December 31, 2019

Here you are, reading another year-end ranking post. Why? Because 2019 was that good. It really was. There was magic all over the professional landscape this year, from Tiger at the Masters to an absolute cinderella winning the Women’s British Open. Which finishes stood out among the rest? Here is our definitive list.

10. Adam Long holds off Phil Mickelson

Mark this one down under ‘That Happened This Year?’ Yes, Adam Long’s first career victory happened in 2019. Considering one of the greatest players in the history of the game — who had been playing great golf, mind you — was chasing him, it makes his approach and putt all the more incredible. Sorry, Phil. Once in awhile they go the other way.

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A Long shot in the desert. @adamlong.10 birdied the 72nd hole to with The @desert_classic. #LiveUnderPar ?

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9. Keith Mitchell breaks Brooks' heart

Perhaps this was a hint that Brooks Koepka was up to no good again. If so, bravo to Keith Mitchell for fending him off. Mitchell played the treacherous Bear Trap at PGA National in one under to reach the par-5 18th needing a birdie to win and avoid a playoff against Mr. Clutch Koepka. Fairway, layup, wedge, BOOM. His final putt never left the center of the hole, and Mitchell claimed his first career win on Tour.

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@K_M_Mitchell is ATTACKING The Bear Trap. ? #LiveUnderPar

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CLUTCH down the stretch. @K_M_Mitchell with the emphatic finish @TheHondaClassicOfficial. ? #LiveUnderPar

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8. Tiger Woods wins his 5th Masters

Before you crucify me for placing Lord Tiger anywhere but No. 1, recall that he really didn’t finish with his best golf. Woods made bogey on the 18th to win by one after flaring a drive and punching out of the pine straw. But finishes can be great in their symbolism when not so climatic. This was that. Woods finished the greatest comeback in modern sports history. It was the finish of a long, long road, on which there were so many supporters following along. And many legitimate obstacles in his way. No one moment in golf had more people crying than this putt followed by this walk with Woods’ family.

7. Matthew Wolff emerges as a major threat

How could this possibly top Tiger’s heroics? Well, no event pitted three of the game’s youngest stars playing elite golf right on top of each other. And an eagle on 18 to win it? Yeah, that’s an incredible finish. Morikawa and DeChambeau were lights-out on their respective back nines, but Wolff had the last laugh. And he left DeChambeau speechless. Strip away the context of major victories and this was the most entertaining PGA Tour finish in 2019.

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What a finish! A magical moment on the 18th for @matthew_wolff5. #LiveUnderPar

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6. Women's Am is as close as it gets

The U.S. Women’s Amateur final was probably the most tightly contested event of the year. Gabriela Ruffels and Albane Valenzuela played the final 24 holes of their 36-hole match so close, neither took a lead greater than 1 up. For much of it, they were tied, but Ruffels birdied two of the final four holes, and sunk this putt for a tying par on the final hole to win the Women’s Am. Big-time stuff.

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What an unreal finish. What a deserving #USWomensAm champion. #LexusGolf

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5. Sei Young Kim walks (and rakes) it in

No one putt was worth more money than the one made by Sei Young Kim at the LPGA Tour Championship. She may not have known it at the time, or known that it was definitely going in, but it did, and it netted her $1.5 million — the most money ever won in a single LPGA Tour event. The fact that she walked it in somehow made it even better.

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A birdie for $1.5 million‼️?@seiyoungkim_lpga is your 2019 #RaceToCMEGlobe Champion!

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4. Gary Woodland's cherry on top

When you walk-off a major victory from DEEP at Pebble Beach, it doesn’t matter if you won by one, three or seven — you’re making it into this ranking. Woodland did exactly that. From his ridiculous approach on 14 to his crafty chip on 17, all the way to his tournament-ending putt on 18, Woodland played flawless golf to close out his first career major.

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The #USOpen … where champions are made.

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3. A true Cinderella

In what was perhaps the most underrated performance of the golf season, Hinako Shibuno triumphed at the Women’s British Open in — SOMEHOW — her first (!!) career major start. She had demonstrated plenty of game on the Japanese ladies’ tour front, but never on the grandest stage of women’s golf. She did it by ramming her final putt on 18 feet into the back of the jar to hold off Lizette Salas by just a single stroke.

2. Cameron Champ wins it for Grandpa Mack

Spend a little time with Cameron Champ and it’s easy to see how important family is to him. Despite struggling with some swing and health issues throughout the year, Champ summoned a winning performance at the Safeway, not far from where his grandfather — who had taught him the game — was in hospice care. As if those emotions weren’t enough, Champ had to work for it, needing an up-and-down for birdie on the 18th to seal the victory. The rest left us in tears.

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@Cameron__Champ’s father called Grandpa Mack to experience the winning moment with them @safewayopen.

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1. Solheim Suzann makes history

It was the shot of the year, the most intense putt of the year, etc. Pettersen’s 8-foot putt was the ultimate moment in modern golf. Europe vs. the USA. One team reeling, the other charging. Make the putt — which is the perfect length (50 percent chance of a make, 50 percent miss) — and your team wins. Miss and your team loses. A wily veteran player and a captain’s pick who was doubted. She knew it was in before it dropped! Anyone who missed it live missed out on one of the most fantastic golf finishes of the decade and, yes, of all-time, too.

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