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5 issues to be glad about this yr as a golf fan: From Tiger to Lydia

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Golf has by no means had a yr like 2022.

However by the dangerous and the ugly, there’s loads to have a good time as we collect ‘around the desk this time of yr and mirror.

Listed below are 5 issues to be glad about this yr as a golf fan.

Be grateful golf has a whimsical new star.

South Korean Joohyung “Tom” Kim, 20, burst onto the scene this yr whereas taking part in on particular momentary PGA Tour membership. Needing a win on the Wyndham Championship to get into the FedExCup playoffs, Kim laughed off a gap quadruple bogey and have become each the primary participant born within the 2000s to win on Tour and the second-youngest Tour winner since World Warfare II. And Kim did n’t even care to have a look at how a lot his winner’s examine was — similar to his childhood idol, Tiger Woods.

His breakout yr earned Kim a spot on the Presidents Cup’s Worldwide squad, and he stole the present Saturday at Quail Hole, clinching a win over US powerhouse duo Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay. Kim walked off his successful putt and threw his hat to the bottom in a Tiger-esque celebration.

“He is been such an amazing present to our sport,” mentioned Worldwide captain Trevor Immelman. “He has a capability to be a worldwide famous person.”

And Kim was the present he saved on giving. Two weeks after the Presidents Cup, Kim outdueled Cantlay and received the Shriners Kids’s Open, turning into the primary participant to notch two Tour wins earlier than his twenty first birthday since Woods. Kim hopes to maintain tempo together with his boyhood hero in his trajectory to worldwide stardom.

“Tiger has 82 wins on the PGA Tour,” Kim mentioned. “Till I get to 83, it should be onerous for me to assume somewhat totally different.”

Be grateful two of the LPGA’s greatest stars are again at full energy.

In the course of the 2022 season, Nelly Korda and Danielle Kang each obtained troublesome information.

In March, Korda was identified with a blood clot in her proper arm, underwent surgical procedure in April and returned to competitors on the US Ladies’s Open in June. At that occasion, Kang revealed she had a tumor on her backbone and can be out indefinitely.

Kang returned on the CP Ladies’s Open in late August. A month later on the NW Arkansas Championship, she pressured a playoff by holing a 40-yard chip on her 72nd gap, although she ultimately fell to Atthaya Thitikul.

“What I did to get right here to complete, to even contend is a win for me,” Kang mentioned afterward.

In the meantime, Korda had 4 top-10s in her first 5 begins again and returned to the winner’s circle — and being world No. 1 — on the Pelican Ladies’s Championship.

“There was extra downs than ups this yr I believe,” Korda mentioned, “and I believe that that is what makes this (win) a lot sweeter to me.”

Alker’s persistence led to Charles Schwab Cup win

Be grateful for golf’s Cinderella story of 2022.

In August 2021, Steven Alker, 18 days faraway from his fiftieth birthday, Monday certified for the PGA Tour Champions’ Boeing Basic and completed T-7. With the highest 10, the New Zealander acquired into the next occasion after which recorded six straight top-10s earlier than notching his maiden victory. Alker by no means recorded a single top-10 in 122 profession PGA Tour begins.

Nevertheless, Alker wasn’t a one-hit marvel. He received 4 instances in ’22, together with the Senior PGA Championship, which propelled him to say the tour’s season-long Charles Schwab Cup title.

“The strain’s been on [Alker] proper from the beginning of the yr right through,” Padraig Harrington mentioned. “He had a lead and a number of other of us had been catching him all yr. It’s totally spectacular that he is not simply held on, however he is received in fashion.”

Be grateful Lydia Ko is again to her dominance.

In 2021, Ko ended a 1,084-day winless drought. A yr later, she was the LPGA’s Participant of the 12 months.

The 25-year-old received 3 times, secured the Vare Trophy for the second straight yr and claimed the season-long Race to the CME title — however was a hair brief from making historical past.

Lydia Ko misses season cash document by $591; closes in on the LPGA Corridor of Fame

The New Zealander collected $4,364,403 in season earnings — $591 wanting Lorna Ochoa’s all-time document, which she set in 2007.

Nevertheless, Ko is on tempo to quickly attain one other historic feat. Her standout yr put her two factors away from the 27 factors wanted to qualify for the LPGA Corridor of Fame. Inbee Park was 27 when she reached that mark in 2016, and she or he is at present the youngest participant to ever qualify.

If Ko continues her domination in 2023, we (and she or he) may very well be grateful subsequent yr about being the youngest amongst that esteemed LPGA group.

Be grateful for the newest Tiger Woods comeback.

In December 2015, after a collection of accidents, Woods mentioned anything he achieves in his profession can be “gravy.” Nicely, that gravy consists of three wins, together with the 2019 Masters — and his 2022 return tour.

Woods suffered extreme leg accidents in a single-car crash in February 2021 whereas he was recovering from his fifth again process. The 46-year-old will seemingly by no means play a full schedule once more, nonetheless, this yr he was capable of tee it up on a few of golf’s greatest phases. In his first aggressive spherical again since November 2020, Woods shot 1-under 71 on the Masters en route to creating the reduce.

“I do not assume phrases can actually describe that given the place I used to be somewhat over a yr in the past and what my prospects had been at the moment to finish up right here and be capable of play in all 4 rounds,” Woods mentioned after ending forty seventh. “Even a month in the past I did not know if I may pull this off.”

He struggled a bit extra in his subsequent two begins. He made the PGA Championship reduce, however withdrew after Spherical 3 and performed the a hundred and fiftieth Open at St. Andrews, however did not safe a weekend tee time. He is slated to subsequent play in December’s Hero World Problem.

At instances, it could have been onerous to look at Woods, who was clearly compromised. Nevertheless, his mini-return di lui gave golf a number of extra indelible Tiger moments, and at his age di lui — accidents or not — these may very well be scarce, which suggests we’re all grateful for the reminiscences.

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