Sony Open. She made two more appearances on the men's circuit in 2005 and finished second and third (in a tie with South Korea's Young Kim), respectively, in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) championship at Bulle Rock, Havre de Grace, Md., and the Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport, Eng., two of the women's four major championships. Wie's professional debut came at the world championship at Bighorn Golf Club, Palm Desert, Calif., but after posting a total that would have given her fourth place, she was disqualified when officials ruled that she had taken an incorrect drop away from a bush during the third round.

 Sweden's Annika Sörenstam won that event as well as the Kraft Nabisco championship at Mission Hills Country Club, Rancho Mirage, Calif., and the LPGA championship to bring her number of major titles to nine. The U.S. Women's Open was captured by South Korea's Birdie Kim at Cherry Hills Country Club, Cherry Hills Village, Colo., where amateurs Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang tied for second. Victory in the Women's British Open went to another South Korean, Jang Jeong. The United States regained the Solheim Cup trophy from Europe by a 151/2–121/2 margin at Crooked Stick Golf Club, Carmel, Ind.

      In men's amateur competition, the Walker Cup returned to American hands, but only just. After three successive defeats, the U.S. narrowly beat Britain and Ireland by 121/2–111/2 at the Chicago Golf Club, Wheaton, Ill., despite having lost their number one player, Ryan Moore, to the professional ranks two months after his brilliant 13th-place finish in the 2005 Masters. Moore's successor as U.S. amateur champion was Edoardo Molinari, the first Italian ever to have entered the event. Molinari won at Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa. The British amateur championship was won by Ireland's Brian McElhinney at Royal Birkdale.

Mark Garrod

▪ 2005

      In 2004 the dedication and hard work of Fijian golfer Vijay Singh was fully rewarded. In ending the five-year reign of American Eldrick (“Tiger”) Woods as world number one, the 41-year-old Singh achieved the third major win of his career and established a level of consistency that led to record-breaking results. Singh became only the second player—Woods was the other—since Sam Snead in 1950 to have registered nine or more tournament titles in one season on the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) Tour. Six of them came in his last nine starts, and, not surprisingly, Singh became the first golfer to win more than $10 million in one season. He took that to $10,905,166 at season's end, retaining the money list title by more than $5 million over South Africa's Ernie Els.

      Singh had won his first professional tournament in Malaysia in 1984, but an allegation of changing his scorecard at the 1985 Indonesian Open—he always maintained that there was a misunderstanding—brought a suspension, and he became a club professional in the Borneo rainforest. He qualified for the European tour on the second attempt and after becoming one of its leading lights made the move to the U.S. and was named PGA Rookie of the Year in 1993. His first major title came at the 1998 PGA championship, and two years later he added the Masters tournament.

      It was at the PGA championship that Singh triumphed again during his remarkable 2004 run. He led the final major of the season, which was staged in August at the spectacular Whistling Straits course in Kohler, Wis., by one stroke with a round to play, and despite a four-over-par 76, he qualified for a play-off against Americans Chris DiMarco and Justin Leonard; Leonard had bogeyed two of his last three holes to match their eight-under-par aggregates of 280. Singh then birdied the first of the three play-off holes, and it gave him an advantage he did not let slip. Not since Reginald Whitcombe at the 1938 British Open had someone scored as poorly in the final round of any major and still won.

      In contrast, the Masters at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club in April was distinguished by spectacular scoring in the closing stages. With eagles on the 8th and 13th holes of the final round, Els moved three strokes clear, but American Phil Mickelson completed a thrilling burst of five birdies in the last seven holes with a 5.5-m (18-ft) putt on the 18th to finish with a nine-under-par 279, edging Els by one stroke. The left-handed Mickelson literally jumped for joy; in 46 previous majors he had had 17 top-10 finishes but not one victory.

      With two holes to play in the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., in June, Mickelson was out in front again. His double-bogey five at the short 17th, however, allowed South African Retief Goosen to capture his second victory in the event in four years. The championship was controversial for the increasing difficulty of the greens as the week progressed. In the final round, 28 of the 66-strong field failed to break 80, and no one broke 70. Play even had to be suspended for emergency watering of the seventh green after three of the first four players ran up triple-bogey sixes. The U.S. Golf Association was criticized for having allowed the situation to develop, but remarkably, Goosen had a mere 24 putts in his closing 71 for a total of 276, four under par.

      Els, who was tied for second after three rounds, was among those who scored 80 that day, but the chance to make amends came in the British Open at Scotland's Royal Troon Golf Club in July. A birdie at the penultimate hole left him trailing Todd Hamilton by one, and he had a chance to win after the American bogeyed the last. Els missed his 3-m (10-ft) birdie putt, however, and the four-hole play-off was settled by his bogey on the third hole. Hamilton, age 38, was a PGA Tour rookie who had registered his first tour victory in March in the Honda Classic at the Country Club at Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

      The Ryder Cup was held in September at the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. For the first time since 1981, Europe did not have a major champion in its lineup, but it rose to the occasion, and the Americans were sent to their worst-ever defeat, a crushing 181/2–91/2 margin. Captain Hal Sutton paired Woods and Mickelson, his two highest-ranked players, for the opening fourballs and foursomes, but they lost both games, and the experiment was abandoned. Mickelson, who had controversially changed equipment just before the match, was then dropped, but the Europeans, led superbly by Bernhard Langer of Germany, refused to slacken the grip they had established. Top scorers were Spain's Sergio García and England's Lee Westwood with 41/2 points out of 5, but all 12 players for Europe contributed at least one point. The U.S. had won only 3 of the last 10 Ryder Cup matches.

      Els captured the World Golf Championships-American Express Championship at Mount Juliet in Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ire., and then won a record sixth title in the HSBC World Match Play Championship at the Wentworth Club in Virginia Water, Surrey, Eng. Golf's richest prize of £1 million (£1 = about $1.80) was on offer again there. Els set a new record for money earned in a single season on the European tour, easily keeping his number one spot with a final figure of £2,808,907 and equaling another record on the circuit with a 12-under-par round of 60 at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia to win the Heineken Classic.

      Els won two tournaments on the PGA Tour as well, but the first of those, the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, was better remembered for the performance of 14-year-old Hawaiian Michelle Wie. In May 2003 world number one Annika Sörenstam had become the first woman since 1945 to compete against men in an official event, and while the Swede failed to make the halfway cut by four strokes, Wie missed out by a single shot, beating 49 male players with her rounds of 72 and 68.

      A fourth-place finish in the first of the Ladies Professional Golf Association's (LPGA's) majors, the Kraft Nabisco championship at Rancho Mirage, Calif., in March, underlined Wie's enormous potential, and in the Curtis Cup at Formby (Eng.) Golf Club, she not only became the youngest player to have competed in the match but also helped the U.S. retain the trophy with a 10–8 victory over Great Britain and Ireland's women amateurs. A fortune in the paid ranks seemingly awaited Wie, but for the time being Sörenstam remained the undisputed queen, topping the LPGA Tour for a fourth successive season and seventh in all. She also increased her number of major titles to seven by winning the McDonald's LPGA championship at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del. South Korea's Grace Park won the Nabisco; American Meg Mallon captured the U.S. Open at Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley, Mass.; and England's Karen Stupples took the Women's British Open at Sunningdale, Eng., following a remarkable eagle-albatross start to her final-round 64.

      Highlights of the amateur season included the world team championships at the Rio Mar Country Club in Puerto Rico. Sweden's women won the Espirito Santo Trophy, beating Canada and the U.S. by three strokes, while the U.S. men made it three wins in a row with the Eisenhower Trophy, finishing nine shots clear of Spain in an event reduced to 54 holes because of thunderstorms. American amateur champion Ryan Moore had the low individual score.

      The World Cup was won by England's Luke Donald and Paul Casey at the Real Club de Golf de Sevilla in Seville, Spain. On the same November day, at the Phoenix tournament in Miyazaki, Japan, Woods finally returned to winning ways after nine months, and Sörenstam registered her 10th victory of the season and 56th in all to finish with winnings of $2,544,707.

Mark Garrod

▪ 2004

      With Eldrick (“Tiger”) Woods for once unable to add to his collection of major championship golf titles during 2003, his main rivals had a chance to make their mark, but it was not to be. For the first time since 1969, the four majors—the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) championship—were won by players who had not tasted success in them before, and two majors were captured by complete outsiders. Following knee surgery, however, Woods won five other tournaments to remain unchallenged as world number one throughout yet another season.

      American Ben Curtis began the year ranked 1,269th in the world. By the time he teed off on July 17 in the British Open at Royal St. George's Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, Eng., the 26-year-old PGA Tour rookie was still only 396th and chasing his first top 10 finish in a Tour event. By the end of the tournament, Curtis had achieved one of the biggest upsets in major golf history. Although records were hard to find, it was believed that not since Francis Ouimet at the 1913 U.S. Open had a golfer won the very first major in which he competed. After bursting clear on the final afternoon, Curtis had four bogeys in the last seven holes to finish with a one-under-par aggregate score of 283. Thomas Björn of Denmark stood on the 15th tee three strokes in the lead, but he bogeyed the 15th hole, needed three attempts to get out of a bunker for a double-bogey five at the par-three 16th, and had another bogey on the 17th to finish tied with Fiji's Vijay Singh one stroke behind Curtis.

      England's Mark Roe would remember the tournament for a very different reason. A third-round score of 67 should have left Roe in joint third place, but he and playing partner Jesper Parnevik had forgotten to exchange scorecards on the first tee, and the error was not spotted by officials until it was too late. They both were disqualified for signing incorrect scores.

      Four weeks later 34-year-old Shaun Micheel, playing in only the third major of his career, scored his own upset in the PGA championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. He was ranked 169th in the world, had not won on the PGA Tour, and was best known for having received a 1994 bravery award for diving into a river and rescuing an elderly couple from a sinking car. Playing in the final group with fellow American Chad Campbell and holding a one-shot lead with one hole to play, Micheel hit a stunning 159-m (174-yd) seven-iron shot that settled just short of the hole. The tap-in birdie for a four-under-par 276 gave him a two-stroke triumph.

      The victors of the Masters at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club in April and the U.S. Open at Olympia Fields near Chicago in June were less surprising, but Canadian Mike Weir and American Jim Furyk, respectively, were first-time major winners nonetheless. Weir had won twice on the PGA Tour earlier in the season when he became the first Canadian and second left-hander to win a major (left-handed New Zealander Bob Charles won the 1963 British Open). A brilliant putting display at Augusta enabled Weir to tie American Len Mattiace at a seven-under-par 281; Mattiace, who had shot a spectacular final round of 65, then ran up a double-bogey six at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off.

      The buildup to the tournament had been dominated by controversy. Martha Burk, head of the National Council of Women's Organizations, wrote to Augusta National urging a change to the club's all-male membership, and club chairman Hootie Johnson responded with a public statement: “We will not be bullied, threatened or intimidated. There may well come a day when women will be invited to join our membership, but that timetable will be ours and not at the point of a bayonet.” The row escalated to the point where Augusta National broadcast the tournament without television advertising so that companies associated with the event would not come under pressure. A protest took place during the week of the tournament, but the club maintained its stance.

      The U.S. Open had no such controversy—just record scoring. Furyk and Singh each set a new 36-hole record of 133. Singh equaled the lowest round ever in a major event with his second-round 63. Furyk added a 67 for a 54-hole record of 200, and his final-round 72 earned him a three-stroke victory over Australian Stephen Leaney. Furyk's eight-under-par 272 tied the championship record.

      South Africa's Ernie Els had seven wins around the globe, finishing the year as the leading money winner (€2,975,374 [about $3,500,000]) on the European tour and equaling the record of Gary Player and Severiano Ballesteros with a fifth victory in the HSBC World Match Play Championship at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, Eng. Els, however, lost the world number two position to Singh, whose four PGA Tour titles and $7,611,995 in winnings helped him deny Woods what would have been a record fifth successive money-list crown.

      A player who finished 96th out of 114 in a tournament would not normally be worthy of mention, but there was huge interest when Sweden's Annika Sörenstam agreed to become the first woman to play a PGA Tour event since 1945. Sörenstam, the women's world number one, captured two of the Ladies Professional Golf Association's (LPGA's) four majors during the season, but it was her appearance at the PGA's Bank of America Colonial Classic tournament at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, that captured the imagination of the sporting public. Under the biggest scrutiny of her career (for what she insisted was a one-off appearance in a men's event), Sörenstam held her head high, scoring a one-over-par 71 in the first round before slipping to a second-round 74 and missing the halfway cut by four strokes.

      It set the ball rolling for other appearances by women in previously men-only tournaments. American Suzy Whaley finished 148th out of 156 in the Greater Hartford Open event for which she had qualified; Australian Jan Stephenson played on the U.S. Champions Tour for golfers over age 50 (she tied for last place); teenage Hawaiian amateur Michelle Wie missed the cut on both the PGA Tour's second-string Nationwide Tour and the Canadian circuit; England's Laura Davies competed in the Korean Open (also missing the cut); and Pak Se Ri, the women's world number two, finished a notable 10th in the SBS Super Tournament in her native South Korea.

      The phenomenal Wie was only 13 when she finished ninth in the Kraft Nabisco championship, the first of the women's majors, at Rancho Mirage, Calif., in March. The title went to Patricia Meunier-Lebouc of France one stroke ahead of Sörenstam, who went on to win the McDonald's LPGA championship at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del., in June after a one-hole play-off with South Korea's Grace Park, and the Weetabix Women's British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, Eng., by one stroke from Pak in July and August. That win completed a career Grand Slam for the 32-year-old Sörenstam, but the U.S. Women's Open at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., produced another huge shock, with Hilary Lunke coming through sectional and final qualifying to beat fellow Americans Kelly Robbins and Angela Stanford in an 18-hole play-off. Sörenstam finished atop the LPGA money list with $2,029,506.

      The President's Cup match between the U.S. holders and the international side, held in George, S.Af., ended in a 17–17 tie after Woods and Els halved three holes in a sudden death play-off and it was agreed that the trophy be shared. The World Cup, at Kiawah, S.C., was won by South Africa's Rory Sabbatini and Trevor Immelman. They were standing in for Els and Retief Goosen, both of whom chose not to play. In the Solheim Cup at Barseback Golf and Country Club near Malmö, Swed., Europe's women beat the U.S. 171/2–101/2, while Britain and Ireland's men amateurs achieved a third successive victory over the U.S. in the Walker Cup, winning 121/2–111/2 at Ganton, North Yorkshire, Eng. Gary Wolstenholme, a member of the Britain and Ireland side, won his second British amateur title at Royal Troon in Scotland, while the American amateur championship at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club saw 19-year-old Nick Flanagan become not only the second youngest winner (after Woods) but also the first Australian to win in 100 years.

Mark Garrod

▪ 2003

      His position as one of the world's most recognizable and successful sportsmen already assured, Eldrick (“Tiger”) Woods continued to leave his mark on golf in 2002. A third victory in the Masters at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club and a second win in the U.S. Open at Bethpage State Park's Black Course on Long Island, N.Y., gave Woods the opportunity to become the first player to capture all four of the game's major championships in one season.

      The magnitude of that feat might have daunted others, but the four trophies had already been in Woods's possession for a brief time following his 2001 Masters triumph. He had ended 2000 by winning the U.S. Open, British Open, and Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) championship.

      As it turned out, the Grand Slam remained an elusive dream. In the British Open at Muirfield, Scot., Woods was forced to play during a freakish storm and recorded his highest score as a professional—81 in the third round. In the PGA championship he finished with four successive birdies but failed to overtake fellow American Rich Beem. For consistency, however, there was nobody to touch Woods, and as the only other golfer besides Tom Watson to top the PGA Tour money list four years in a row (Woods won $6,912,625 in 2002 to boost his career earnings on the circuit to $33 million), he remained the sport's dominant force.

      At the Masters Woods faced a course that had been lengthened considerably since the 2001 tournament. Previously only Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo had been able to make a successful defense of the Masters title, but Woods joined them by shooting a closing round of 71 and a 12-under-par total of 276, three better than South Africa's Retief Goosen. The buildup to his attempt to win again in 2003, however, was overshadowed by a row over the absence of any women members at Augusta National.

      At the U.S. Open, Woods shot a two-over-par 72 on the last round to finish with a three-under 277 and win again by three strokes, this time over American Phil Mickelson.The rain and high winds that hampered Woods's play during the British Open also spelled trouble for Colin Montgomerie of Scotland, who shot an 84 just 24 hours after he had scored a 64. South African Ernie Els enjoyed a two-shot lead going into the last day of the tournament, but the two-time U.S. Open champion had to struggle for the third major title of his career. The event went into a four-hole play-off between Els, Australians Steve Elkington and Stuart Appleby, and France's Thomas Levet, who all tied at 278, and then into sudden death between Els and Levet before the former prevailed.

      The PGA championship was staged at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., and Beem admitted that he was stunned to be the victor. In 1995 the Arizona native had quit the game and for a while sold cellular phones and car stereo systems, but his interest in golf eventually returned. In only his fourth appearance at a major tournament, Beem held off Woods to win by one with a 10-under 278.

