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Column: 3 nice years in golf, 2 of them already forgotten

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Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is posing with the trophy for his fourth win of the DP World Tour season after finishing fourth in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Dokoupil)

Rory McIlroy of Northern Eire is posing with the trophy for his fourth win of the DP World Tour season after ending fourth within the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photograph/Martin Dokoupil)

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The PGA Tour’s social media military most likely meant properly.

The tweet it despatched Monday night time celebrated large years by Rory McIlroy and Lydia Ko, and for good motive. Each delivered a few of their greatest, most constant golf. Each gained the factors race on their respective excursions and the trophy for the bottom scoring common. Cash may be skewed. Scores do not lie.

Golf royalty? Certain.

However for the PGA Tour to recommend they “dominated the golf world in ’22” is to dismiss Scottie Scheffler and to disregard Cameron Smith.

It additionally overlooks that neither McIlroy nor Ko gained a significant championship. That is not a prerequisite of an awesome 12 months, but it surely stands out — particularly on the boys’s aspect — when gamers who gained as a lot or extra have a inexperienced jacket or a claret jug to point out for it.

Apart from, the 12 months is not over but.

Smith on Tuesday accepted the keys to his hometown of Brisbane, the place he’s taking part in the Australian PGA Championship. He can be going for his fifth win of the 12 months, with the Australian Open nonetheless to come back subsequent week.

Scheffler closes out his 12 months within the Bahamas towards a 20-man discipline, with all however 4 of them among the many prime 20 on this planet. Nonetheless to be decided is whether or not he has an opportunity to regain the No. 1 rating he had for almost all of the 12 months.

All three had nice years.

McIlroy joined Henrik Stenson as the one gamers to win the factors title on the PGA Tour and the European tour in the identical season.

Stenson performed 10 common European tour occasions when he gained in 2013. McIlroy performed six occasions with out successful, but it surely spoke to the constantly excessive stage he performed all 12 months. Solely as soon as did he end worse than eighth — a tie for twelfth to begin the 12 months in Abu Dhabi.

Within the majors, McIlroy lastly left Augusta Nationwide on a contented observe by holing a bunker shot for a 64 to tie for second (he was 10 again of Scheffler to begin the ultimate spherical). McIlroy had the 18-hole lead on the PGA Championship, was one shot out of the 36-hole lead on the US Open and led after 54 holes on the British Open.

Alongside along with his wins — CJ Cup, Canadian Open, Tour Championship — McIlroy was much more spectacular by taking part in nice golf and being such a powerful voice for the PGA Tour in its combat towards Saudi-funded LIV Golf.

By no means thoughts that McIlroy appeared to increase an olive department after which use it as a swap. He stated the “us versus them” has gotten uncontrolled, after which he stated LIV chief Greg Norman must go as a result of talks can solely occur “with an grownup within the room.”

Even so, his position because the strongest voice for the PGA Tour was one he gladly accepted, and the tour wanted it. And all of the whereas, he was at his greatest late within the 12 months. In his ultimate seven begins, McIlroy had a 67.5 scoring common, by no means completed worse than eighth, had two wins and earned two very large trophies.

Scheffler will get forgotten as a result of he was at his greatest early within the 12 months.

In a span of six begins, he beat 4 of the hardest fields and codecs at Phoenix and Bay Hill, on the Match Play and the Masters. So dominant was he at Augusta Nationwide that he absent-mindedly four-putted the final gap and nonetheless gained by three.

That was his final win of the 12 months, nonetheless probably the most on the PGA Tour. Missed is the playoff loss to an unlikely birdie putt on the Colonial, Scheffler being one putt away from a playoff within the US Open and one swing away from an opportunity to win the FedEx Cup.

He set a report for PGA Tour earnings (which undoubtedly can be damaged subsequent 12 months given the $20 million elevated occasions), was No. 1 for 30 weeks, incomes him the Mark McCormack Award and was voted by his friends — in August — as participant of the 12 months.

Smith already misplaced his parking spot and his membership on the TPC Sawgrass, the value of turning his again on the PGA Tour to affix a brand new league that provides few ensures outdoors of cash. He gave up a shot at being No. 1 on this planet, together with recognition he deserves for the 12 months he had.

On a Plantation course at Kapalua constructed for energy, he took down the No. 1 participant (Jon Rahm) and set a report to par at 34 beneath. He made 10 birdies within the ultimate spherical at Sawgrass to win The Gamers Championship towards the strongest discipline in golf. And on the house of golf, he had one of many best closing rounds in British Open historical past with a 64 to rally previous McIlroy and maintain off Cameron Younger.

In opposition to the 48-man fields over 54 holes at LIV Golf, he missed a playoff by one shot in his debut and gained the following occasion by three.

Scheffler and Smith aren’t thought of “golf royalty” as a result of they’ve spent just one 12 months within the palace. McIlroy — together with Ko, who reached No. 1 when she was 17 — have been round lengthy sufficient for his or her large years to obtain correct plaudits.

It simply should not be on the expense of two others who have been simply nearly as good.

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This story has been corrected to point out that Scottie Scheffler, not Rory McIlroy, was PGA Tour participant of the 12 months.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

This story was initially revealed November 22, 2022 8:35 AM.

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