Handing out not-so-official hardware

December, 16, 2010

Player of the Year? Been there, debated that. Rookie of the Year? Ditto.

The 2010 golf schedule is finally complete and all of the major season-ending awards have been passed out. Well, almost all of 'em.

Still left are some of the more "unique" awards, but wait no longer. Here are the last of this year's golf awards. We promise.

Five years ago, Jim Furyk went to a playoff in Las Vegas against little-known Wes Short Jr. -- and lost. Since then, the oft-injured Short has made 50 more PGA Tour appearances, making the cut in just 18 of 'em, with zero top-10s. His legacy lives on, though, as the "Wes Short Jr. Award" goes to the biggest unknown to win a PGA Tour title. And the nominees are ...

-- Derek Lamely, who won the Puerto Rico Open.
-- Matt Bettencourt, who won the Reno-Tahoe Open.
-- Bill Lunde, who won the Turning Stone Resort Championship.

And the winner is ... Lamely. The rookie truly is a household name only in his own household.

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Stuart Appleby
AP Photo/The Roanoke Times/Kyle GreenSure, Stuart Appleby shot a final-round 59 to win the Greenbrier Classic on the PGA Tour. But was it good enough to win Jason Sobel's "Sweet'N Low Award" for 2010?

There's nothing sweeter than going low -- and plenty of players shot ridiculously low scores this year. The "Sweet'N Low Award" goes to the player whose ridiculous round was, well, more ridiculous than the rest. And the nominees are ...

-- Stuart Appleby and Paul Goydos, both of whom shot 59 in a PGA Tour event.
-- Ryo Ishikawa, who shot 58 in a Japan Tour event.
-- Bobby Wyatt, who shot 57 in the Alabama Boys State Junior Championship.

And the winner is ... Wyatt. Hey, a number is a number and the 17-year-old tied an all-time record for lowest score in a competitive tournament from at least 6,500 yards.

Annika Sorenstam. Lorena Ochoa. Ever since the Rolex Ranking was first established in early 2006, those two Hall of Fame players were the only ones to reach the top spot. Until this year. When Ochoa followed Sorenstam's lead by announcing an early retirement, that opened up the No. 1 ranking to three other players. The "Annichoa Award" (previous working title: the "Lorennika Award") goes to the player who spent the most weeks atop the ranking during the season. And the nominees are ...

-- Jiyai Shin, who became No. 1 on May 3.
-- Ai Miyazato, who became No. 1 on June 21.
-- Cristie Kerr, who became No. 1 on June 28.

And the winner is ... none of the above. Believe it or not, the player who held the honor for the most weeks from the first of the year through season's end was Ochoa. It seems like she's already been gone for awhile, but Lorena actually led the Rolex list for the first 17 weeks of the year.

Woods. The word has many meanings in the game of golf. It could refer to the club most often used off the tee. Or where those errant tee shots usually wind up.

Or, of course, it could be in reference to a player, as many pros have some form of the word in their names. The "How Many Woods Would a Woodchuck Chuck if a Woodchuck Was Still Playing With Persimmon Clubs? Award" goes to the player with "wood" in his name who had the worst season. And the nominees are ...

-- Lee Westwood, who remained major-less through yet another season, though he did ascend to No. 1 in the world ranking -- a nice consolation prize.
-- Tiger Woods, who endured the first winless season of his career and lost that No. 1 ranking to Westwood.
-- Willie Wood, who competed in two PGA Tour events and earned a grand total of $6,540 -- dead last of the 248 players who cashed a check this year.

And the winner is ... Wood. Hey, with those kind of earnings, the Champions Tour-eligible player needs to win something.

This would probably be the appropriate place for a corny joke about golfers sometimes being wayward drivers. Get it? Golf ... driving the ball ... see, told you it's corny. Anyway, the "NASCAR Award" goes to the player with the best comeback from a wreck. And the nominees are ...

-- Dustin Johnson, after his wayward tee shot on the 72nd hole at Whistling Straits resulted in a penalty stroke to miss out on a playoff at the PGA Championship. He returned to win the BMW Championship four weeks later.
-- Tiger Woods, who crashed into a fire hydrant in front of his home last Thanksgiving.
-- Martin Kaymer, who wrecked a go-kart last year, resulting in three broken bones in his foot and two months on the shelf.

And the winner is ... Kaymer. Winning the PGA Championship might have been the clincher, but this quote of the year candidate didn't hurt, either: "If I'm honest, s--- happens. So it was just unlucky, a very unlucky accident. ... But I'm sure that I will do it again in the future."

From Ian Poulter's flashy duds to Davis Love's casual coolness, golfers and fashion often walk hand-in-hand. Of course, sometimes that's not such a good thing. The "Janet Jackson Award" goes to the worst wardrobe malfunction of the year. And the nominees are ...

-- The U.S. Ryder Cup team, for its lavender cardigans.
-- The U.S. Ryder Cup team, for its patches on hats, shirts and sweaters.
-- The U.S. Ryder Cup team, for its rainsuits that weren't waterproof.

And the winner is ... the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Big surprise, huh? But while eschewing the ol' red, white and blue, and outfitting its players in what looked like leftovers from the Memorial Day youth soccer tournament were embarrassing, this award was clinched for the leaky jackets that forced PGA of America officials to hunt through the merchandise tent for ones that didn't, you know, malfunction.

At the 1968 Masters, Roberto De Vicenzo had apparently reached a playoff, during which he was to compete for the green jacket. Instead, he signed an incorrect scorecard and assessed himself the due penalty, leaving him as runner-up. Forty-two years later, this season was marred by more penalties at the upper levels than any in recent memory. Incorporating De Vicenzo's famous post-round comment, the "What a Stupid I Am! Award" goes to the player who incurred the worst penalty. And the nominees are ...

-- Dustin Johnson, who famously grounded his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship.
-- Ryuji Imada, who mistakenly took so many illegal drops at the Mission Hills Star Trophy in China that he added 26 penalty strokes.
-- Ian Poulter, who dropped his ball on the green during a playoff in Dubai, flipping his ballmarker and resulting in a penalty that essentially eliminated him from contention.

And the winner is ... a three-way tie. When it comes to bad penalties, what a stupid each of these guys was in his own special way.

Jason Sobel is a golf writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn.com.

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ESPN Senior Writer



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