      Despite Woods's dominance, there was one stage on which he had yet to impose his personality and genius—the Ryder Cup event. The cup was returned to European hands during the year after their dramatic 151/2–121/2 victory over the U.S. team at the De Vere Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, Eng. Postponed for 12 months because of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., the Ryder Cup was played amid unprecedented security for a golf event. The competition was successful in restoring dignity and decorum to an occasion that had in 1999 witnessed some unsavoury crowd scenes and unsportsmanlike behaviour from members of the U.S. squad, who in the heat of the moment had begun celebrating before their victory was guaranteed.

      The lead story of the 2002 Ryder Cup was a controversial decision by U.S. captain Curtis Strange that backfired badly for the Americans. With the competition tied 8–8 going into the concluding 12 singles matches, Sam Torrance, captain of the European team, packed the top of his order with his strongest players in the hope of putting points on the board and building an unstoppable momentum. Strange, in contrast, put world number two Mickelson in the 11th spot and Woods last. His belief was that it would be better to save his two best players for a tight finish. Mickelson, however, lost to Ryder Cup newcomer Phillip Price, who was ranked only 119th in the world, and Woods's clash with Swedish player Jesper Parnevik was too late to be relevant. A 3-m (10-ft) par putt by Ireland's Paul McGinley to halve with American Jim Furyk had already sealed the victory for Europe. Montgomerie led the European team with a top score of 41/2 out of a possible 5 points.

      Woods had gone into the contest on the back of another victory, the World Golf Championships–American Express Championship at Mount Juliet in Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ire., but his comment that he would rather win that event—with its million-dollar first prize—than the Ryder Cup sparked a debate about his priorities. Strange's successor as captain, Hal Sutton, made it his mission for 2004 to have a team displaying the same passion as the Europeans.

      There were two surprise winners in the World Golf Championships series. In the Accenture match play in Carlsbad, Calif., Kevin Sutherland was ranked 62nd of the 64 players taking part and had not won a PGA Tour title in 183 attempts, but a last-green success over fellow Californian Scott McCarron gave him the million-dollar prize. Then, in the NEC Invitational at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash., Australian Craig Parry achieved his first PGA Tour success at the 236th try. He became a million dollars richer as well, winning by four strokes. In the EMC–World Cup at Vista Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mex., Japan's Shigeki Maruyama and Toshimitsu Izawa outplayed the U.S.'s Mickelson and David Toms to give Japan its first victory since 1957.

      Masters runner-up Goosen topped the European money list for the second successive season, with Ireland's Padraig Harrington again second, while a spectacular 11 wins—and 13 worldwide—made Sweden's Annika Sörenstam the all-conquering performer on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour once more. In the women's majors, Sörenstam took the Kraft Nabisco title, South Korean Se Ri Pak the McDonald's LPGA championship, American Juli Inkster the U.S. Women's Open, and Australian Karrie Webb the Weetabix Women's British Open. Inkster then led the U.S. team as it regained the Solheim Cup, defeating Europe 151/2–121/2 at the Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn.

      The Australian women's team and the U.S. men's team were the winners of the world amateur team championships at Saujana Golf and Country Club outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In the women's competition, Australia won the Espirito Santo Trophy by tiebreaker over Thailand. A week later France led the men's tournament with a round to play, but a 66 from American College Player of the Year D.J. Trahan helped the U.S. to a successful defense of the Eisenhower Trophy.

      The year saw the passing of the player who had won more professional golf titles than anyone else. American legend Sam Snead, owner of what was generally considered to be the sweetest swing ever, died four days short of his 90th birthday. (See Obituaries (Snead, Samuel Jackson ).)

Mark Garrod

▪ 2002

      In the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., at a time of national mourning, American players collectively decided not to travel to England. The Ryder Cup, due to be held on September 28–30 at the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, Eng., was postponed until September 2002. With the Ryder Cup, one of golf's biggest events, canceled, one achievement dwarfed all else on the links in 2001.

      In April Eldrick (“Tiger”) Woods became the first player in the sport's history to hold all four of the modern major championships—the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) Championship—at the same time. The Masters, always held at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club, was the only one of the four that Woods did not have in his possession at the start of the year, and rarely if ever had a tournament been anticipated more.

      Woods set the stage perfectly by winning his two preceding events. In Augusta his opening round of 70, two under par, left him five strokes behind fellow American Chris DiMarco. A second-round 66 heightened the excitement going into the weekend and brought the 25-year-old Woods into a share of second place, only two behind DiMarco. When he added a 68 on the third day, Woods moved into a one-stroke lead. Four years earlier the first major title of his career had come by a record 12-shot margin and with a record 18-under-par aggregate of 270, but completing his “Tiger Slam” was to prove much more difficult. A bogey on the first hole of the final round dropped Woods level with American Phil Mickelson, and David Duval, also of the U.S., made four successive birdies from the fifth hole and another birdie at the 10th to tie for the lead.

      With three holes to play, Woods and Duval were 15 under par and Mickelson 14 under. Both Duval and Mickelson bogeyed the short 16th, and Duval missed a 1.5-m (5-ft) birdie chance on the final green. A drive and pitch to within 5.6 m (18 ft) of the final hole left Woods with two putts needed for victory. He holed for a birdie and finished at 16 under par for a two-stroke win over Duval.

      The opportunity to continue his domination came with the U.S. Open, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., in June. Woods had won the event in 2000 by a major championship record margin of 15 strokes, but his title defense was to be the start of a disappointing summer. An opening round of 74, four over par, left him eight behind the surprise leader, Retief Goosen. The 32-year-old South African, a member of the European circuit, had missed the halfway cut in seven of his previous nine majors in the U.S., but although he was caught on the second day by Americans Mark Brooks and J.L. Lewis, he dug his heels in.

      With a round to go, Goosen shared the lead with American Stewart Cink, and with one hole to play, the two were locked together with Brooks, who had not won a tournament since he captured the PGA championship in 1996. What followed ensured that the event would be remembered for more than the simple fact that Woods did not win (he was joint 12th). Brooks three-putted for a bogey five, and Cink then took a double-bogey six. Goosen had hit his second shot to within 3.7 m (12 ft) and had two putts with which to become champion. His first went past the hole, and to the astonishment of the millions watching on television, he missed the next putt as well. This left Goosen and Brooks tied on the four-under-par total of 276 and meant that the pair faced an 18-hole play-off the next day. Not having to go into sudden death gave Goosen the opportunity to regroup, and he did so superbly, winning by two strokes with a par 70 to become only the sixth overseas player to take the title since 1927.

      Much less of a surprise was Duval's victory in the British Open, held at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in Lancashire, Eng., in July. Coming into the event he had had eight top-10 finishes in the space of 13 majors. Scotland's Colin Montgomerie led for the first two days, and at the halfway point Duval was seven shots behind. On the third day the American shot a 65, good enough to bring him into a four-way tie as Montgomerie and others fell back, and with a final-round 67 the 29-year-old Duval triumphed by three with a 10-under-par total of 274.

      The final day of the British Open, however, had another extraordinary story. On the second tee Wales's Ian Woosnam, joint leader after a birdie at the first hole, was told by his caddie that he had 15 clubs in his bag, one more than the rules permitted. A driver with which Woosnam had been practicing, but which he had decided not to use, was still in the bag. A two-stroke penalty was imposed, and the former world number one player, mortified and furious, finished joint third. The blunder was calculated to have cost him more than $312,000—and a place on Europe's Ryder Cup team. Two weeks later the same caddie was late in arriving for a round at the Scandinavian Masters in Malmö, Swed.—forcing Woosnam to find a last-minute replacement—and was fired.

      The final major of the year, the PGA championship, held at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Duluth, Ga., in August, had no such incident, but it did include a record-breaking performance. Mickelson shot one stroke under the previous lowest aggregate in major history with a 14-under-par 266, but fellow American David Toms's closing pitch and 3-m (10-ft) putt for par, after a calculated decision not to go for the green in two at the par four, lowered that one more to a 15-under-par 265 and gave Toms, like Goosen and Duval, his first major title.

      The win also qualified Toms for a Ryder Cup debut, but that had to be put on hold after September 11. Discussions eventually led to the decision that the match between the U.S. and Europe would be put back 12 months. Subsequent matches were changed to even-numbered years to restore the two-year cycle, with the Presidents Cup matches (the U.S. versus an international side comprising all countries outside Europe) switching to odd-numbered years starting in 2003.

      The loss of three of his major titles did not stop Woods from maintaining a commanding lead in the world rankings to the end of the year or from topping the PGA Tour money list for the third successive season and the fourth time in five years, with a final total of $5,687,777. Goosen was the leading money winner on the European tour at £1,779,975 (about $2,537,000).

      If Woods's victory in the Masters was the performance of the year, the round of the year was surely that by Sweden's Annika Sörenstam (see Biographies (Sorenstam, Annika )) during the Standard Register Ping tournament at the Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix, Ariz, in March. Sörenstam became the first woman to break 60 in an official event. Not surprisingly, she went on to win the tournament and did so with a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) record total of 261, 27 under par.

      The Swedish player won the Nabisco Championship, the first women's major of the season, by three shots the following week at Missions Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and regained the world's number one position from Australian Karrie Webb before Webb hit back with an eight-stroke win in the U.S. Women's Open, held in June at the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. Three weeks later Webb gained a two-stroke victory at the McDonald's LPGA championship at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del.

      That gave Webb her fifth victory in eight majors and made her at 26 the youngest woman golfer to record a career Grand Slam. The fourth and final major, the Weetabix Women's British Open held at Sunningdale, Eng., in August, resulted in a South Korean one-two finish. Pak Se Ri, who won both the U.S. Women's Open and the LPGA championship in 1998, beat Kim Mi Hyun by two strokes. Despite the tough competition, Sörenstam finished the season as the LPGA's top money winner with a record $2,105,868.

      The high spot of the amateur season was the Walker Cup, which matched the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland at the Ocean Forest course in Sea Island, Ga. The home side led by a point after the first day, but just as they had been at Nairn, Scot., in 1999, the Americans were totally outplayed on the second day and again lost 15–9. It was Britain and Ireland's first-ever successful defense of the trophy and only their second away win.

Mark Garrod

▪ 2001

      The achievements of one man would mean the year 2000 would always be remembered in golf. Eldrick (“Tiger”) Woods matched Ben Hogan's previously unique feat of winning three of the sport's four major championships in one season (1953). En route, he joined Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to record at least one victory in each of the four majors—the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) championship—during their careers. At 24, Woods was also the youngest man to complete the set. It was not only the fact that Woods won the U.S. and British opens and the PGA championship that made it such an unforgettable summer, it was also the manner of his successes.

      The 100th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in Monterey, Calif., was always going to be an emotion-charged occasion in the absence of defending champion Payne Stewart, who was killed along with five others in an airplane accident in October 1999. Woods, however, having mourned the loss of his close friend, registered the widest margin of victory in the entire 140-year history of major championship golf.

      No one had ever finished the event in double figures under par, but the world's number-one player—he was untouchable in that position all year—completed the 72 holes in a 12-under-par aggregate of 272, a massive 15 strokes ahead of joint runners-up Ernie Els of South Africa and Miguel Ángel Jiménez of Spain. The previous record margin was the 13 shots by which Tom Morris, Sr., had won the 1862 British Open, and the 272 total equalled the U.S. Open record of Nicklaus in 1980 and Lee Janzen in 1993, both on a par 70 course while Pebble Beach was par 71.

      With victories behind him in the 1997 Masters (itself by a tournament record 12 strokes and with a record aggregate) and the 1999 PGA championship, Woods traveled to the British Open at St. Andrews in Fife, Scot., with the opportunity to complete his career Grand Slam. He did not lead from start to finish as he had at Pebble Beach, but after trailing Els by one shot following a first-round 67 he proved himself in a class of his own once more. By adding scores of 66, 67, and 69, Woods, in only his 14th major as a professional, became champion by 8 strokes with a total of 269. Since the Old Course had a par of 72, he was the first player to reach 19 under par in major history.

      As a consequence, there had never been a stronger favourite than Woods was for the PGA championship, held at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. He duly won again, but only after a tremendous battle with his fellow Californian Bob May. Woods threw down the gauntlet with opening rounds of 66 and 67, but the unfancied 31-year-old May, without a single U.S. PGA tour victory to his name, closed with three successive 66s. When May holed a 5.5-m (18-ft) birdie putt on the final green, Woods needed to follow him in from 1.8 m (6 ft) to force a play-off. Showing enormous strength of character, he did. Both players had played the last nine holes in 31, and at 18 under par both had broken the championship record. Previously there would have been a sudden-death shootout, but a three-hole play-off had been introduced. Woods, after sinking a 6.1-m (20-ft) putt on the first hole for yet another birdie, held on (a touch fortuitously perhaps after his drive at the last hole disappeared into the bushes but came out again) to win by one stroke.

      May had done the sport a great service by rising to the challenge of the man who had been threatening to dominate in a way never seen in golf before. A week later, however, Woods won the World Golf Championship NEC Invitational at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, by 11 strokes. His preeminence was reflected in the signing of a five-year endorsement contract with clothes and ball manufacturer Nike worth an estimated $100 million, believed to be the highest ever agreed upon for an individual sportsman.

      His success and fame benefited all U.S. tour players in terms of increased prize money and the tour itself in sponsorship and television deals, but before the year was out, Woods and his management company, the giant International Management Group, flexed their muscles a little by letting it be known they were not entirely happy with some of the tour regulations. How the issues were resolved would be an indication of how powerful Woods had become.

      It was easy to forget that in the first major championship of the year, the Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., Woods had finished “only” fifth, six strokes behind winner Vijay Singh. The 37-year-old Fijian, who had his first major victory at the 1998 PGA, finished with a 10-under-par total of 278, three better than Els. The South African was also joint second in the British Open (along with Denmark's Thomas Bjorn), giving him the distinction of being runner-up in the first three majors of the season.

      Not surprisingly, Woods, with six other PGA tour victories, shattered all previous records in topping the PGA tour money list with $9,188,321, making him the biggest money winner in golf history, with over $23 million. On top of that, he partnered with David Duval as the U.S. retained the World Cup with a three-stroke triumph over Argentina and helped the U.S. to a crushing victory over the international side in the Presidents Cup at the Robert Trent Jones course in Lake Manassas, Va., in October. Having lost the previous encounter by a nine-point margin in Melbourne, Australia, in 1998, the U.S. won the opening session 5–0 and went on to record a 211/2– 101/2success.

      The U.S. also won the Eisenhower Trophy world men's amateur championship by an overwhelming 16-stroke margin at the Sporting Club Berlin in September, and the Curtis Cup women's amateur trophy, beating Great Britain and Ireland 10–8 at Ganton in Yorkshire, Eng., in June. The Solheim Cup was lost for only the second time, with Europe's women professionals defeating the Americans 141/2–111/2 at Loch Lomond, Scot. The match sparked controversy when Sweden's Annika Sörenstam holed a chip at the 13th hole of her four-ball match but was asked to replay the shot for playing out of turn. Americans Kelly Robbins and Pat Hurst, along with U.S. captain Pat Bradley, initiated the dispute and the letter of the law was applied, but it left Sörenstam in tears and a nasty taste in everyone's mouth.

      The women's scene had something of its own “Tiger” in Australian Karrie Webb (see Biographies (Webb, Karrie )), who as well as being a clear winner of the Ladies' Professional Golf Association tour with $1,876,853 captured two majors—the Nabisco Championship by 10 strokes at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and most coveted of all, the U.S. Women's Open by 5 at the Merit Club in Libertyville, Ill. At the Nabisco event, however, Webb had to share top billing with 13-year-old Thai amateur Aree Song Wongluekiet, who was lying a remarkable joint 3rd with a round to go before slipping back to finish 10th.

      In Europe the men's tour was won by England's Lee Westwood, who won five times in ending the seven-year reign of Colin Montgomerie of Scotland. Westwood went into the final afternoon of the final event needing to finish sixth in the American Express world championship at Valderrama, Spain, to overtake Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, winner in February of the Andersen Consulting world match play championship. Westwood, who had also won the Cisco world match play championship at Wentworth, Eng., scored a 67 to place second, two strokes behind Canadian Mike Weir, with Woods finishing fifth after hitting three shots into water on the 17th hole during the four rounds. Westwood was second again when golf's biggest-ever first prize was contested at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City, S.Af. The $2 million jackpot went to Els at the second hole of a playoff between the two.

      The European women's circuit was won by Sörenstam, narrowly topping her fellow Swede Sophie Gustafson, for whom the highlight of the year was a two-stroke victory in the Weetabix British Women's Open at Royal Birkdale in Southport, Eng., in August. That championship was scheduled to become one of the four women's majors in 2001 after the Canadian ban on cigarette sponsorship brought an end to the du Maurier Classic following Meg Mallon's one-shot win at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club.

      The increasing strength of golf across the continent of Europe was illustrated by France's win in the Espirito Santo women's world amateur team championship at the Sporting Club Berlin in August, the British amateur championship victory of Finland's Mikko Ilonen in June, and Spain's successful defense of the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St. Andrews in October. Age was shown as no barrier to winning when 66-year-old Englishman Neil Coles won on the European seniors tour to join American legend Sam Snead as the only two players to capture professional titles in six different decades.

      Off the course, the debate among ruling bodies about whether to curb technological advances in club and ball manufacture continued unresolved. The U.S. Golf Association banned a number of drivers because of the so-called springlike effect of the clubfaces, but Scotland's Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the organization that governed the sport in the rest of the world, deemed no action necessary.

