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Phrases like ‘this year was special’ or as the kids say ‘this year was a movie’ get tossed around far too often nowadays, but when we look back on the year of golf in 2022, both phrases ring true.
Each year produces golf stories worth remembering, but the last 365 days have quite literally been unlike anything the sport has ever seen due to LIV Golf emerging onto the scene.
There are still plenty of questions to be answered and even more to be asked when it comes to the Saudi-backed series and what the future of professional golf may look like. While I can promise you that here at OutKick we will cover the world of golf with passion and detail in 2023 and beyond, we have to give a proper send-off to what was a wild year.
Somehow, someway we’ve compiled the three best and the three worst golf stories of 2022.
The Best Golf Stories Of 2022
Phil Mickelson Calls Saudis “Scary Motherfu-kers” Before Joining LIV Golf
While Phil Mickelson would disagree that this was the best golf story of the year, every golf fan and media member alike would disagree. Mickelson has said a lot of things over the years, but “they’re scary motherfu-ckers to get involved with” will forever go down as one of the wildest quotes in golf history.
The fallout afterwards, the awkward press conferences, him eventually joining LIV Golf, and then the PGA Tour making changes just like Mickelson claimed he was trying to push them towards – it all just created this perfect storm of incredible content.
Tiger Woods Pulls Off Another Comeback Story, Plays Competitive Golf Again
Tiger Woods was lucky to leave his single-car crash alive in February of 2021. He’s also still fortunate enough to have his right leg as he admitted not long after the accident he feared he would lose it via amputation.
Fast-forward 14 months later and Woods made his return to competitive golf at the 2022 Masters. While Woods may have only played three tournaments in 2022, that’s three more than most, and maybe even himself would’ve predicted just over a year after his car crash.
Woods walking across the Swilcan Bridge at the Open – likely the last he’ll ever play at St. Andrews – was an iconic moment in golf.
Rory McIlroy Reclaims World No. 1 While Simultaneously Battling On Behalf Of The PGA Tour
Rory McIlroy quickly became the PGA Tour’s unofficial spokesperson in 2022 as LIV Golf entered the picture. There wasn’t an opportune moment that passed by in which McIlroy didn’t speak his mind about the current state of the golf world and his allegiance to the PGA Tour.
Even the biggest LIV Golf fans out there have to appreciate the time and effort McIlroy puts in with the media.
While nobody was bombarded with more questions about LIV Golf this year than McIlroy, nobody else had quite the year the 33-year-old had either.
McIlroy failed to win a major in 2022, but he earned three PGA Tour wins and seven other Top 10 finishes which were good enough to win the FedEx Cup for a third time in his career. He also went on to win the DP World Tour’s Order of Merit for the fourth time.
Last, and certainly not least, McIlroy reclaimed his World No. 1 ranking for the first time in over two years with his win at the CJ Cup in October.
The Worst Golf Stories Of 2022
Tiger Woods Admits He Can’t Walk
While it was great to see Woods back playing competitive golf in 2022, the last couple of months of rehab and practice have worn on the big cat.
Woods had to withdraw ahead of the Hero World Challenge explaining that he’s developed plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He then delivered this eye-opening quote:
“I like playing, I like competing. But unfortunately, I can hit the golf ball and hit whatever shot you want, I just can’t walk.”
As we all know, Father Time is undefeated and it appears he’s catching up to an injury-plagued Woods faster than anyone would’ve hoped. As long as Woods still has a pulse he shouldn’t be doubted, but his admission of not being able to walk is both alarming and sad.
9/11 Families Protest LIV Golf Events, LIV Alleges PGA Tour Is Involved
The battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf has been incredibly entertaining to keep up with throughout the year, but another battle outside the gates of various LIV events has been nothing but sad.
Various 9/11 family organizations have protested on-site at LIV Golf events around the United States given the breakaway circuit’s direct involvement with Saudi Arabia. One 9/11 family group is threatening to protest outside the gates of Augusta National in April at the 2023 Masters.
Saudi Arabia will always be associated with the attack on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, given that 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens. LIV Golf representatives aren’t buying it, however, and have formally accused the PGA Tour of secretly organizing the 9/11 protests at LIV tournaments.
Describing this situation as one of the ‘worst’ stories in golf of the year isn’t exactly accurate, but it’s certainly the saddest.
Man With Criminal History Attacks Golfer, Puts Him On Life Support
According to local police, a 64-year-old man hit a shot that landed near another hole on the course. As he proceeded to get his golf ball, the 22-year-old alleged attacker picked up the golf ball and threw it in a different direction.
The police report says that the 22-year-old quickly became enraged and struck the older man in the head with a golf club. He was rushed to a local hospital and underwent emergency surgery for bleeding on the brain.
The 22-year-old has a lengthy rap sheet and was released on just a $5,000 bond.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris