The biggest lesson to be learned from golf in 2011 was quite simply that the standard of the game and the levels of competition just gets higher and higher, not just in the standards set by the players but also with the tournament organization and TV coverage.
The re-vamped European Tour now known as the Race to Dubai has added a new dimension to European Golf. Although it possibly has some way to go before it begins to attract some of those star names from the US PGA Tour, it is constantly discovering new talent and it should be noted that it is four European players who sit in the top four places in the world rankings.
Top of that list is Luke Donald, who became the first man in golf history to win the money lists on both the US tour and Race to Dubai Tours. Four wins during the year and whole host of top five and top ten finishes, confirmed him not only as the best in the world right now but also by far and away the most consistent.
The young Ulsterman, who sits one place behind Donald in the rankings, Rory McIlroy also enjoyed an unforgettable year. The 22 year old won a first Major at the US Open, where he broke just about every record that is to be broken in that most prestigious tournament. That win came on the back of a hugely unfortunate final round at the US Masters in April where after three rounds McIlroy had decimated the field and the daunting Augusta course. We all know what happened to him in that final round, but the courage he showed from that disaster to win the US Open in such style was actually almost beyond belief. The lesson learned by all golf fans and players is that Rory McIlroy is going to be around at the very top for a very long time. Read the rest of this entry →