      David Fay, executive director of the USGA, described the illegal clubs as the equivalent of “diving into a swimming pool off a diving board versus the side of the pool.” The Royal and Ancient Club did not disagree with that, but stated that based on the data currently available to them, “any consequential increase in driving distance that may be achieved is not considered to be detrimental to the game.” The lack of uniformity between the two bodies was considered undesirable by both, but no solution was in sight.

      Another saga set to run and run was nipped in the bud, however, when Mark James resigned as a vice-captain for the 2001 European Ryder Cup side after creating controversy with a book on his captaincy in 1999. James had thrown away a good luck letter from Nick Faldo because of a dispute between the two, and a war of words was still going on months later when James stepped down. Later in the year James was discovered to be suffering from lymphoma cancer and began treatment.

Mark Garrod

▪ 2000

      One event overshadowed all else in golf in 1999. On October 25 Payne Stewart, who four months earlier at the age of 42 had won his second U.S. Open championship, died along with five others in a tragic airplane accident. (See Obituaries (Stewart, Payne William ).) The group was traveling in a Learjet from Stewart's home in Orlando, Fla., to the U.S. Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) tour championship in Houston, Texas, but soon after takeoff, air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane. Military aircraft were dispatched to fly alongside, and it was reported that the windows of the jet were frosted over, an indication that cabin pressure had been lost, killing all those on board. The plane continued on autopilot for four hours and 2,900 km (1,800 mi) before crashing in South Dakota.

      As investigations began, the sport mourned the loss of one of its most colourful and easily recognizable characters, known all over the world for his trademark knickers and tam-o'-shanter caps. The tour championship was rearranged so that all the players could fly from Houston to Orlando for a memorial service. Returning to the event, many of them wore knickers for the final round in memory of their colleague and friend.

      The year saw the introduction of a World Championship series of three tournaments (two in the United States, one in Spain) sanctioned by the game's five major tours (in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australasia, and southern Africa). Eldrick (“Tiger”) Woods won two of the three events en route to topping the U.S. money list with a staggering $6,616,585 (the previous record was David Duval's $2,591,031 in 1998). While the massive amounts of money at stake (a $5 million purse for each tournament, with a $1 million check for the winner) inevitably gave the new tournaments news value, they did not change the fact that for the players and public alike the highlights of the year remained the four major championships—the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and the PGA championship—and another highly charged Ryder Cup match between the U.S. and Europe.

      The U.S. Open was held at Pinehurst, N.C., and Stewart was involved in a thrilling battle with his fellow Americans Phil Mickelson and Woods. One behind Mickelson with three holes to play, Stewart made a 7.6-m (25-ft) putt for par on the 16th and drew level when Mickelson bogeyed. Stewart then birdied the short 17th to go in front, and at the last, after driving into the rough and being forced to lay up short of the green, he rolled in a 5.5-m (15-ft) putt for par and victory.

      Such was the expectation level on Woods's shoulders following his runaway 12-shot success at the 1997 Masters—his first major as a professional—that he had been the favourite for every big tournament since. At the PGA championship at Medinah Country Club near Chicago, Woods came through. He established a five-stroke lead with seven holes to play, but a bogey on the 12th and a double bogey on the 13th allowed the chasing pack to close. Leading that pack was 19-year-old Sergio García of Spain, a professional for only four months but already a winner in Europe. Suddenly, Woods was the one trying to fend off a challenge from a younger man, and he managed to do so, but only after García had played a miraculous shot from the base of a tree on the 16th hole.

      Four months earlier García had finished as the leading amateur at the Masters at Augusta, Ga., which was won by his countryman José-María Olazábal. After winning the Masters in 1994, Olazábal had overcome a crippling condition (initially thought to be rheumatoid arthritis in his feet but then discovered to be a herniated disk in his lower back) and had been forced to take an 18-month rest from the game. His eight under par total of 280 at the 1999 Masters was the highest winning score for 10 years, but it was two better than American runner-up Davis Love III and three better than Australian Greg Norman.

      The British Open championship, held at Carnoustie, Scot., for the first time since 1975, had an even more dramatic climax. At 6,731 m (7,361 yd), the second longest course in major championship history, with a ferocious rough and narrow fairways, it was the hardest test any of the players had ever faced and in many people's eyes an unfair one. With one round to go Jean Van de Velde, a qualifier trying to become the first French winner since Arnaud Massy in 1907 and ranked only 152nd in the world, led by five. With one hole to play he was still three clear, but he finished with a triple bogey seven that included his climbing into a muddy stream in bare feet and with his trousers legs rolled up. By the time Van de Velde completed the hole, Paul Lawrie of Scotland and American Justin Leonard, the 1997 champion, found themselves joining him in a four-hole play-off after each scored six over par totals of 290, the second highest leading score in a major championship since 1947. Given a chance he never expected, Lawrie, also a qualifier and 159th in the world rankings, seized it. He birdied the final two holes and, having been 10 strokes behind before shooting a closing 67, completed the biggest comeback in major championship history.

      Lawrie, Van de Velde, and García were among seven new faces in the European side that defended the Ryder Cup at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass. García was the first teenager ever to appear in the match. The American favourites went into the closing day's 12 singles four points behind but staged the greatest recovery the event had ever seen to win by a single point, 141/2–131/2. The climax was laced with controversy, however, as American players celebrated Leonard's 13.7-m (45-ft) putt on the 17th green before opponent Olazábal had had a chance to reply and keep the match alive. After calm was restored and the Spaniard missed, apologies were quickly made, but it upset the European team, and European captain Mark James later accused some of the home side of inciting the crowd.

      Woods, who finished the season ranked number one, became the first player to win four successive U.S. tour events since Ben Hogan in 1953, and his eight titles in all equaled the most since Sam Snead's 11 in 1950. Duval briefly took over as number one after four early season victories, including the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic at the Arnold Palmer course at La Quinta, Calif., with a round of 59—only the third such score in U.S. PGA tour history. Woods was undoubtedly the year's star performer, however, and later in November he added the World Cup of Golf at The Mines Resort in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Taking the individual title by nine shots with a record 21 under par total, Woods outscored his partner, Mark O'Meara, by 19, but they still won the team event by five over the Spanish pair Miguel Angel Martin and Santiago Luna.

      With earnings of £1,302,056 (about $2,170,000), Scotland's Colin Montgomerie achieved a remarkable seventh successive European Order of Merit title, this time holding off the challenge of England's Lee Westwood and García, who combined with Olazábal and Miguel Angel Jiménez to give Spain their first-ever victory in the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St. Andrews in Scotland. Montgomerie also won the Cisco World Match Play title at Wentworth in Surrey, Eng., to add to his five Order of Merit victories. Bruce Fleisher won seven times in taking over from Hale Irwin as leading money winner of the U.S. Senior tour with $2,515,705.

      The two outstanding players on the Ladies' Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour were Australian Karrie Webb and American Juli Inkster (see Biographies (Inkster, Juli )). Webb had six wins, the last of them her first major at the du Maurier Classic at Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club in Calgary, Alta., and with a staggering 22 top-10 finishes in 25 starts topped the money list with $1,591,959, while Inkster had five successes including two majors—the U.S. Women's Open at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss., and the McDonald's LPGA championship at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del. Her compatriot Sherri Steinhauer made a successful defense of the Weetabix Women's British Open at Woburn Golf and Country Club in Milton Keynes, Eng. The leading money winner on the European LPGA tour was Laura Davies for the fifth time.

      In the amateur game, Britain and Ireland came from 7–5 down after the first day to regain the Walker Cup from the United States by 15–9 at Nairn Golf Club near Inverness, Scot. It was only their fifth victory in 37 matches and their most comprehensive. One member of the British side was England's Graeme Storm, who had won the British amateur championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, while the American team included David Gossett, winner of the U.S. amateur title at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. The U.S. women's amateur championship was won by Dorothy Delasin at Biltmore Forest Country Club in Asheville, N.C., and the British women's amateur title was captured by Marine Monnet of France at Royal Birkdale in Southport, Eng.

      The year would also be remembered for the passing, at the age of 97, of Gene Sarazen, one of only four players to date who won all four major championships. (See Obituaries (Sarazen, Eugene ).)

Mark Garrod

▪ 1999

      Golf prides itself on being a sport for all ages, and around the world in 1998 the proof was there for everyone to see. American Mark O'Meara, age 41, became the oldest player ever to win two of the game's four major championships (the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and the U.S. Professional Golfers' Association of America [PGA] championship) in the same year; 58-year-old Jack Nicklaus shone again on the big stage; 53-year-old Hale Irwin set record winnings for a single tour; a 17-year-old amateur finished fourth in the British Open; and two 20-year-olds (a first-year professional and an amateur) fought out a play-off for the U.S. Women's Open championship.

      Eldrick ("Tiger") Woods remained the leader of the younger generation, heading the world rankings for the majority of the season, but the 22-year-old Californian's second full season as a professional failed to reach the dizzying heights of the first. The Masters title he had won in record-breaking fashion at the Augusta (Ga.) National Club in 1997 was one of the two that passed into O'Meara's hands, and Woods was succeeded as leading money winner on the PGA tour by David Duval, who amassed winnings of $2,591,031. That would have been a record figure for any player in one season on a single tour but for the fact that Irwin retained his position atop the U.S. Senior tour with an incredible $2,861,945. In the past three seasons on the circuit, Irwin had won nearly $7 million in prize money—over $1 million more than in his 26-year PGA tour career, which included three U.S. Open championships.

      No one could dethrone Colin Montgomerie on the PGA European tour; two late victories enabled the 35-year-old Scot to win the Order of Merit for a record sixth successive year with £993,077 (about $1,640,000). Although he also captured the $1 million first prize in the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf at Grayhawk in Scottsdale, Ariz., the fact that he had still to win one of the major championships left a cloud of disappointment hanging over his accomplishment.

      O'Meara won the Masters in dramatic fashion, holing a 6.1-m (20-ft) birdie putt on the final green to defeat Fred Couples and Duval by a single shot with a nine-under-par total of 279—nine higher than Woods's winning score 12 months earlier. It ended O'Meara's 18-year wait for his first major championship. The performance of the week, however, came from Nicklaus, winner of the Masters title a record six times and battling a troublesome hip complaint, who turned back the clock to finish tied for sixth. Nicklaus was playing in the tournament for a record 40th time and had been honoured on the eve of the event.

      Nicklaus finished tied for 43rd in the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco two months later, but then golf's "Golden Bear" announced that he would not be playing in either the British Open at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, Eng., or the PGA championship at Sahalee Country Club, near Seattle, Wash. That brought to an end an astonishing run, stretching back to 1957, of 154 successive major championships for which he was eligible. Nicklaus's 18 victories (plus 2 U.S. Amateurs) were accepted as a record that might stand for all time.

      The U.S. Open was won for the second time in six years by Lee Janzen, who pushed fellow American Payne Stewart into second place just as he had in 1993. Seven strokes behind after three holes of the final round, Janzen recorded a two-under-par 68 to Stewart's 74 to win by one stroke with a level-par total of 280. It was the best final-round comeback in the championship in 25 years.

      As at the Masters, the U.S. Open winner had to share the limelight. Casey Martin, who suffered from a degenerative circulatory disease in his right leg called Klippel-Trenauney-Weber Syndrome, had won a court case against the PGA tour for the right to ride in PGA tournaments. He came through a play-off in the qualifying event to become the first player ever to be allowed to use a motorized golf cart while playing in a major championship and finished the U.S. Open in a highly creditable tie for 23rd, one shot behind his former college teammate Woods. Reigning U.S. Amateur champion Matt Kuchar, having already finished 21st at the Masters, was tied for fourth after two rounds and eventually, on his 20th birthday, finished joint 14th.

      Good as that was, 17-year-old English amateur Justin Rose eclipsed it at the British Open. A qualifier like Martin, Rose achieved fourth place, the best by an amateur in the championship since American Frank Stranahan finished in a tie for second in 1953. After a windswept four days, Rose, who subsequently turned professional and failed to survive a single halfway cut in his first 10 starts, finished one stroke behind Woods and two behind O'Meara and American Brian Watts. The tie on the level-par total of 280 resulted in a four-hole play-off for Watts and O'Meara, who began it with a birdie four, never lost the advantage, and thereby completed his double of the Masters and British Open.

      O'Meara thus went into the PGA championship with a chance to become only the second player in golfing history to win three majors in a season (American Ben Hogan accomplished it in 1953). He threatened to do so into the final day but eventually finished tied for fourth, five strokes behind Fiji's Vijay Singh, winner by two over American Steve Stricker with a nine-under-par total of 271.

      O'Meara, who also beat Woods in the final of the Cisco World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, Surrey, Eng., won the PGA tour's Player of the Year award despite finishing only seventh on the final money list. Duval's seven victories within 12 months enabled him to finish more than $350,000 ahead of second-place Singh in prize money, with Jim Furyk third and Woods fourth. Montgomerie had three European tour victories, and the final Order of Merit table showed him £90,000 (nearly $150,000) ahead of Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and £178,000 (nearly $295,000) above England's Lee Westwood, who won seven tournaments and was named the tour's Player of the Year.

      As a rookie on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour, Pak Se Ri (see BIOGRAPHIES (Pak Se Ri )) of South Korea was a power in the women's game. Pak won the first two major championships in which she played—the McDonald's LPGA championship at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del., and the U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis., where she and American amateur Jenny Chuasiriporn tied on the six-over-par aggregate of 290, the latter after holing a 12.2-m (40-ft) putt on the final green. The play-off, in which both were trying to become the youngest-ever champion and Chuasiriporn only the second amateur winner (Catherine Lacoste of France won as an amateur in 1967), was still unresolved after 18 holes, but at the second extra hole Pak made a 5.5-m (18-ft) birdie putt. One week later Pak won the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic in Sylvania, Ohio, with a record-low 23-under-par 261 and a second-round 10-under-par 61, the lowest score in LPGA history.

      The consistency of Sweden's Annika Sörenstam enabled her to become the leading money winner on the LPGA tour for the third time in four years. What she could not do was win back the Solheim Cup for Europe. At Muirfield Village Golf Course in Dublin, Ohio, the U.S. held on to the trophy by a 16-12 margin with a team that included Tammie Green, who was six months pregnant, and Sherri Steinhauer, winner of the Weetabix Women's British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Anne's in Lancashire, Eng. Sörenstam's compatriot Helen Alfredsson was the top earner on the European LPGA tour with £125,975 (about $208,000), but because of a loss of sponsors there were fewer tournaments and only eight players earned more than £40,000 ($66,000).

      The U.S. regained the Curtis Cup women's amateur trophy from Great Britain and Ireland, winning 10-8 at Minikahda Club in Minneapolis, Minn. Chuasiriporn was a member of the team but did not win a match and then, as at the U.S. Women's Open, came in second again at the U.S. Women's Amateur at Barton Hills Country Club near Ann Arbor, Mich. This time the player to beat her was 19-year-old South Korean-born American Grace Park.

      The British Ladies' Amateur championship was won by England's Kim Rostron and the British men's title by Spain's 18-year-old Sergio Garcia, who also reached the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur Championships. The eventual champion there was American Hank Keuhne, whose sister, Kelli, was U.S. Women's Amateur champion in 1995 and 1996.

      South Africa retained the Alfred Dunhill Cup at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in Fife, Scot., while the year ended with two firsts—a surprising victory for England (represented by Nick Faldo and David Carter) in the World Cup of Golf at Gulf Harbour, Auckland, N.Z., and a commanding win for the International Team over the U.S. in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, Australia. The final margin was a resounding 20 1/2 -11 1/2 , with the unbeaten Japanese player Shigeki Maruyama being named man of the match and Australian Greg Norman making a successful recovery from the shoulder surgery that had kept him out of the action for much of the season.


▪ 1998

      A new word entered the golfing lexicon in 1997: Tigermania. No player in the long history of the game had attracted publicity to the extent that Eldrick ("Tiger") Woods ) (Woods, Tiger ) did in his first full year as a professional. And the sport smiled all the way to the bank.

      The arrival on the scene of the young Californian helped to produce an explosion of interest. According to figures released by the Associated Press, ticket sales at the tournaments he played were up 25%, souvenir sales were up 20%, and American television audiences for the final day of the four major championships (the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and U.S. Professional Golfers' Association of America [PGA] championship) increased by nearly 60%. Golf apparel and footwear sales for his main sponsor, Nike, improved 100% to $120 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, which made the five-year, $40 million contract the company signed with Woods when he left the amateur ranks in August 1996 appear a bargain.

      The PGA TOUR organization in the United States, meanwhile, concluded talks with the major television networks with deals that would produce a doubling of income for the organization to $650 million over four years. "We believe golf is at the beginning of an unprecedented growth cycle," stated the tour's commissioner, Tim Finchem. "The substantial investment our television partners have made in the future of the game will enable us to assist the World Golf Foundation in building facilities that will serve as entry points for kids to be introduced to the game. Right now only 2% of kids between the ages of 12 and 17 are involved in the game. We need to change that."

      To act as the catalyst for all this, Woods had to recapture as a professional the success he had enjoyed as an amateur (three successive U.S. Junior Amateur titles followed by three successive U.S. Amateur titles). After winning two of his first eight professional events in 1996, he began 1997 with another victory in the Mercedes championship at La Costa Resort and Spa, in Carlsbad, Calif., and then produced the single most outstanding performance of the entire season in the Masters at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club. In what was his first major championship as a professional, Woods produced rounds of 70, 66, 65, and 69 for an 18-under-par total of 270—the lowest aggregate in Masters history. His 12-stroke winning margin over fellow American Tom Kite was also a record, and he was the youngest champion of one of the four major tournaments in 66 years.

