Despite the Covid-related cancellation of The Open and Ryder Cup postponement, golf in 2020 provided welcome cheer in this largely unfortunate year.
The game was not safe from suffering many other tournaments were lost including the Evian Championship. A women’s major and the senior’s circuit in Europe was washed out.
But as the first professional sport back after the pandemic golf generated a surplus of amazing storylines to delight fans far and wide.
So at a time when many are in need of a mood lift here are 5 reasons why golf made us merry in 2020:
Popov’s Troon triumph
In the one major to be played in the United Kingdom in 2020, Sophia Popov rushed to a thrilling victory at the AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon. Arrived from the LPGA’s feeder circuit ranked only 304 in the world, and departed with one of the most esteemed trophies in the game.
Hail the DJ
Emotions also boiled to the surface for the regularly poker-faced Dustin Johnson as the men’s world number one cruised to a first Masters title and a Green Jacket he desired more than any other trophy.
In scoring terms Johnson’s golf was the best ever seen at Augusta, finishing 20 under par to break the Master’s record by two strokes.
Bryson breaks boundaries
Hard-hitting Bryson DeChambeau attracted attention beyond usual golfing boundaries after spending lockdown bulking up in dramatic fashion.
The 27-year-old American added three stones to his weight in nine months as he improved long driving techniques into the traditional game in a way many thought impossible.
Youngsters breaking through
But there is no stopping the drive of the younger force. This was the first full year in the professional game for Norway’s Viktor Hovland (23) and Americans Collin Morikawa (23) and Matthew Wolff (21).
The talented trio are all compelling to watch and ended 2020 inside the world’s top 15.
England’s Lee Westwood jumped a youthful trend that largely influences the game by showing that experience remains a valuable virtue.
The 47-year-old calmly won in Abu Dhabi at the start of the year and nervelessly claimed the runner-up spot at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship this month to secure a third Race to Dubai title in thrilling style, 20 years after he won his first.
Westwood was voted the circuit’s Player of the Year. Now he looks towards 2021 for a record-equalling 11th Ryder Cup appearance.