NCG’s Alternative Awards 2022: The winners and losers from a bonkers year of golf
Well, what a year it’s been. 2022 is now in the record books and it’s been without doubt the most unforgettable 12 months in the history of golf. The sport reached unforeseen notoriety in 2022 as a certain breakaway league burst onto the seen, igniting a civil war unlike anything anyone expected when there was talk of a ‘Super Golf League’ one year prior.
Amidst the chaos, we then saw some of the most memorable, all-absorbing golf to-date – all nine majors delivering its equal share of insane shots, rare feats, and eye-watering moments.
So, with a crazy 2022 done and dusted, it now seems appropriate to reflect on the winners and losers from a bonkers year on tour. And no, we’re not talking about your cliche, ‘best player’ and ‘best shot’ of the year awards, but the accolades which reflect the true heroes and villains from a mental 2022.
Rounding up the prizes which matter most – from the best up-and-down to the biggest turkey – sit back and enjoy NCG’s Alternative Awards for 2022…
The ‘Not All Heroes Wear Capes’ Award
Winner: Hinako Shibuno
Honourable mentions: Max Homa, Tom Kim
She may have ended the year winless, but that didn’t stop Hinako Shibuno being her usual energetic-self. The exceptionally named ‘Smiling Cinderalla’ gave fans plenty to grin about again this year, signing every autograph in sight on the LPGA Tour while humouring us all with the greatest warm-up in golf…
And, while Homa’s Twitter antics almost saw him claim this award, it was Shibuno’s brilliant reaction to Ashleigh Buhai beating her at the AIG Women’s Open which sees the Japanese sensation just edge it.
The ‘Seve-Esque’ Award
Winner: Adrian Meronk
Honourable mentions: Leona Maguire, Lydia Ko
2022 was rife with its usual share of creative genius, memorable up-and-downs, and miracle shots, but our homage to Seve this year goes to Adrian Meronk’s outrageous par save from the pond at the Dutch Open. Not only did he have no right to recover from such a treacherous spot, but by saving par, Meronk became the first Pole to qualify for The Open, cementing his place at St Andrews in the coolest way imaginable.
The ‘Did They Just Say That?’ Award
Winner: Talor Gooch
Honourable mentions: Tyrrell Hatton, Phil Mickelson
With so much drama, turmoil and court case shenanigans taking place in 2022, our award for the most ridiculous quote wasn’t short of candidates. But despite Tyrrell Hatton’s critique of Augusta, Phil Mickelson’s infamous pipebomb, and Bryson DeChambeau’s bizarre pizza analogy, the accolade goes to Talor Gooch for this clanger at LIV Golf Portland.
“I haven’t played a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup,” the American said. “But I can’t imagine there’s a whole whole lot of difference.”
The ‘Boom, Roasted!’ Award
Winner: Joel Dahmen
Honourable mentions: Shane Lowry, Justin Thomas
Back to Bryson, who’s antics placed himself at the butt of plenty of jokes in 2022. Rope-gate brought its fair share, none better than Lowry’s hilarious jibe, but for pure ingenuity and comedic timing, our award goes to Joel Dahmen for this this gem aimed at the LIV star…
The ‘Keyboard Warrior’ Award
Winners: Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood
Honourable mentions: James Hahn, Eddie Pepperell
It was the most divisive year in golf history, so of course a plethora of keyboard warriors were able to flourish. And, with so much LIV beef going down, we couldn’t pick just one winner. So congratulations Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, Greg Norman’s salty double act who bit more times than we can remember on Twitter this year. From digs to daggers, here are the Englishmen’s highlights…
- Poulter scorns Pepperell in latest Twitter spat
- Westwood ridicules PGA Tour on Twitter
- Poulter rages at DP World Tour on Instagram
- Westwood blasted for ‘sportswashing’ in social media squabble
The ‘In Your Life!’ Award
Winners: Matt Fitzpatrick and Will Zalatoris
Honourable mentions: Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa, Saiki Fujita
Awarded to the most unbelievable moment of 2022, there could only be one winner after the crazy incident involvement Matt Fitzpatrick and Will Zalatoris at the Scottish Open…
See, it wasn’t all LIV Golf in 2022!
The ‘What Are Thoseee’ Award
Winner: Rocco Mediate
Honourable mentions: Justin Thomas, Tony Finau
Now to a series of more unfortunate awards, beginning with the worst outfit spotted in 2022. Step forward Mr Rocco Mediate, for this monstrosity at the Senior PGA Championship…
The ‘Psych!’ Award
Winner: Henrik Stenson
Honourable mentions: Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith
There were more U-turns than Boris Johnson’s government on the PGA Tour as LIV’s defectors caused endless drama in 2022. Brooks Koepka’s shameless switch following his moan at the US Open set the tone, but there can only be one winner after Henrik Stenson sensationally turned his back on the Ryder Cup captaincy.
“Today proves that, sometimes, dreams do come true,” Stenson said after being appointed Team Europe skipper months earlier.
The ‘Jean van de Velde’ Award
Winner: Mito Pereira
Honourable mentions: Danny Willett, Patrick Cantlay
We know we’re cruel for including this one, but no one gets off lightly in NCG’s Alternative Awards, so commiserations Mito Pereira, who takes the hit for biggest collapse after his brutal double-bogey meltdown on the 72nd hole at the PGA Championship.
The ‘All The Feels’ Award
Winner: Tiger Woods
Honourable mentions: Patty Tavatanakit, Nick Faldo
We saw countless winners break down in tears in 2022, accentuating the level of mental pressure which piles on golf’s elite. But in among some wild celebrations and teary interviews, one moment had us all choking up and reaching for the tissues.
We are, of course, talking about Tiger Woods’ emotional walk across the Swilcan Bridge at The Open, his struggles laid bare on the links as he waved goodbye to St Andrews for what looks like the last time in the sport’s oldest major.
The ‘Hang It In The Louvre Award’
Winner: Alan Shipnuck and Greg Norman
Honourable mentions: Jordan Spieth, Harry Higgs
If there’s one photo which sums up LIV’s chaotic first season, and a turbulent 2022, it has to be the infamous snapshot of journalist Alan Shipnuck and Greg Norman – the latter watching on as the author of Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar, was escorted from the league’s London event.
The ‘Biggest Turkey’ Award
Winner: Sergio Garcia
Honourable mentions: Bryson DeChambeau, Evian Championship spectator
Last but not least, our Biggest Turkey Award goes to none other than Sergio Garcia. While this category was by no means short of candidates (see above), the Spaniard claims the wooden spoon for an avalanche of bad looks in 2022.
In what feels like a year long tantrum, Garcia started the season with a spectacular display of petulance at the Wells Fargo Championship, all but confirming he was off to LIV by declaring “this tour is ***” while looking for a wayward ball.
El Nino would then join the breakaway series – fair enough – before unleashing a series of sulks about the Ryder Cup, begging to play in the BMW PGA Championship, moaning that he didn’t feel loved at the BMW PGA Championship, then ditching the BMW PGA Championship… only to be spotted at a Texas football match 24 hours later.
We’re not angry, Sergio. We’re just very, very disappointed.
So there have have it, our 2022 golf awards done and dusted for another year. Which heroes and villains did we miss from our list? What was your favourite moment from the past 12 months? And is there an even bigger turkey than Sergio that we maybe forgot? Let us know on Twitter.
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