      Easily the longest hitter in the event (John Daly was not competing), Woods was so dominant that inevitably talk turned to whether he could become the first player ever to win all four majors in one season, especially when he won his next tournament as well, the GTE Byron Nelson Classic in Irving, Texas. It did not happen; in fact, Woods never even came close in the other three. He did, however, become the first player to win more than $2 million in one season on the PGA tour, and he also enjoyed a short spell at the top of the official world golf ranking. During the year Tom Lehman of the U.S. and Ernie Els of South Africa also reached that pinnacle, but for most of the season, Greg Norman led the rankings. The Australian did not win a major, but he took the $1 million first prize at the Andersen Consulting world championship and two PGA tour titles.

      Els won the U.S. Open at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. It was his second victory in the championship in four years, and, as in 1994, Scotland's Colin Montgomerie finished second. Tied with two holes to play, Montgomerie scored a bogey five on the 17th and lost by a single shot to Els's four-under-par total of 276.

      The British Open was staged at the Royal Troon Golf Club in Troon, Scot. With a round to go, Sweden's Jesper Parnevik led Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke by two shots and Americans Fred Couples and Justin Leonard by five. With six holes remaining, Parnevik was still two ahead, but now of Leonard, and at the end he could not hold off the 25-year-old Texan, a former U.S. Amateur champion. Leonard scored a closing 65 to Parnevik's 73 and won by three with a 12-under-par aggregate of 272.

      The PGA championship at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaronek, N.Y., also resulted in an American's winning his first major. Leonard was prominent again, and after three rounds he and Davis Love III were tied for the lead, seven strokes ahead of the rest of the field. This time, however, Love conquered all. His last round, 66 for an 11-under-par total of 269, was five better than Leonard could manage.

      With major winners Woods, Leonard, and Love on the team, the United States was favoured to regain the Ryder Cup, held on continental Europe for the first time, at Valderrama Golf Club in southern Spain. For the second successive year, however, Europe won by the narrowest possible margin, 14 1 /2 -13 1/ 2 . After Europe took a five-point lead into the 12 concluding singles, the Americans staged a comeback, but they had too much ground to cover. Germany's Bernhard Langer made sure that Europe gained a tie in the tournament and therefore retained the trophy by beating Brad Faxon, and on the final green of the final game, Montgomerie secured Europe's victory in the match by halving with Scott Hoch. Montgomerie was the top points scorer, with 3 1 /2 out of a possible 5, while Love lost all his four games. Leonard halved two and lost two, and Woods finished with one win, one half, and three defeats.

      Montgomerie and Langer were the most consistent performers on the PGA European tour. The German won four times to Montgomerie's two, but the Scot nevertheless won a record fifth successive Order of Merit title. He earned £798,947 to Langer's £692,398. Special mention should also be made of ninth-placed José-María Olazábal, who returned in February after nearly 18 months out with an injury. The former U.S. Masters champion had been diagnosed as suffering from rheumatoid arthritis in his feet, but a German physician believed a herniated disc in his lower back was the cause of his problems and gave Olazábal an exercise program. Five months later he was playing tournament golf again, winning a tournament and regaining his Ryder Cup place.

      Woods finished the PGA tour with $2,066,833, just under $200,000 more than David Duval, who after seven second-place finishes in his career suddenly had three successive victories at the end of the season, climaxing in the tour championship at the Champions Golf Club near Houston, Texas. The men who achieved the most wins and earned the most official money during 1997, however, were Hale Irwin and Gil Morgan on the PGA Senior tour. Irwin tied the tour record for most titles with nine and won $2,343,364, whereas Morgan won six and finished with $2,160,562. Tommy Horton retained his position as leading money winner on the European Seniors tour, although Gary Player of South Africa won the Senior British Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, N.Ire.

      Els narrowly failed in his bid to win the Toyota World Match Play championship for a fourth successive time, losing on the final green of the final round to Fiji's Vijay Singh at the Wentworth (Surrey, Eng.) Club. A week later, however, he linked up with Retief Goosen and David Frost to give South Africa its first victory in the Alfred Dunhill Cup at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in Fife, Scot. They beat Sweden 2-1 in the final.

      Sweden's Annika Sorenstam scored six victories and earned $1,236,789 in becoming the leading player on the Ladies' Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour for the second time, but she could not make it three U.S. Women's Open championships in a row. That trophy went to England's Alison Nicholas, who defeated Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez of the U.S. by one shot with a 10-under-par total of 274 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Cornelius, Ore. Nicholas also finished at the top of the European Women's Tour Order of Merit with £94,589. Karrie Webb of Australia won her second Weetabix Women's British Open at Sunningdale, Berkshire, Eng., by eight strokes over American Rosie Jones with a record-low 19-under total of 269. Webb also came in second among the LPGA money leaders, taking home $987,606.

      The U.S. Women's Amateur was won by Silvia Cavalleri of Italy at the Brae Burn Country Club in West Newton, Mass., and the U.S. men's amateur team regained the Walker Cup, beating Great Britain and Ireland 18-6 at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y. Matthew Kuchar succeeded Woods as the men's U.S. Amateur champion.

      The year saw the death at the age of 84 of Ben Hogan ), (Hogan, William Benjamin ) one of golf's greatest-ever exponents. Hogan won the U.S. Open four times, the Masters and the PGA twice each, and the British Open once.


▪ 1997

      For much of 1996 the world of golf was seeking a new star and wondering if technological advances in club and ball manufacture were making the search more difficult. Jack Nicklaus looked back on the 35 years he had played professionally and concluded that the biggest single change he had seen was in equipment. "I think it is great for the average golfer because it can improve his game and he can get more enjoyment out of it," he said. "But for the pros I think it has had an adverse effect. You used to be able to separate yourself from most of the players by your shot-making ability, or if you were long or had a certain skill more developed than the other player. Not any more."

      South African Gary Player, another of the four players in history to have won all four major championships (the Masters, United States Open, the British Open, and the U.S. Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) championship), added, "It's not even nearly the same game. I think golf equipment has done immeasurable harm at the professional level." The fact that the first 42 tournaments on the U.S. PGA tour produced 33 different champions, 13 of them winning for the first time, added weight to the argument.

      By the end of the year, however, there was one young golfer who appeared to have the ability to stand out from the pack and the potential to lead the sport into the next millennium. Californian Eldrick ("Tiger") Woods, who in 1994 at age 18 had become the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur championship, became the first player to win it for three successive years, recovering in the final from five down to beat Steve Scott at the second extra hole at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Cornelius, Ore.

      In June Woods briefly led the U.S. Open on the opening day at Oakland Hills Country Club near Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and then equaled the lowest-ever total by an amateur in finishing tied for 22nd in the British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in Lancashire, Eng.

      It was no surprise when Woods after his third U.S. Amateur victory abandoned his Stanford University studies and turned professional. His performance in his first few weeks as a professional was remarkable. After finishing in a tie for 60th in the Greater Milwaukee Open, the 20-year-old finished 11th in the Bell Canadian Open, tied for fifth in the Quad City Classic, tied for third in the B.C. Open, and finished first in the Las Vegas Invitational after a play-off against Davis Love III. Two weeks later he triumphed again in the Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic at Lake Buena Vista, Fla., though in controversial fashion when Taylor Smith, having matched Woods's 21-under-par total of 267, was disqualified for using a long putter with a grip that did not conform to the rules. In November Woods finished fifth to Greg Norman in the Australian Open.

      In only eight weeks as a professional, Woods had risen into the top 40 of the Sony world rankings, and he was to finish in 24th place on the U.S. money list, with earnings of $790,594. Yet that was only the tip of a financial iceberg. The moment he left the amateur ranks, Woods became one of the hottest properties in sport. A clothing deal worth a reported $40 million over five years was signed with Nike, and another contract with Titleist to use its clubs totaled a reported $20 million over five years.

      In the competition for the four major championships, the most dramatic was unquestionably in the Masters, where Greg Norman of Australia, ranked first in the world throughout the season, tied the Augusta (Ga.) National course record of 63 on the first day and with a round to play was six strokes in the lead. After a string of near misses in the U.S. major tournaments, it seemed that Norman finally was to win this title. On the final afternoon, however, he collapsed to a 78 and in the end only just held on to second place, five strokes behind Nick Faldo of the U.K., whose closing 67 (for a 12-under-par aggregate of 276) gave him a third Masters victory and a sixth major in nine years.

      In the U.S. Open, Davis Love, Tom Lehman, and Steve Jones all stood on the final tee at two under par. Then Love three-putted and Lehman drove into a bunker, and so Jones's par four made him the surprising champion. It was his first U.S. tour victory in 7 years, 2 1/2 of them spent out of the game after a dirt-bike accident, and just to play in the Open he had to survive a play-off in the qualifying competition.

      While Love continued to wait for a victory in a major tournament, Lehman was celebrating his own first success five weeks later in the British Open. A third-round 64 put him six shots in the lead, and with closest challenger Faldo failing to apply the pressure he had in the Masters, Lehman could afford a 73 in the final round and still beat fellow American Mark McCumber and South Africa's Ernie Els by two strokes.

      The PGA championship, at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., produced a play-off between two more Americans, Mark Brooks and Kenny Perry. Both were seeking their first major victory, and it was Brooks who prevailed. Perry had been two strokes ahead standing on the final tee, but bogeyed the par five and then watched Brooks birdie it to force a tie. Unfortunately for Perry, the first hole of sudden death was the same 18th, and he could not recover from driving into trouble again.

      The U.S. PGA tour money list title also went to Lehman, whose six-shot victory in the season-ending tour championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., put him ahead of Phil Mickelson with a record total of $1,780,159. Mickelson had the most wins (four) and also teamed up with Mark O'Meara and Steve Stricker to give the United States victory in the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St. Andrews in Fife, Scot. The U.S. also scored a success in the second President's Cup match against the International Team (the rest of the world minus Europe). In an exciting finish at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Lake Manassas, Va., Fred Couples sank a 10-m (33-ft) birdie putt at the second-to-last hole of the decisive singles match against Vijay Singh of Fiji for a 16 1/2 -15 1/2 victory.

      On the PGA European tour, the player with the most victories—Ian Woosnam of Wales, with four—did not win the Order of Merit. That went for a record-equaling fourth successive time to Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, who, besides winning three tournaments, had eight other top-10 finishes and earned £ 875,146. He remained the dominant personality on a circuit deprived in 1996 of José María Olazabal of Spain, who did not play during the year because of rheumatoid arthritis in both his feet.

      Els won the Toyota World Match Play championship at Wentworth, Surrey, Eng., for an unprecedented third year in a row. He then teamed with Wayne Westner to take South Africa to a massive 18-stroke victory in the World Cup of Golf at Cape Town, S.Af.

      In the U.S. Women's Open, Sweden's Annika Sorenstam not only became just the sixth player to have made a successful defense of the title but did so by a commanding six-stroke margin at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in North Carolina. In 1995 Sorenstam had become the first player, male or female, to win the most money in both the U.S. and Europe. That feat was nearly achieved again in 1996 by Laura Davies of the U.K. In the U.S. she fought a thrilling yearlong battle with Australian rookie Karrie Webb, her four victories including the McDonald's LPGA championship and the du Maurier Classic, and she also enjoyed three victories in Europe and two in Japan, the last of them by a 15-stroke margin. Webb climaxed her year with a victory in the inaugural LPGA tour championship, her fourth tournament win of the year. She also became the first LPGA player and the first rookie in golf to win more than $1 million in a single season and was named Rookie of the Year.

      If the top U.S. women golfers were overshadowed at home, then they truly asserted themselves overseas. After leading by two points going into the 12 concluding singles of the Solheim Cup at the St. Pierre Country Club in Chepstow, Wales, Europe slumped to a 17-11 defeat. The U.S. retained the trophy despite omitting Emilee Klein, a seven-stroke winner of the Weetabix Women's British Open at the Woburn Golf and Country Club in Milton Keynes, Eng.

      The U.S. did suffer defeat in the Curtis Cup, Britain and Ireland's women amateurs winning 11 1/2 -6 1/2 at the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club in Ireland to maintain a remarkable record of only one loss in the last six matches. The following week, however, Kelli Kuehne of the U.S. won the Ladies' British amateur championship at Hoylake near Liverpool, Eng.; she then retained her U.S. Women's amateur title at Firethorn Golf Club in Lincoln, Neb. Victory in the women's world amateur team championship in the Philippines went, for the first time, to South Korea. Australia won the men's title.

      Prize money on the U.S. Seniors tour reached a staggering $37 million, with Jim Colbert, who regained his number one position by finishing third in the final event, and Hale Irwin each winning in excess of $1.6 million. Nine players earned more than $1 million—the same number as on the main circuit. (MARK GARROD)

▪ 1996

      Nobody could accuse golf of following a familiar or predictable path in 1995. Even by the standards of a sport that deals in the unexpected more than most, it was an exceptional season. Two of the four major men's championships were decided only after play-offs, and the other two had memorable finishes as well; history was made in the women's game; and, by the smallest possible margin, Europe achieved its second victory on U.S. soil in the Ryder Cup.

      As surprising as anything was the inability of Zimbabwe's Nick Price, the dominant figure at the beginning of the year, to make an impact. Not only did Price—winner in 1994 of both the British Open and the U.S. Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) championships—fail to add to his major titles, but he failed to register a single tour success.

      His top spot, both in the U.S. and in the Sony world rankings, was taken by Greg Norman of Australia. Yet Norman would also look back on the 1995 season with some disappointment. The world tour he had hoped to see launched did not get off the ground and, as so often in the past, he came up just short on the big occasions, finishing in a tie for third in the Masters Tournament and second in the U.S. Open. His three victories helped him earn a record $1,654,959 for the season, however, and made him one of nine golfers to top the million-dollar mark.

      A year that began, uniquely, with no U.S. golfer in possession of a major championship ended with Americans holding three of the four. Ben Crenshaw did not anticipate being the first of them, but after poor early season form, the 43-year-old won his second Masters title at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club. Crenshaw, the 1984 champion, was overcome with emotion the moment he sank the short putt that gave him a 14-under-par total of 274 and a one-stroke victory over fellow American Davis Love III. Seven days earlier his 90-year-old coach, Harvey Penick, author of Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, which in 1992 became the best-selling sports book of all time, had died in Austin, Texas. The funeral was on the eve of the Masters, yet Crenshaw broke off his practice to be a pallbearer and after his victory said, "I had a 15th club in my bag—Harvey. It was like someone put their hand on my shoulder and guided me through."

      At the centennial U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., Corey Pavin won his first major title. While others struggled in a challenging wind, he compiled a closing 68 for an even-par total of 280. A marvelous 4-wood approach to within 1.5 m (1 m = 3.3 ft) of the final hole led to a two-stroke winning margin over Norman.

      For a record 25th time, the British Open was staged at the course regarded as the home of golf, St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland. In wild weather the player known as the "Wild Thing," John Daly of the U.S., emerged triumphant, although only after a play-off with Costantino Rocca of Italy. Daly's total of 282, six under par, looked good enough to give him the title until Rocca, needing a birdie to tie, made dramatic amends for the poorest of chip shots by holing a 20-m putt. In the four-hole play-off, however, Rocca never recovered from three-putting the first green and eventually lost by four strokes.

      The week marked the end of an era for the tournament as Arnold Palmer, who first played in the Open in 1960, announced that it would be his last. While his opening rounds of 83 and 75 prevented him from qualifying for the final two rounds, the reception the 65-year-old American received from the crowd and other players left nobody in any doubt about the special place he held in the sport's annals.

      The one major championship to have eluded Palmer during his career was the PGA, which in 1995 returned to the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. It produced another play-off, this time between Steve Elkington of Australia and Scotland's Colin Montgomerie. Elkington scored a final-round 64, but Montgomerie birdied the last three holes for a 65 and a matching 17-under-par total of 267. Unlike the Daly-Rocca play-off, Elkington and Montgomerie went into sudden death, and at the first hole Elkington, fifth in the Masters and sixth in the British Open, made a 7.6-m birdie putt, while Montgomerie, also seeking his first major, missed from 6.1 m.

      Montgomerie, who also lost a play-off for the 1994 U.S. Open, did win another close affair, however, becoming the leading money winner on the European tour for the third successive season. He went into the final event, the Volvo Masters at Valderrama, Spain, just behind his fellow Scot Sam Torrance and holed a one-metre putt on the final green to take second place. It gave him record official earnings of £ 835,051 against Torrance's £755,706.

      In the Ryder Cup competition at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., the U.S. players built a 9-7 lead in the foursomes and fourballs, and as they had lost the singles only once since 1957, few foresaw that the final day would conclude as it did. Europe, however, produced a stirring comeback. With 3 of the 12 singles contests left, the U.S. still held the lead, but England's Nick Faldo came from one down with two to play to beat Curtis Strange, and then Philip Walton of Ireland defeated Jay Haas on the final green. In Pavin the U.S. had the most successful player, four points out of a possible five, but every one of the European players enjoyed at least one win, and their 14 1/2-13 1/2 victory was a personal triumph for captain Bernard Gallacher—after eight defeats as a player and two as captain.

      The Toyota World Match Play championship at Wentworth, Surrey, England, was successfully defended by 1994 champion Ernie Els of South Africa. Another trophy to remain in the same hands was the Heineken World Cup. The event broke new ground for top-level golf by being held in China at the Mission Hills Club in Shenzhen, but the story remained the same. Fred Couples and Davis Love III won for the U.S. for the fourth time in a row and, as in Puerto Rico in 1994, they finished 14 shots ahead of their nearest challengers, this time Australians Robert Allenby and Brett Ogle.

      The history maker in the women's competition was Sweden's Annika Sorenstam, who became the first player, male or female, to be the leading money winner in both the U.S. and Europe in the same season. Sorenstam won the U.S. Women's Open at the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs, Colo., by one stroke from Meg Mallon of the U.S. with a two-under-par total of 278 and finished the Ladies' Professional Golf Association tour with $666,533. On the Women's Professional Golfers' European Tour, Sorenstam won two tournaments, was joint runner-up behind Karrie Webb of Australia in the Weetabix British Women's Open, and earned £130,324. Webb's victory was an extraordinary one. A professional for only 10 months, she had rounds of 69, 70, 69, and 70 on the par-73 Woburn course in Milton Keynes, England, to win by six shots.

      Sorenstam's success overshadowed another superb season by England's Laura Davies. Four victories in Europe, including the Guardian Irish Holidays Open at St. Margaret's, Dublin, by a tour-record 16 strokes, and two in the U.S. left Davies in second place on both circuits, but she did remain at the top of the world rankings throughout the year.

      The outstanding players at the amateur level were Eldrick ("Tiger") Woods of the U.S. and Scotland's Gordon Sherry. Woods, still only 19, retained his U.S. amateur title at the Newport (R.I.) Country Club, while the 21-year-old Sherry, runner-up in 1994, won the British Amateur at the Royal Liverpool club, Hoylake, England. The Walker Cup match at Royal Porthcawl in Wales brought the two together as leaders of their teams. Great Britain and Ireland won the tournament 14-10, only their fourth victory over the U.S. in a series dating back to 1922. (MARK GARROD)

▪ 1995

      In 1994, for the first time, not one U.S. golfer won any of the world's four major championships. Nick Price of Zimbabwe (see BIOGRAPHIES (Price, Nick )) took both the British Open championship at Turnberry, Scotland, and the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) championship at Tulsa, Okla. José-María Olazábal of Spain captured the Masters at Augusta, Ga., and Ernie Els of South Africa won the United States Open championship at Oakmont, Pa.

      It was a notable season for Price. He led the Sony world rankings for the first time and was leading money winner on the American PGA tour for the second successive year, with earnings of $1,499,927, against the $1,330,307 won by Greg Norman of Australia. Price was also the first man since Tom Watson in 1982 to collect two consecutive major titles. Watson that year won both the U.S. and British Open championships.

      It was not, however, a year bereft of U.S. success. Fred Couples and Davis Love won the World Cup at Dorado, P.R.—for the third successive year—with a record score of 536 (Couples 265, Love 271) for the 72 holes. This was 14 strokes ahead of Zimbabwe, which was represented by Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone.

      The U.S. also defeated the rest of the world in an inaugural President's Cup match played at Lake Manassas, Wash., along Ryder Cup lines but excluding players from Europe. The margin was a very comfortable 20-12. Additional success was gained by the U.S. women professionals, who regained the Solheim Cup from Europe 13-7 at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.

      No individual approached the performance of Price, who gained seven victories during the year. In addition to the PGA, he won four other tournaments on the U.S. tour: the Honda Classic, the Southwestern Bell Colonial, the Motorola Western Open, and the Bell Canadian Open. Earlier in the year he had also taken the ICL International on the South African circuit.

      Price had twice before come close to winning the British Open, losing a three-stroke lead to Watson at Royal Troon in 1982 and being beaten only by an exceptional last round by Severiano Ballesteros at Royal Lytham in 1988. The chances were that Price would suffer a similar fate at Turnberry, for Jesper Parnevik of Sweden, who was playing ahead of him, was three strokes ahead standing on the last tee. Price reduced the gap with a birdie three at the 16th, however, and, just after Parnevik had scored one over par on the 18th, the Zimbabwean sank a huge putt at the 17th for an eagle three. This gave him a lead that, this time, he held. Price had rounds of 69, 66, 67, 66 for a 72-hole total of 268, one shot ahead of Parnevik.

      Price's victory in the PGA was much more conclusive. He played golf of the very highest standard and with rounds of 67, 65, 70, and 67 for a total of 269 finished six strokes ahead of Corey Pavin of the U.S.

      Earlier in the year Olazábal, who had tended to live in the shadow of fellow Spaniard Ballesteros, at last realized one of his ambitions by winning the Masters. After an indifferent opening round of 74, he followed with scores of 67, 69, 69 for a total of 279. He finished two strokes ahead of Tom Lehman of the U.S., who had never won a tournament on the PGA tour. Lehman nonetheless summoned the bravest of challenges. He was particularly unlucky with a number of putts over the last few holes.

      A star was born in Els. Though he had demonstrated precocious talent as an amateur, his victory in the U.S. Open was only his second outside his homeland, the other having been in the Japanese Dunlop Phoenix tournament in late 1993. His U.S. Open was achieved, however, only after a three-way play-off with Loren Roberts of the U.S. and Colin Montgomerie of Scotland.

      The three of them tied after 72 holes with scores of 279, Els with rounds of 69, 71, 66, 73, Roberts with 76, 69, 64, 70, and Montgomerie with 71, 65, 73, 70. The unusual aspect of Els's victory in the play-off was that he dropped four strokes in the first two holes, taking a five at the first and a seven at the second. However, he finished the round in 74 to tie Roberts again, Montgomerie having been eliminated with a 78, and then won the championship at the second extra hole of a sudden-death play-off.

      Later in the year Els also won the Toyota world matchplay championship at Wentworth, Surrey, England, beating Montgomerie in the final by four and two. He also won the inaugural Gene Sarazen World Open in Atlanta, Ga.

      Montgomerie's disappointment on both these occasions was compensated by the fact that for the second consecutive year he was leading money winner on the PGA European tour. He won three tournaments—the Peugeot Spanish Open, the Murphy's English Open, and the Volvo German Open—and was consistently in the top half dozen, so much so that his prize money of £ 762,719 set a record.

      One of the surprises of the year was Canada's victory in the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St. Andrews, Scotland. Very much one of the outsiders, Canada defeated the U.S. 2-1 in the final. Dave Barr beat Tom Kite with a 70 to a 71, and Ray Stewart did the same to Fred Couples with a 71 to a 72. In the other game Rick Gibson lost to Curtis Strange, taking 74 against a 67.

      If Price had an outstanding year, so too did Laura Davies, the first British woman professional to top the U.S. Ladies' Professional Golf Association (LPGA) money list. Her earnings totaled $687,201. She also finished the year far ahead in the world rankings. Her seven tournament victories included the Thailand Open; the Standard Register Ping tournament, the Sara Lee Classic, and the McDonald's LPGA championship in the U.S.; the Irish and Scottish opens in Europe; and the Itoen in Japan.

      Davies' one disappointment was not to have helped Europe keep the Solheim Cup. But, after the honours were shared through the first two days, the U.S. women showed that they had the greater strength in the singles, in which they won 8 of the 10 matches. Including fourballs and foursomes, the final match result was U.S. 13, Europe 7.

      Patty Sheehan, one of the members of that successful U.S. team, won the U.S. Women's Open championship. It was her second victory in three years, and her score of 277 at Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Lake Orion, Mich., for the 72 holes tied the championship record. She finished one stroke ahead of Tammie Green.

      The British Open was won by Liselotte Neumann of Sweden. Her total of 280 at Woburn, Bedfordshire, England, was three strokes better than that of Dottie Mochrie, who played a considerable, if at times controversial, part in the Solheim Cup victory of the U.S., and Annika Sorenstam of Sweden. Neumann also topped the Women's Professional Golfers' European Tour with winnings of £102,750.

      A very good future prospect may have emerged in Tiger Woods, the U.S. amateur, who won the U.S. amateur championship at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. At 18, he was the youngest champion and also the first African-American golfer to win the title. Moreover, he did it in the most thrilling manner, six down at one point, four down at lunch, and still four down with six holes to play. But he won each of those remaining holes to defeat Trip Kuehne by two up.

      Woods was also a member of the team that ended five years of frustration for the U.S. by winning the world amateur team championship for the Eisenhower trophy at Paris. Woods, Allen Doyle, John Harris, and Todd Demsey had a four-round aggregate of 838.

      The U.S.'s women amateurs also won the team championship in Paris. Sarah Ingram, Carol Thompson, and Wendy Ward scored 569 for the 54 holes. Ward had already become U.S. amateur champion by defeating Jill McGill by two and one at Hot Springs, Va.

      The British women's amateur championship was won by Emma Duggleby, who defeated Cecilia Morgue d'Algue of France by three and one at Newport, Wales. Lee James of England took the British men's amateur championship, beating Gordon Sherry of Scotland by two and one at Nairn, Scotland. (MICHAEL WILLIAMS)

▪ 1994

      The golfing wheel of skill, as opposed to fortune, turned decisively back to the United States in 1993. The partial supremacy that Europe had enjoyed through the 1980s was ended as Americans dominated competition on a number of fronts. They retained the Ryder Cup at the Belfry, winning on British soil for the first time since 1981; won the World Cup for the second successive year; regained the Alfred Dunhill Cup; held very easily on to the Walker Cup; and, in the hands of Corey Pavin, recaptured the Suntory World Matchplay Championship for the first time since 1979.

      Europe, on the other hand, could claim only limited success. Nick Faldo of the U.K. remained, as he had been all year, at the head of the Sony world rankings, while Bernhard Langer of Germany won the Masters Tournament at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club for the second time in his career.

      Two of the world's four major championships, the United States Open and the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) tournament were also won by Americans—Lee Janzen and Paul Azinger, respectively. In the British Open, however, there was a welcome return to form by Greg Norman of Australia.

      The major confrontation between the U.S. and Europe was in the Ryder Cup, where each was represented by the best 12 players from their respective professional tours. Since 1983 the tournament had been very evenly contested, with the U.S. winning three times, Europe twice, and one match tied. During this period the overall points tally was Europe 85 1/2, U.S. 82 1/2; in five of those six matches, no more than two points separated the two sides.

      This was again the case in 1993, with the U.S. winning 15-13 and the result in doubt until the final hour. Europe had enjoyed a one-point lead at the end of the first day, increased it to three halfway through the second, but by nightfall was back to just a one-point lead with 12 singles matches to come.

      Europe's ultimate defeat was to a large extent due to the failure of its best players to win a single point. Faldo and Ian Woosnam both halved their games against, respectively, Azinger and Fred Couples, but Severiano Ballesteros, against Jim Gallagher, Langer, against Tom Kite, and Jose-Maria Olazabal, against Raymond Floyd, at 51 the oldest player to have appeared in the match, all lost.

      This said a great deal for the American resolve under the captaincy of Tom Watson. Even so, Europe was still tantalizingly close to victory, the two turning points being the three-hole lead Barry Lane lost to Chip Beck with only five holes to play, followed by Costantino Rocca of Italy, who was one up with two to play, also losing to Davis Love.

      It is worth stating that there was no prize money in the biennial Ryder Cup. Conversely, there was £ 1 million at stake in the Alfred Dunhill Cup, a medal match-play event annually held at St. Andrews, Scotland. Yet the latter, contested by teams of three from all parts of the world, remained very much the subsidiary competition. Couples and Payne Stewart were again on duty for the U.S., supplemented by the big-hitting John Daly. They headed their qualifying group and, in bitterly cold October weather, defeated Sweden in the semifinals and then England, the defending champion, by 2-1 in the final. The strong man of the side was Couples, who won all five of his games and was 15 under par for 90 holes—remarkable golf in such conditions.

      In much higher temperatures at Lake Nona, Orlando, Fla., a month later, Couples was in fine fettle for the Heineken World Cup (originally the Canada Cup) and, with Love, retained the trophy they had won a year earlier in Madrid. Between them, they were 20 under par for the four rounds, with both players' scores counting in the tournament's format, and they won by five shots from Zimbabwe, which was represented by Nick Price and Mark McNulty.

      Among the spectators at the World Cup, held in his hometown, was Pavin, who a few weeks earlier had won the Toyota World Matchplay championship at Wentworth, Surrey, England. In the final he defeated Faldo, the favourite, by one hole. In the earlier rounds he had beaten Peter Baker of England, Price of Zimbabwe, and Colin Montgomerie of Scotland. Against Faldo, Pavin was two up with three holes to play but lost both the 16th and 17th in the 36-hole match. However, on the 18th Faldo hit his second shot into a bush and lost the hole to Pavin's par five. Pavin was the first U.S. winner of the tournament since Bill Rogers in 1979.

      This was far from being Faldo's only disappointment in a frustrating year. Though he kept his place at the head of the world rankings, the major honours eluded him, and he was even overtaken in Europe's last tournament of the year, the Volvo Masters, by Montgomerie in the race to become the year's leading money winner. Faldo had led in this competition since the British Open in July, but Montgomerie, a consistent player who had earlier in the year won the Dutch Open, rose from fifth to first place by taking the Volvo Masters in impressive style. He had official earnings of £613,682 for the year. There was also something of a surprise on the U.S. tour as Price, the 1992 PGA champion, won four tournaments, three of them in a row, to finish as leading money winner with $1,478,557.

      Faldo's biggest disappointment was his failure to retain his British Open championship at Royal St. George's, Sandwich, Kent, though in most years his golf would have been good enough to have done so. Tied with Pavin for first place with 18 holes to play, he then shot a 67 and still lost by two strokes. This was the result of some exceptional golf by Norman, whose last round of 64 was the lowest ever by a British Open champion. He was also the first British Open champion to break 70 in every round—66, 68, 69, 64 for a record aggregate of 267—as he took golf on to what Faldo described as "a new level."

      Norman's only previous major tournament victory had been in the British Open of 1986, but he nearly added a third, losing the PGA at the Inverness Golf Club near Toledo, Ohio, only in a play-off to Azinger after they had tied at 272 for the 72 holes. It was Azinger's first major title. Defeat for Norman meant that he had now lost play-offs for the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and the PGA. Faldo was third in the PGA, a stroke behind, and was an accumulative 22 under par for that event and the British Open without winning either.

      Langer's second victory in the Masters at Augusta National was impressively gained as he won by four strokes from Beck of the U.S. Langer had scores of 68, 70, 69, 70 for an 11-under-par total of 277. Janzen, one of the more promising U.S. players, broke 70 in all four rounds of the U.S. Open at the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., and with a total of 272 won by two strokes from Stewart.

      The U.S. gained an overwhelming 19-5 triumph in the Walker Cup at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn. It was the biggest margin of victory since the format was changed in 1965 from 36-hole matches to 18. The youngest amateur team ever selected by Great Britain and Ireland was overwhelmed by the more experienced U.S. players.

      One of the outstanding American contributions in the Walker Cup came from John Harris, who at the age of 41 was making his first appearance in the tournament. A week later he achieved the even-greater distinction of winning the U.S. amateur championship at the Champions Golf Club near Houston, Texas, where he beat Danny Ellis by five and three. Among the players defeated in the earlier rounds was Iain Pyman, a member of the British Walker Cup team. He had won the British amateur championship at Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland, when he defeated Paul Page at the first extra hole of an outstanding final.

      Lauri Merten won the U.S. Women's Open championship at the Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., with rounds of 71, 71, 70, 68 for a 72-hole total of 280, one stroke ahead of Donna Andrews and Helen Alfredsson. But the leading money winner on the Ladies' Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour was Betsy King with $595,992.

      Karen Lunn of Australia had the double distinction of winning both the Weetabix British Women's Open at Woburn, Bedfordshire, England, and leading the Women Professional Golfers' European Tour (WPGET) money list. In the Open she had rounds of 71, 69, 68, 67 for a total of 275, eight strokes ahead of Brandie Burton of the U.S. Lunn's earnings for the year on a tour that was affected by the recession amounted to £ 81,266.

      Jill McGill won the U.S. women's amateur championship when she defeated Sarah Ingram in the final by one hole at San Diego, Calif. The British women's amateur title went to Catriona Lambert, the Scottish champion, who beat Kirsty Speak of England by three and two at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, Lancashire.

      Patty Sheehan (see BIOGRAPHIES (Sheehan, Patty )), winner of the Mazda LPGA championship in Bethesda, Md., became the 13th golfer to be inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame. (MICHAEL WILLIAMS)

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      pocket-billiards game named for its similarity to the original outdoor stick-and-ball game of golf. In the billiards version, each player tries to play an assigned object ball into the six holes, or pockets, of the table, beginning with the left side pocket and moving in clockwise rotation around the table. The object balls are respotted after each hole is completed, and the player who completes the “course” in the lowest number of strokes is the winner.

      Each player begins with the cue ball on the centre spot and the object ball on the foot spot. The player's first shot of the game must rebound off the foot cushion before contacting the object ball. If the shot is missed, the player continues from wherever the cue ball comes to rest. On subsequent holes the object ball is replaced on the foot spot, but the cue ball is played from where the previous player left it. These shots need not be banked. Other rules are similar to those of pocket billiards.

 a cross-country game in which a player strikes a small ball with various clubs from a series of starting points (teeing grounds) into a series of holes on a course. The player who holes his ball in the fewest strokes wins. The origins of the game are difficult to ascertain, although evidence now suggests that early forms of golf were played in the Netherlands (Netherlands, The) first and then in Scotland.

      From a somewhat obscure antiquity, the game attained worldwide popularity, especially in the 20th century. Nothing is known about the early game's favourite venues on the European continent, but in Scotland golf was first played on seaside links with their crisp turf and natural hazards. Only later in the game's evolution did play on downs, moorland, and parkland courses begin. Golfers participate at every level, from a recreational game to popular televised professional tournaments. Despite its attractions, golf is not a game for everyone; it requires a high degree of skill that is honed only with great patience and dedication.


      The origin of golf has long been debated. Some historians trace the sport back to the Roman game of paganica, which involved using a bent stick to hit a wool- or feather-stuffed leather ball. According to one view, paganica spread throughout several countries as the Romans conquered much of Europe during the 1st century BC and eventually evolved into the modern game. Others cite chuiwan (ch'ui-wan) as the progenitor, a game played in China during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and earlier and described as “a game in which you hit a ball with a stick while walking.” Chuiwan is thought to have been introduced into Europe by traders during the Middle Ages. However, upon close examination, neither theory is convincing.

      Other early stick-and-ball games included the English game of cambuca (a term of Celtic origin). In France the game was known as chambot and may have been related to Irish hurling and Scottish shinty, or camanachd, as well as to the French pastime (derived from an Italian game) of jeu de mail. This game was in turn exported to the Low Countries, Germany, and England (where it was called pall-mall, pronounced “pell mell”).

      As early as 1819 the English traveler William Ousely claimed that golf descended from the Persian national game of chaugán, the ancestor of modern polo. Later, historians, not least because of the resemblance of names, considered the French cross-country game of chicane to be a descendant of chaugán. In chicane a ball had to be driven with the fewest possible strokes to a church or garden door. This game was described in the novels of Émile Zola (Zola, Émile) and Charles Deulin, where it went by the name of chole.

      Chicane closely resembled the game of kolf, which the Dutch golf historian J.H. van Hengel believed to be the earliest form of golf. Many traditions surround the game of kolf. One relates that it was played annually in the village of Loenen, Netherlands, beginning in 1297, to commemorate the capture of the killer of Floris V, count of Holland and Zeeland, a year earlier. No evidence supports this early date, however, and it would seem to be a clear anachronism.

      Based on the evidence, it may well be that golf came into being only a little before the 15th century. It may be conceived as a domesticated form of such medieval games as football, in which the size of the goals and the ball was radically reduced and in which, as a consequence, the element of violence had to give way to the element of skill. Seen from this perspective, golf would be the result of the process of civilization as described in the work of German-born sociologist Norbert Elias.

Scots as inventors: a popular fallacy
      For many years it was believed that golf originated in Scotland. This belief rested on three references in Scottish acts of Parliament from the second half of the 15th century. In a resolution of the 14th Parliament, convened in Edinburgh on March 6, 1457, the games of football and golf (“futbawe and ye golf”) were banned with a vengeance (“utterly cryt done”). This ban was repeated in 1471 when Parliament thought it “expedient [th]at…ye futbal and golf be abusit.” In a resolution passed in 1491, football, golf, and other useless games were outlawed altogether (“fut bawis gouff or uthir sic unproffitable sports”). In addition, these texts enjoined the Scottish people to practice archery, a sport which might be put to good use in defending the country.

 In more recent times the validity of these sources has been called into question on two grounds. First, pictorial evidence now seems to point to a continental European origin of golf. The earliest golfing picture is a miniature in a book of hours formerly owned by Adelaïde of Savoy, the duchess of Burgundy. Executed about the middle of the 15th century (Chantilly, Musée Condé, MS 76), it predates the earliest of the Scottish sources quoted above. The miniature from Adelaïde's book is, in turn, the forerunner of the well-known example from a book of hours in the British Library that is ascribed variously to the workshops of two Flemish artists, Simon Bening (c. 1483–1561) and Gerard Horenbout (Ghent-Bruges school) (c. 1465–1541), both of whom were active in the Ghent-Bruges school in the first half of the 16th century. There is yet another miniature, from the book of hours of Philip I (the Handsome), the son of Emperor Maximilian I (Colegio Real de Corpus Christi, Valencia). Created in 1505, one year before Philip's death, it shows golfers in the process of swinging and putting.

      In addition to the books of hours, there are engravings that highlight golf. Playing Monkeys, by Pieter van der Borcht (1545–1608), features a monkey taking a swing at a teed ball, and Venus, Protectress of Lovers, by Pieter Janszoon Saenredam (1597–1665), shows, in the margins of a picture of an embracing couple with Venus and Cupid, some people playing games such as football and golf. The latter work is a copy of an earlier work by engraver Hendrik Goltzius (Goltzius, Hendrik) (1558–1617).

      The earliest known scenes depicting golf in Scotland are found in two paintings dated 1680 (or 1720) and 1746–47. The earlier work is an oil painting by an unknown artist who depicted a gentlemen foursome and two caddies against the backdrop of the town of St. Andrews. The second, a watercolour by the Englishman Paul Sandby (1725–1809), shows a squad of soldiers fighting over a golf ball in the shrubbery at the foot of Edinburgh Castle.

      As to the Scottish acts of Parliament, the difficulty there lies in the uncertainty concerning the meaning of the term golf in 15th-century Scotland. In the equally controversial debate about the origins of cricket, British historian Eric Midwinter pointed out that a sport's provenance cannot be proved by a mere textual reference to a game unless the context and the meaning of the reference are exactly known:

Thus, by the strictest definition of historical evidence, we require both the name, and its [being attached] to some description which is recognizable cricket, before it is safe to talk about the origin of the game.

      The Scottish sources fail to meet this standard for the origins of golf.

      As early as 1360 the magistrate of Brussels issued an ordinance according to which anyone caught playing a similar club-and-ball game was threatened with a fine of 20 shillings or confiscation of his upper garment (“Item. wie met coluen tsolt es om twintich scell' oft op hare ouerste cleet.”). While it seems plausible that met coluen (which is the dative plural of colve, of which kolf, meaning “with clubs,” is a variant) yielded the Scots loanword golf, it is clear from the verb tsollen (from the French souler, “to play football”) that the text envisaged the rough competitive team game of soule played with a curved stick.

      That on the Continent kolve primarily denoted a hockey stick becomes evident from the Boek van Merline (1261), poet Jacob van Maerlant (Maerlant, Jacob van)'s translation of Robert De Boron's Livre de Merlin, in which young Merlin is engaged in a game of soule à la crosse (hockey). Where in the French source Merlin viciously hits one of his playmates with a crosse (a hockey stick), in Maerlant's Flemish version the word used is kolve. Proof that golf in Scotland had exactly the same meaning as its Flemish counterpart kolve comes in The Buik of Alexander the Conqueror, a translation, by Sir Gilbert Hay (c. 1460), of the medieval Roman d'Alexandre. In Hay's French source, Alexander the Great had received a ball (estuef) and a hockey stick (crosse) from the king of Persia. In his Scots version, Hay rendered crosse into golf-staff and further alludes to the stick as a means with which to chase the Persian emperor and his lords to and fro like a ball in a hockey match. Such a description leaves hardly any doubt that in 15th-century Scotland the term golf primarily referred to a fiercely contended team game, and this accounts for its being banned in the acts of Parliament quoted above.

      A continental origin of golf is also suggested by a linguistic analysis of golfing terms and a recently discovered Dutch description of golf from the first half of the 16th century. Golf historians have long surmised that the terms tee and stymie are based on the Dutch word tuitje (a diminutive of tuit, meaning “snout”) and the phrase stuit me (meaning “hinders me”), but these derivations have been questioned on phonological grounds and therefore have never been accepted by historical dictionaries. However, a Dutch origin of tee is still plausible, as a variation of the Flemish tese, meaning “target” (as in curling); the word originally referred to the hole but eventually came to mean a “pile of sand taken from the hole.” There are also good reasons to posit a Dutch origin for the words putt (from putten, “put into a hole”) and bunker (a possible back-formation of bancaert kolve).

      However, the source most likely to tip the scales in favour of a Dutch origin is a phrase booklet written by a Dutch schoolmaster, Pieter van Afferden, or Petrus Apherdianus (1510–80). The book, Tyrocinium latinae linguae (Recruits' Drill in the Latin Language; 1545), was intended to impart a knowledge of Latin in everyday situations by matching Latin phrases with Dutch ones. This source predates the earliest Scottish description of golf—the 1636 Vocabula by Scotsman David Wedderburn—by almost a century. Its remarkable feature, however, is that in a chapter titled “De Clauis Plumbatis” (“On the [Game with the] Leaded Clubs”) it is much more explicit than other early sources. In the Tyrocinium the club is indeed called a kolve, and the game as such is referred to as kolven (the infinitive of a verb used as a noun). This confirms that the Scots word golf is indeed based on kolve or kolf. In the course of a dialogue in this text, the fictitious players also give the first indication of the existence of rules. For instance, a golfer who misses the ball is said to lose the right to strike (wastes a stroke); to step onto the teeing ground before it is one's turn is against the rules because a certain order of play has to be adhered to; a player must be allowed to swing freely, necessitating that other players step back; a golfer is not allowed to stand in the light of his partner; and, lastly, in order to putt, the ball has to be struck—merely pushing it is forbidden and is called a knavish trick. The hole, however, is called not a put but a cuyl. Generally speaking, then, the Tyrocinium proves that, by the middle of the 16th century, golf in the Netherlands was a firmly established and rather sophisticated game.

Golf in Scotland
      Despite the likelihood of a continental origin of golf, King James IV (James IV), who had prohibited the hockeylike game of golf earlier (in 1491), nevertheless became the first authenticated player of “real” golf. That royalty were the leaders of this new sporting fashion is to be expected. The route of transmission to Scotland was likely to have been Flemish traders and craftsmen who had found employment at the Scottish court.

      The lord high treasurer's accounts for the years 1502, 1503, and 1506 include payments for the king's “golf clubbis and ballis” and other equipment during stays at Perth, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews. In addition, the entry for the year 1506 specifies the amount of three French crowns lost by the king in a golfing bet (betting on the outcome of games was widespread in the Middle Ages).

      The Stuarts also gave the game its first woman golfer— Mary, Queen of Scots, who was charged with playing in the fields beside Seton only a few days after the murder of her husband, Lord Darnley (Darnley, Henry Stewart, Lord). The contemporary account of the queen's misconduct also makes it clear that at the time a golf club was still called a golf in Scotland. The fact that in Scotland golf counted royalty among its followers and the fact that the first pictorial representations of the game are to be found in books of hours owned by members of the continental high aristocracy suggest that from the middle of the 15th century there are two games to distinguish: one was kolve/kolf, a variety of hockey that was popular with townspeople and the peasantry, and the other was golf, the preserve of the upper crust of society. However, there is no evidence of the existence of the latter in Scotland much before the 16th century.

Development of golfers' associations
Early British (United Kingdom) societies
      There is another provenance story that says James I introduced golf to Blackheath in 1608, long thought to be the year the historic royal Blackheath Golf Club was founded. Although King James and his courtiers played golf somewhere in the vicinity, it is doubtful whether any organized society then existed, and research has set the earliest date of such a society nearly two centuries later. W.E. Hughes, editor of the Chronicles of Blackheath Golfers, ascribes the club's foundation to 1787.

      The oldest club with documentary proof of its origin is the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, now the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, whose modern home is at Muirfield in East Lothian. Its genesis was a move by a group of players to hold a competition or tournament. In 1744 “several Gentlemen of Honour skillful in the ancient and healthfull exercise of Golf” petitioned the Edinburgh city council to provide a silver club for annual competition on the links of Leith. The Society of St. Andrews Golfers, now the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A), Scotland, was formed in 1754 by a group of 22 golfers who played there. The rules that the society adopted were almost identical to the Edinburgh Gentlemen Golfers' rules. These two clubs played major roles in the development of the game in Scotland. Eventually the R&A became, by common consent, the oracle on rules. In 1919 it accepted the management of the British Open and Amateur championships. The R&A thus became the governing body for golf in the British Isles and throughout most of the Commonwealth.

      With the birth of the Royal North Devon Golf Club in 1864, golf took a firm foothold in England. The Devon club was the first course on seaside links outside Scotland. The Royal Liverpool Golf Club was established in 1869 on a rabbit warren at Hoylake. In its infancy players simply cut holes with their penknives and stuck feathers in them for the guidance of those who were coming behind. The rabbits were the greenskeepers. By 1870 the club was fairly established, and members played matches against players from clubs such as Blackheath and the Royal North Devon Club at Westward Ho!. The Royal Liverpool Club hosted Great Britain's first Amateur Championship in 1885 and the first English Amateur Championship in 1925. The first Scotland-England amateur match was organized in 1902, and it was at Hoylake in 1921 that an unofficial contest between British and U.S. players, a curtain-raiser to the Amateur Championship, was played and served as the genesis of the Walker Cup series.

      The following advertisement, which appeared in James Rivington's gazette in New York on April 21, 1779, clearly refers to golf:

To the GOLF PLAYERS: The Season for this pleasant and healthy Exercise now advancing, Gentlemen may be furnished with excellent CLUBS and the veritable Caledonian BALLS, by enquiring at the Printer's.

      The South Carolina and Georgia Almanac of 1793 published, under the heading “Societies Established in Charleston,” the following item: “Golf Club Formed 1786.” The Charleston City Gazette and Daily Advertiser of September 18, 1788, reported: “There is lately erected that pleasing and genteel amusement, the KOLF BAAN.” However, this perhaps pointed to the existence of an indoor facility for the Dutch game of kolf, a variety of the French jeu de mail mentioned above. Later notices dated 1791 and 1794 referred to the South Carolina Golf Club, which celebrated an anniversary with a dinner on Harleston's Green in the latter year. Although these fragments constitute the earliest clear evidence of golf clubs in the United States, the clubs appear to have been primarily social organizations that did not survive the War of 1812.

      The first permanent golf club in the Western Hemisphere was the Royal Montreal Golf Club, established in 1873. The members played on Fletcher's Fields in the city's central area until urban growth compelled a move of some miles to Dixie, a name derived from a group of Southern refugees who arrived there after the U.S. Civil War. The Royal Quebec Golf Club was founded in 1874; the Toronto and Niagara, Ontario, clubs in 1876; and the Brantford, Ontario, club in 1879. In the meantime, golf was played experimentally at many places in the United States without taking permanent root until, in 1885, it was played in Foxburg, Pennsylvania. The Oakhurst Golf Club in West Virginia, which later became the Greenbrier Club, is said to have been formed in 1884; and the Dorset Field Club in Dorset, Vermont, claims to have been organized and to have laid out its course in 1886, although in both instances written records are lacking. The Foxburg Golf Club has provided strong support for the claim that it was organized in 1887 and is the oldest golf club in the United States with a permanent existence. Foxburg also claims the oldest American golf course.

      Golf as an organized game in the United States, however, usually is dated from the founding of the St. Andrew's Golf Club at Yonkers, New York, in 1888. Its progenitor was John Reid, a Scot from Dunfermline who became known as “the father of American golf.” Reid, on learning that fellow Scot Robert Lockhart was returning to the old country on business, asked him to bring back some golf clubs and balls. This done, Reid and his friend John B. Upham tried them out on February 22, 1888, over an improvised three-hole layout. That fall, five men formed the club, and in the spring they moved to a course in an apple orchard. There, it is said, they hung their coats and a jug of good Scotch whisky in a convenient apple tree, and they subsequently became known as the “Apple Tree Gang.” The club made its final move in 1897 to Mount Hope in Westchester county, New York.

      Other early courses included Newport, Rhode Island (1890); Shinnecock Hills on Long Island (1891); and the Chicago Golf Club (1892) at Wheaton, Illinois. The Tuxedo Golf Club in New York, founded in 1889, met the Shinnecock men in 1894 in what has been assumed to be the first interclub match in the United States. The Newport club staged an invitational tournament for amateurs in September 1894, and in October the St. Andrew's club promoted a similar competition. These were announced as championships, but that was questioned because the events were each promoted by a single club and on an invitational basis. It was from the controversy roused by these promotions that the United States Golf Association (USGA) was instituted in 1894. Its aims were to organize the U.S. Amateur and Open championships and to formulate a set of rules for the game. The founding fathers, two from each club, were from St. Andrew's, Shinnecock Hills, Chicago, the Country Club at Brookline, and Newport. The U.S. national championships—the Amateur, the Women's Amateur, and the Open—were inaugurated in 1895.

Other countries
 Before organized clubs had been established in North America, colonies of British settlers, merchants, and civil servants carried golf with them. India has the oldest club outside Great Britain; the Royal Calcutta Golf Club was founded in 1829, and the Royal Bombay Golf Club came about 12 years later. The Royal Calcutta initiated an amateur championship for India, and the two clubs paved the way for many in East Asia. The Royal Bangkok Golf Club (1890) was first housed in an ancient temple. Golf came to China when the Shanghai Golf Club was formed in 1896, until which time the game was apparently unknown outside Hong Kong. The Japanese (Japan) a few years later constructed a course at Kōbe. The Tokyo Golf Club was founded in 1914. With the boom in the popularity of the game in Japan after World War II, players came to be numbered in the thousands, despite the fact that the shortage of open land made the game enormously expensive to play. The first club in Australia, the Royal Adelaide Golf Club, was formed in 1870, and it is believed that the game was played in Melbourne in 1847 but went into abeyance for nearly half a century, the gold rush having taken priority over golf for the settlers. New Zealand origins have been dated from the formation of the Christchurch Golf Club in 1873. South Africa's (South Africa) first course was at the Maritzburg Golf Club in Natal in 1884, though the Royal Cape Golf Club (1885) has been rated as the country's senior club.

      On the European continent the first golf course was laid in France at Pau in 1856. Until 1913, when the count of Gallifet was admitted as a member, the club “Golf de Pau” remained the preserve of Scottish residents at the foot of the Pyrenees, some of whom were descendants of Wellington's army. Biarritz Golf Club came into being in 1888, and Cannes Golf Club was founded by the “King of Cannes,” the Russian grandduke Michael, in 1891. The French golf federation, the Union des Golfs de France, was inaugurated in 1912. In Germany, golf was first played by English tourists in spas such as Bad Homburg and Wiesbaden. The first golf club in Germany, Berlin Golf Club, now Golf- und Landclub Berlin-Wannsee, was founded in 1895 and run by Anglo-Saxons. The German Federation (Deutscher Golfverband) was established in Hamburg in 1907. In Switzerland the first golf course, in Davos, was planned in 1895 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who after its completion was annoyed by the fact that cows enjoyed chewing up the red flags that marked the greens.

Development of equipment
      How the ball is hit and directed is the essence of golf. The changing story of the ball's manufacture falls broadly into well-defined phases, beginning with the “feathery,” which was used for centuries until it was superseded by gutta-percha.

The history of the golf ball

The feather-ball (feather) era
      For many years golf balls were made from wood, but in the early 17th century feather balls were introduced and were hailed as an advance. “Featheries” were manufactured by compressing boiled feathers into the pieces of stitched leather that composed the cover. For stuffing in the feathers a wooden tool was first used, after which the stuffing iron had to complete the job. When the leather case was crammed beyond increase, the hole was stitched up and the case left to dry; then the ball was hammered and made as round as possible and painted white. The whole process was so slow that the maker did well to finish four balls in a day, so that they cost as much as five shillings each. Although the feathery could be hit a long way, it became sodden and disabled in wet weather and was destroyed by hacks from iron clubs, and thus the balls were short-lived as well as expensive.

The gutta-percha era
       gutta-percha, the evaporated milky juice or latex of various South American and South Pacific island trees (especially those of Malaysia), is soft and impressible at the temperature of boiling water but becomes hard and nonbrittle and retains its shape when cooled. It is not affected by water except at boiling temperature. In the mid-1840s it was discovered to be a substance ideal for the easy and efficient manufacture of golf balls; the manufacturing process consisted simply of boiling a strip of gutta-percha, molding it into a spherical shape, and allowing it to dry.

      It took a few years, however, for the potential of the “gutty” to be realized. The first prototypes were smooth as billiard balls; they were difficult to get airborne and tended to duck (drop) quickly in flight. It was soon discovered that ball flight improved tremendously once the ball acquired the nicks, cuts, and scuff marks that resulted from a round of play. Ball makers learned to mold balls with raised or indented surface patterns, thus ensuring proper flight.

      The emergence of the gutta-percha in 1848 brought about a revolutionary change in the game. The professionals had divided views, however. At St. Andrews Allan Robertson, a leading manufacturer of feather balls, would have nothing to do with gutties at first; but “Old Tom” Morris (Morris, Thomas), who was then his assistant, wisely foresaw the possibilities of the new ball, and on this issue the two actually parted company in 1852, Morris going into business on his own (he returned to St. Andrews in 1859, after the death of Robertson). The ball was heartily welcomed by the golf community, not least for its economy (cost: one shilling each), and its coming immediately swelled the golfing ranks.

The rubber ball
      The beginning of the 20th century introduced a new ball and a new era. The U.S. patent of the three-piece rubber ball—the invention of Coburn Haskell, a golfer from Cleveland, and Bertram G. Work of the B.F. Goodrich Company—involved a tension-wound rubber thread around a solid rubber core. The new design allowed for a ball that flew and rolled farther than a gutty; it was also easier to hit and gave its striker a greater sense of power. Older men found it easier to play, and hosts of women and children were drawn into the game. Early concerns as to the controllability of the rubber ball were quelled when the 1901 U.S. Amateur and the 1902 U.S. Open and British Open were won by players using the Haskell ball, defeating opponents playing gutties.

      Early rubber balls were covered with a layer of gutta-percha molded into a pattern of bumps (called a “bramble pattern”) that covered the entire surface. The Spalding company introduced a ball covered with balata, a natural rubber, in 1903; it proved more durable and easier to control than gutta-percha. Experiments with ball design also revealed that balls with indentations produced better results than balls with bumps (in that they reduced the drag on a ball's surface by increasing turbulence in flight), and in 1905 the dimpled cover was patented by England's William Taylor. A number of ball varieties then appeared from manufacturers catering to the golfer's desire to hit the ball farther. Length was the lure, and the trade race upset the design of courses. Championship and other tees had to be sited farther back.

      Another factor that greatly increased the popularity and playability of golf was the introduction of the golf tee, patented in 1899 by George F. Grant, one of the first African American golfers. Previously players forged a tee from a pinch of wet sand or used other early tees made from cardboard, rubber, or steel. Grant's invention increased the average player's chances of getting the ball airborne.

The 1.62 formula
      Shortly after World War I the R&A enacted what is called the “1.62 formula”—that the ball should have a maximum weight of 1.62 ounces (45.93 grams) and a minimum diameter of 1.62 inches (4.11 cm). For two years the USGA tried a ball which weighed 1.55 ounces (43.94 grams) and was 1.68 inches (4.27 cm) in diameter, but in 1932 it reverted to a weight of 1.62 ounces while retaining a diameter of 1.68 inches. This larger-sized American ball was ruled mandatory by the British Professional Golf Association in 1968 and replaced the smaller ball throughout the world by 1980.

      By the turn of the 21st century, golf balls still conformed to the above standards, although a host of new designs were available. Traditional three-piece balata-covered balls were still popular, but golfers could also choose from two-piece balls (with a solid core and a hard Surlyn cover), two-piece “performance” balls (with thicker cores and thinner covers, allowing for the feel and control of a three-piece ball), and three-piece double-cover balls (consisting of an inner core covered by two layers of varying hardness). Experiments in the size, depth, and arrangement of dimples have also produced balls with longer flight and a higher degree of backspin. Modern golf balls can have anywhere from 324 to 492 dimples arranged in sophisticated patterns, such as multiple triangular or pentagonal groups.

      A major challenge for ball manufacturers is to produce improved products that still conform to USGA standards. A ball that would travel 600 yards (550 metres) is more than possible, but such a ball would not conform to the USGA's edict of 1942, which limited the velocity of a golf ball to 250 feet per second at impact. Nevertheless, ball makers have great flexibility in terms of materials used, dimple patterns, and size and weight (providing this design conforms to the standards of size and weight) and are free to design any ball that takes advantage of such leeway.

The history of the club

Early clubs
      Early specimens of clubs with lead-alloy shells, as described by Pieter van Afferden in the 16th century (see above), came to light in 1970 when the Dutch East Indiaman Kennemerland, sunk off the Shetland Islands in 1664, was excavated. Previously the oldest clubs known were discovered in a house in Hull, England, along with a newspaper carrying a date of 1741.

      In the British Golf Museum at St. Andrews there are specimens of ancient clubs including two woods and an especially notable putting cleek—i.e., a putter having an iron head on a wooden shaft—made in the second half of the 18th century by Simon Cossar of Leith, club maker to the Company of Gentlemen Golfers. When Allan Robertson (see above) of the R&A saw that golfing would not be ruined by the gutta-percha ball, he realized the value of iron clubs for approach shots and made a cleek for steadier putting. Other developments included “Young Tom” (son of “Old Tom”) Morris's (Morris, Thomas, Jr.) idea for the cup-faced niblick (what would be a nine iron in today's parlance) for playing the shorter approaches.

      The club makers of outstanding repute in the early 19th century were Hugh Philip at St. Andrews and the McEwan brothers of Musselburgh, notably Douglas, whose clubs were described as models of symmetry and shape. They were artists at a time when clubs were passing from “rude and clumsy bludgeons” to a new and handsome look.

Manufacturing methods
      The hickory shafts of the woods—the play club (modern driver), the spoons, and the brassie—had been spliced to heads of apple or beech faced with horn. The harder rubber ball, however, brought about the use of persimmon wood and, later, laminated club heads. Hard insets appeared in the faces. Increased demand led to the adaptation of shoe-last machine tools for the fashioning of wooden club heads. Sockets were bored in the club heads, and shafts were inserted rather than spliced. Drop-forging completely replaced hand forging in the fashioning of iron clubs, and faces were deepened to accommodate the livelier ball and were machine-lined to increase the spin on the ball in flight. Composition materials were developed as an alternative to leather in grips, and the grip foundations were molded in so many ways that they were regulated in 1947. Inventive minds created novel clubs, not only centre-shafted and aluminum putters and the sand wedge but also types that were such radical departures from the traditional form and make that they could not be approved by the USGA or the R&A. In its revised code of 1908 the R&A ruled that it would not sanction any substantial departure from the traditional form and make of golf clubs. This principle has been invoked many times since then.

      Improvement of the shaft was accompanied by the general introduction of numbered, rather than named, clubs and by the merchandising of matched sets rather than individual clubs. Clubs had become more numerous and more finely graduated than the names that traditionally had been applied to them (brassie, spoon, niblick, mashie, etc.), and shafts could be manufactured to specifications for flexibility and point of flex. Whereas formerly a golfer seeking new clubs went through a rack of mashies until he found one that “felt right” and then tried to find other clubs of similar feel, he later bought a whole set manufactured to impart the same feel. The merchandising opportunities inherent in the numbered and matched sets were carried to an extreme, and in 1938 the USGA limited the number of clubs a player might use in a round to 14. The R&A concurred in a similar edict the next year.

      Experiments with steel shafts went through several phases. In 1924 the Union Hardware Company of Torrington, Connecticut, U.S., drew a seamless shaft of high-carbon steel that could be heat-treated and tempered. It was approved by the R&A in 1929 and substantially replaced hickory in the early 1930s. In the 1960s aluminum shafts had a brief spurt of popularity; shafts of fibreglass, graphite, and titanium were introduced into the game in the decades thereafter. By the 1970s the technique of investment casting, a method of casting rather than forging to enhance the perimeter weighting of iron clubs, was commonplace, and a decade later “woods” made of metal were in widespread use by tournament professionals. The stainless-steel club heads of the 1980s gave way to titanium (a lightweight, extremely hard metal) heads in the 1990s. By the turn of the 21st century, the conversion to metal-head “woods” was near-complete. Virtually all touring professionals used them, and the term metals was gradually replacing woods in golf parlance.

Players and tournaments
      There is no doubt that the development of golf as an organized sport was distinctly British, and Britain produced the first great players of the game. As the early golfing associations, or clubs, became established in Scotland and then England, there emerged a group of professionals who made golf balls, fashioned and repaired clubs, laid out and maintained courses, and gave lessons. Many of them were outstanding golfers and would take on all comers in the popular stakes (money) matches of the day. Allan Robertson of St. Andrews, for example, was regarded as the greatest golfer of his time and, according to legend, was never beaten in a stakes match played on even terms (that is, without giving his opponent a handicap). The British professionals and their amateur counterparts represented the best golf in the world from the second half of the 19th century, when the sport began to gain some world prominence, up to about the 1920s, when American players began to excel. With the tremendous increases in financial rewards to be gained in golf during the latter half of the 20th century, especially on the U.S. professional tour, and with the great mobility provided by jet transportation, golfers from other countries (e.g., Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, Fiji, Spain, and Argentina) began to appear in the top tournaments.

The premier championships
 The most prestigious tournaments for nonprofessionals are the Amateur Championships of the United States and Great Britain. For professionals the coveted “grand-slam” tournaments are the Masters (Masters Tournament), the U.S. Open (United States Open Championship), the British Open, and the Professional Golfers' Association (Professional Golfers' Association of America) (PGA) Championship. The Players Championship has also steadily gained in popularity and prestige, to the extent that it has earned the unofficial designation of a “fifth major.” The Walker Cup for amateurs and the Ryder Cup for professionals are important team golfing tournaments that have pitted American golfers against those of Europe.

British (British Open) tournaments and players
 The Open Championship of the British Isles, which the British like to call the Open to emphasize the tradition and priority of the event begun in 1860, was the concept of the Prestwick Club in Scotland, whose minutes recorded a proposal that all clubs should contribute to raise a fund for a trophy for professional competition. Their hope, however, was badly disappointed, and the offer of support was so meagre that Prestwick decided to go it alone and spent 30 guineas on the ornamental challenge belt to be awarded to the champion. The early championships were dominated by Willie Park, “Old Tom” Morris (Morris, Thomas, Jr.), and his son, “Young Tom,” who retired the belt by winning it three times in succession, 1868–70. In the absence of a prize, there was no championship in 1871; but the next year a cup, which has been in competition ever since, was put up.

      At the end of the 19th century, England was producing great players. John Henry Taylor (Taylor, John Henry) and Harry Vardon (Vardon, Harry), together with James Braid (Braid, James), a Scotsman, among them won the Open Championship 16 times between 1894 and 1914. These three supreme golfers were known as “the great triumvirate” and were primarily responsible for the formation of the Professional Golfers Association in 1901. This body is responsible for professional tournaments in Great Britain and for the biennial Ryder Cup match (for professionals) when it is played there.

      The British Amateur Championship was started in 1885 after the Royal Liverpool Golf Club at Hoylake had proposed a tournament “open to all amateur golfers.” The tournament attracted nearly all the best amateurs of the time, but it was not immediately recognized as the championship. The following year the Royal Liverpool suggested to the R&A that the tournament be established as the Amateur Championship, and 24 clubs joined together to purchase a trophy and manage the event. Among British players who won the Amateur Championship at least two times before the series was interrupted by World War I were H.G. Hutchinson, John Ball (who won it eight times), J.E. Laidlay, and H.H. Hilton. The interwar years were marked by many outstanding players, including Cyril Tolley, Amateur champion in 1920 and 1929; Roger Wethered, Amateur champion in 1923; and Scots Hector Thomson, Jack McLean, and A.T. Kyle.

      The Ladies' Golf Union in Britain was formed in 1893. The first Ladies' British Amateur Championship was held that year on the old St. Anne's course in England. One of the first outstanding woman golfers was Dorothy Campbell, who won the Ladies' British Amateur Championship in 1909 and 1911 and was runner-up in 1908. She won the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship in 1909, 1910, and 1924 and the Canadian championship in 1910, 1911, and 1912. Among the many notable women who played championship golf between the wars were Joyce Wethered (Wethered, Joyce) (Roger Wethered's sister) and Cecil Leitch, each of whom won the Ladies' British Amateur title four times.

U.S. tournaments and players
 The first official U.S. Open (United States Open Championship), Amateur (United States Amateur Championship), and Women's Amateur championships were held in 1895. Walter J. Travis (Travis, Walter) was the first great American golfer. He proved his ability as a golfer by winning the U.S. Amateur (1900–03) and the British Amateur (1904, the only year he entered this event) titles. Jerome D. Travers, the next great American champion, was a player with indomitable courage and nerve that rarely failed him. He won the U.S. Amateur Championship (1907–08, 1912–13) and the U.S. Open title (1915).

      After World War I the influence of the many Scottish golfers who had emigrated to the United States became evident. American golfers virtually monopolized the British Open Championship until the mid 1930s. From the 1920s into the 1980s American teams dominated the Walker Cup and Ryder Cup matches, as American women golfers did the Curtis Cup tournament from its inception in the 1930s.

      American golfers had begun to show their prowess in 1913, when Francis Ouimet (Ouimet, Francis) became a national hero by defeating Vardon and Edward Ray, two of the best British professionals, for the U.S. Open. Also notable was Charles (“Chick”) Evans (Evans, Chick), who was the first golfer to win the U.S. Open and Amateur in the same year (1916). But Bobby Jones (Jones, Bobby) has been regarded as the greatest amateur golfer of modern times. His career was brilliant from his debut in national competition in the U.S. Amateur of 1916 until his unparalleled performance in 1930 of winning all four of the world's most difficult titles—the British Amateur, the British Open, the U.S. Amateur, and the U.S. Open.

      The popular appeal of the U.S. Amateur Championship has been seriously weakened by departures to the professional ranks, however, and it has become exceptional for an Amateur champion to resist the lure of tournament money. In the late 1930s the professional circuit, underwritten by civic and club organizations throughout the country, began putting up major prize money for the experts. In 1936 aggregate prize money totaled $100,000. By 2000 the PGA was offering more than $135,000,000 in prizes annually.

      The first outstanding American professional golfers were Walter Hagen (Hagen, Walter) and Gene Sarazen (Sarazen, Gene). Hagen, a colourful and stylish player known as “The Haig,” is credited with raising the social standing of golfers. His record of 11 major tournament victories ranks second on the all-time list. Sarazen attained a career grand slam—that is, he won the U.S. Open, British Open, the PGA Championship, and the Masters Tournament during the course of his career. (It should be noted that when Bobby Jones won a grand slam during the 1930 season, the four tournaments that constituted the grand slam were different; the British Amateur and U.S. Amateur tournaments would be supplanted by the PGA Championship and the Masters.) Dominant players of the 1940s included Sam Snead (Snead, Sam), Ben Hogan (Hogan, Ben), Byron Nelson (Nelson, Byron), and Jimmy Demaret. Snead, one of golf's most humourous and ingratiating players, was recognized for the easy grace of his natural, self-taught swing. His 81 PGA Tour victories still stand as the all-time record for men (Kathy Whitworth (Whitworth, Kathy) holds the record for the most tour wins, with 88 in the Ladies Professional Golf Association). Equally dominant was Hogan, who in many ways was the polar opposite of Snead. An aloof, intense player nicknamed “the Hawk,” Hogan possessed a swing regarded as technically perfect and almost machinelike in consistency. Critically injured in an auto accident in 1949, Hogan was not expected to walk, let alone play golf, again, but he adhered to a rigorous exercise program and returned to the game within a year. His fragile legs allowed him to play only a limited schedule, but many feel that Hogan played his best golf after his comeback. In 1953 he became the first player to win three major tournaments (the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the British Open) within a single season.

 Golf steadily increased in popularity throughout the 20th century, becoming something of a worldwide phenomenon in the late 1950s and early '60s. The catalyst for this was Arnold Palmer (Palmer, Arnold). Handsome, charismatic, and possessing an exciting, go-for-broke style of play, Palmer was the perfect star for the new age of television coverage in golf. A major drawing card at tournaments, his legions of fans became known as “Arnie's Army.” He became the first player to win four Masters Tournaments, which he accomplished in every even-numbered year from 1958 to 1964.

 His popularity was such that many resented the arrival of the comparatively dour Jack Nicklaus (Nicklaus, Jack), who turned professional in 1962 and was soon to dominate the game. In time, however, Nicklaus captured the hearts of golf fans throughout the world and came to be regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game. A career grand-slam winner, Nicklaus holds the all-time record of 18 victories in the major professional tournaments. He achieved his final major victory at age 46 in the 1986 Masters, regarded as one of the most memorable and emotional moments in golf history.

      Also dominant during the 1960s and '70s were the South African Gary Player (Player, Gary) (another career grand-slam winner) and the Americans Billy Casper and Lee Trevino (Trevino, Lee). Other outstanding players of these and the following decades included Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros, José Maria Olazabal, Davis Love III, and Vijay Singh.

      By the 1990s it seemed inconceivable that any single player would come along to challenge Nicklaus's dominance, Palmer's popularity, or Hogan's precision. The inconceivable happened in 1997 with the emergence of Tiger Woods (Woods, Tiger). Heavily touted in the press for years as a child prodigy (he is reported to have shot 48 for nine holes at age three), Woods at age 21 fulfilled his promise by winning the 1997 Masters with a record score of 270 and by a record margin of 12 strokes. At his young age he was already one of the most powerful and disciplined players in golf history, his game exhibiting no weaknesses in any area. Woods went on to achieve within the next four years what many top golfers can only dream of accomplishing within a lifetime. At age 24 he utterly dominated the U.S. Open and British Open tournaments of 2000 and became the youngest player to achieve a career grand slam. He scored his second Masters victory in 2001, thus becoming the first to hold all four major professional titles simultaneously, an accomplishment regarded as one of the great feats in the history of professional sports. Before Woods's arrival, it would have seemed absurd to tout so young a player as the greatest in the game's history, yet he has been afforded such praise by the likes of Nicklaus, Snead, and other veteran players. That he is of African American and Asian descent is also significant in that, within a few short years, he almost single-handedly transformed a game that once seemed the domain of white males into one that is now enjoyed by all ethnic groups. He is perhaps the perfect embodiment of golf's potential in the 21st century.

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA)
 Several professional tournaments for women were staged during the 1920s and '30s; important players from this era include Glenna Collett (Vare, Glenna Collett) from the United States and Joyce Wethered (Wethered, Joyce) of Great Britain. It was not until the 1940s that efforts began in earnest to form a professional golf organization for women. The first, the Women's Professional Golf Association (WPGA), was chartered in 1944. Standout players soon emerged, including Patty Berg (Berg, Patty), Louise Suggs (Suggs, Louise), Betty Jameson, and, especially, the multisport legend Mildred (“Babe”) Didrikson Zaharias (Zaharias, Babe Didrikson). Even Zaharias's popularity, however, could not ensure success for the WPGA, which folded in 1949. Nevertheless, it proved within its brief existence the need for a professional women's organization.

      The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) was incorporated in August 1950 by the aforementioned golfers plus eight others. Funding for LPGA tournaments was at first so poor that golfers themselves performed many of the organizational tasks and course maintenance chores. Soon, however, the introduction of the Weathervane series of tournaments (a series of four 36-hole tournaments that offered a $3,000 prize for each tournament and a $5,000 prize for the overall winner of the four) proved sufficiently popular to sustain the organization throughout the decade.

      The play of such outstanding golfers as Kathy Whitworth (Whitworth, Kathy), Mickey Wright (Wright, Mickey), Carol Mann, Sandra Haynie, and Sandra Palmer helped maintain a reasonable level of popularity for the LPGA throughout the 1960s. Star players who emerged during the following decade include Jan Stephenson, Jo-Anne Carner, Amy Alcott, and Judy Rankin. The most notable player to emerge during the '70s was Nancy Lopez, who, by winning nine tournaments (including a record five straight) during her first full season on the tour (1978), was a major force in increasing the popularity and prestige of the LPGA.

 Pat Daniel, Betsy King, Patty Sheehan, Juli Inkster, and Laura Davies were among the top players of the 1980s and '90s. By the turn of the century, when the annual purse for LPGA events had increased to more than $37 million per year, the tour was dominated by such players as Karrie Webb, Annika Sorenstam, and Se Ri Pak. Sorenstam made headlines in 2001 by becoming the first female golfer to score 59 in competition and by becoming only the fourth player in LPGA history (after Whitworth, Wright, and Lopez) to win four consecutive tournaments.

International competition

Matches and tournaments
      The first organized series of regular international matches were between Great Britain and the United States. The amateur team match between the two countries for the Walker Cup was inaugurated in 1922, and the professional team match for the Ryder Cup in 1927. The women's amateur team match for the Curtis Cup began in 1932. Although the competition in all these contests has often been close, the U.S. teams managed to win the cups with great consistency. In an attempt to bring parity to the Ryder Cup, the format was changed in 1979 to broaden the British team to include continental European players as well. This strategy has proved successful, and subsequent Ryder Cup matches have been fiercely contended, with both teams exhibiting excellent play. Between 1979 and 2000 the United States won six times and Europe four times, while one match (1989) ended in a tie.

      The coming of jet transport stimulated competition. Ocean hopping became routine, enabling outstanding players from such places as South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji, Spain, Japan, and Korea to compete in the premier championships in Great Britain and the United States and on the lucrative U.S. PGA Tour. Since being launched in 1971, the PGA European Tour has grown in terms of prestige and prize money to the extent that American players are frequent participants. By the turn of the 21st century, professional golf was a worldwide phenomenon, with players of various nationalities competing on multiple international tours.

The Senior PGA Tour
      Also popular is the Senior PGA Tour, designed for golfers 50 years of age and up. Begun in the early 1980s, its total purse was $10 million within a few years, and it had swelled to some $50 million by 2000. Although veterans such as Nicklaus, Palmer, Trevino (Trevino, Lee), Rodriguez, and Irwin were no longer competing with the young men of the PGA Tour on a daily basis, they extended their competitive careers into the 21st century with the Senior PGA Tour, demonstrating some excellent golf in the process.

Play of the game

 The game consists of playing the ball from a teeing ground into a hole by successive strokes in accordance with the rules. The stipulated round consists of 18 holes, and most golf courses have 18. Standard 18-hole courses measure from 6,500 to 7,000 yards (5,900 to 6,400 metres); individual holes are from 100 to 600 yards (90 to 550 metres). Some courses have only nine holes; these are played twice in a stipulated round. The clubs are designed for the various positions in which the ball may come to rest and for the various distances to the hole. The objective is to hole the ball in the fewest strokes.

      In the early 19th century there was no agreement on the number of holes on a golf course; localities differed widely in the matter. When the popularity of Leith, with its five holes, waned and St. Andrews became the hub, the round of 18 holes was established. Originally the St. Andrews holes filed straight out alongside the shore and were played in reverse for the return journey—11 holes each way. In 1764 the round was modified to 18 holes. The variety of courses gives golf an intrinsic charm.

Golf balls
      Regulation balls have a maximum weight of 1.62 ounces (45.93 grams) and a minimum diameter of 1.68 inches (4.27 cm). In U.S. competition the velocity of the ball may not exceed 250 feet per second when measured under prescribed conditions on an apparatus maintained by the USGA, but there is no velocity specification for British play.

      In the average good player's set there are usually either 3 or 4 wood clubs and 9 or 10 irons (no more than 14 clubs may be carried during a round). No two clubs in a set are the same. There are differences in length and suppleness of shaft, weight, size, and shape of head, the angle at which the shaft ends and the head begins (the lie), and the angle of the face of the club from the vertical (the loft).

      The various clubs are known both by number and by name. The number of a club largely designates its length and the pitch of its head, which translates into the distance and height a club will drive a ball. Generally, the lower the number, the greater the distance potential; distance decreases and pitch (thus height) increases progressively as club numbers go up. The woods (or metals) are mostly used for driving the longer distances. Sources differ on the name equivalency of the numbered clubs, but the most widely used clubs may be identified as follows:
● Woods: number 1 (driver), number 2 (brassie), number 3 (spoon), number 4 (baffy), and number 5 (replaces number 3 or 4 iron).
● Irons: number 1 (driving iron), number 2 (midiron), number 3 (mid-mashie), number 4 (mashie iron), number 5 (mashie), number 6 (spade mashie), number 7 (mashie-niblick), number 8 (pitching niblick), number 9 (niblick), number 10 (wedge), and putter (carries no number).

      The rule-making bodies for golf are the R&A and the USGA. They attempt to perpetuate uniformity in rules by exchanging views on interpretations and on recommendations for revision. The present code makes an amazing contrast with the first rules, 13 in number, that were framed by the Honourable Company (Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers). The first of them ordained that the ball had to be teed within a club length of the previous hole and the tee had to be on the ground. Tee and green were one. The ball struck from the tee was not to be changed, and the player could (rule 5) take his ball out of water or “watery filth” to play it and allow his opponent a stroke. The St. Andrews golfers, in founding the R&A, adopted almost exactly the Leith rules. There were periodical reforms before the rules committee of the R&A was formed in 1897 to become the final authority.

      The rules committee has co-opted representatives from the Commonwealth, the European Golf Federation, the United States, and the British Unions Advisory Committee. Britain and the United States have had separate codes at various times, but a uniform code went into effect in 1967.

      The rules of golf define an amateur golfer as “one who plays the game solely as a nonremunerative and non-profit-making sport.” But the elasticity of this definition perturbs the game's legislators for what it does not define. The whole question of status in its various aspects engages the attention jointly of the R&A and the USGA. In general, an amateur remains so until and unless he takes specific action toward becoming a professional, even though he might have indicated his intention of becoming a professional in the future.

      The starting place for each hole to be played is the teeing ground. The front is indicated by two markers, and the teeing ground is the rectangular space two club lengths in depth directly behind the line indicated by the markers. The player tees his ball anywhere within this space, usually setting it up on a small wooden or plastic peg (called a tee), and strikes it toward the hole. The stroke from the teeing ground is called the drive. For this the player usually employs a number 1 wood club, or driver, although, to avoid a hazard or to attempt to place his ball in a favourable position for his second shot (for example, on a long hole with a sharp bend, or dogleg), he may prefer one of the other woods or an iron. On short, par-three holes most players use an iron.

      The preferred line to the hole is generally a clear, mowed route called the fairway. The fairway was historically bordered by unmowed vegetation—heather, grasses, weeds, bushes—called rough. Most modern courses in the United States, however, are not characterized by deep and tangled rough and when inland make effective use of trees. At strategic places along the preferred line to the hole and guarding the putting green are obstacles called bunkers, depressions filled with sand (sand traps). Some holes require the player to cross streams or ponds. Both bunkers and bodies of water are termed hazards.

      Middle irons are used until the player has come within close range of the green. Two methods of play are then open for the approach shot: the golfer may pitch the ball all the way and depend on backspin to stop it near the pin, or he may play a chip shot, in which the ball flies partway through the air, as to the edge of the close-clipped surface of the green, and then rolls the remaining distance.

      The hole itself measures 4.25 inches (10.8 cm) in diameter and at least 4 inches (10.2 cm) deep, and it is set in an area of turf especially prepared and maintained and closely mowed for putting. When the player putts, he uses a straight-faced club and rolls the ball across the putting green toward and eventually into the hole.

Forms of play
Match and medal play
      There are two distinct forms of play: match play and stroke (medal) play. In match play the player and his opponent are playing together and competing only against each other, while in stroke play each competitor is competing against every other player in the tournament. In match play the game is played by holes, and each hole is won by the player who holes his ball in the fewest strokes. If both players score the same number of strokes, the hole is halved. When a player has won one more hole than his opponents, he is said to be one up. The match is won by the player who is leading by a number of holes greater than the number of holes remaining to be played, as, for example, three up and two to play. In stroke play the competitor who holes the stipulated round or rounds in the fewest total strokes is the winner. Amateur championships once were all at match play, and open championships and most professional events at stroke play, covering four 18-hole rounds. Some amateur events have adopted stroke play (the match play U.S. Amateur event was competed at stroke play from 1965 to 1973), as has the U.S. PGA Championship.

      Stroke play requires a greater degree of consistency in a player, for one hole where he lapses into a high figure can ruin his total and cost him victory. The same high score on a hole in match play means only the loss of that hole. In both match and stroke play, players can compete as individuals or as partners. When two players compete as partners, each playing his own ball, the better ball on each hole is their score for that hole; this is a four-ball or best-ball match. Two players may compete as partners with two others, each pair playing alternate strokes on a single ball; this is a match foursome. The advent of televised championships wrote the death notice for match play in professional golf. By scheduling the leaders together on the final round, exciting finishes are made most probable.

Handicaps (handicap)
      Players of varying abilities compete against each other by using handicaps. A handicap is the number of strokes a player receives to adjust his score to a common level. The better the player, the smaller his handicap, and the best players have handicaps of zero (scratch players). A scratch player whose average score is 70 can have an even match with a player whose average score is 80 by giving him a handicap of 10 strokes. Handicap golf is limited to amateur competitions, and championship tournaments are played without handicaps.

Par golf
      Every course has a par, which is defined as the score an expert (i.e., a scratch player) would be expected to make, and many courses also have a bogey, which is defined as the score that a moderately good golfer would be expected to make. Both par and bogey are further defined as errorless play without flukes and under ordinary weather conditions, allowing two strokes on the putting green. Par is essentially an American term that came into use in the early 1900s as a base for computing handicaps. Bogey is essentially a British term that came into use in England in 1891 and was derived from a mythical Colonel Bogey, who was described as uniformly steady but never overbrilliant. Colloquially in the United States, bogey is used to indicate a score one stroke above par.

Par-three golf
      Par-three golf courses, on which each hole measures 100 yards (90 metres) more or less and plays at par three, were developed as a result of the shortage of available open land in congested urban areas. Whereas a regulation 18-hole course may stretch to more than 7,000 yards, about 4 miles (6.4 km), an 18-hole par-three, or short-hole, course can be laid out in about 1,800 yards (1.6 km).

Driving ranges
      Driving ranges were developed as commercial establishments at which golfers and aspiring golfers could, for a small fee, practice their swings. They, too, have appealed to golfers in areas in which courses are overcrowded and are especially popular in Japan, where such conditions prevail.

Heiner Gillmeister Francis Moran John Ross Goodner Ed.

Additional Reading
Historical surveys include Robert H.K. Browning, A History of Golf (1955, reprinted 1990); and Alan Eliot and John Allan May, A History of Golf (1990, rev. ed. 1994). More specialized histories are Geoffrey Cousins, Lords of the Links: The Story of Professional Golf (1977), and Golf in Britain: A Social History from the Beginnings to the Present Day (1975); and Herbert Warren Wind, The Story of American Golf (2001). Information on women's golf may be found in Roger Vaughan, Golf: The Women's Game (2001). The struggle of African American golfers is told in Pete McDaniel, Uneven Lies (2001). References on the design of courses include Geoffrey S. Cornish and Ronald E. Whitman, The Architects of Golf (1993, rev. ed. of 1981 book entitled The Golf Course); and Geoff Shackleford, The Golden Age of Golf Design (1999). Pat Ward-Thomas, Charles Price, Herbert Warren Wind, Peter Thomson, and Mark Rowlinson, The World Atlas of Golf (1976, rev. ed. 2001), reviews golf courses, the game, and important events in the game's history. Donald Steel and Peter Ryde (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Golf (1975); and Malcolm Campbell, The Encyclopedia of Golf (1991, rev. ed 1994), are highly regarded reference works. For pictorial histories, see Anthony Edgeware and John de St. Jorre, Legendary Golf Clubs of Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland (1998); and Dick Durrance and John Sibley Yow, Golfers (2000).John Ross Goodner Ed.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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