Essential Golf: A passion for the game

The Golf Happenings of 2021 That You May Have Missed

The Golf Happenings of 2021 That You May Have Missed

As 2021 nears its end, it would be easy to look back at the events that shook the golf world this year. The four majors, Tiger’s crash and a one-sided Ryder Cup to name a few, but lots of other things happened in the world of golf in 2021 that you may have missed or forgotten about. Let’s look at some of the events of 2021 that didn’t make significant headlines but shaped the golfing year nevertheless.

A 10-stroke Penalty for Mark Hensby

After Hensby hit a shot into the water at the fourth at the Palmetto Championship in June, he grabbed a new ball from his bag. While playing the eighth, he realized that the ball he was using had a small dot. He worked out very quickly he had picked up one of Pat Perez’s balls off the putting green where they were practicing before the round teed off. Hensby was given a ten stroke penalty, a two-shot penalty for each hole he had played with the wrong ball.

Golf Became a Contact Sport at a Korn Ferry qualifier.

Brooks and Bryson going back and forth at each other all year, have stolen the headlines, but during a Korn Ferry Tour Monday qualifier for the Wichita Open, the actual fighting happened.

Austin Dailey got into a physical confrontation with father and son Luke and Oliver Smith over pace-of-play problems. Daily was aggrieved that Oliver, caddying for his son Luke, wouldn’t help him search for his wayward ball. Things got heated, and punches were thrown when Oliver commented that things would move a lot quicker if Dailey learned to hit the ball straight. 

The Unused Net for DeChambeau

The RBC Heritage, the South Carolina tournament played the week following on from the Masters in April, spent thousands of dollars on a new and larger net to protect the eighth hole on the course, which backs onto the range, from Bryson DeChambeau’s missiles. DeChambeau pulled out of the tournament in the days following his disappointing Masters. 

Bones is Back

Jimmie Johnson stepped down as Justin Thomas’s long term caddie following the Ryder Cup, which opened the door for much-loved caddie turned commentator ‘Bones’ to return to life full time on the bag. 

Jim’ Bones’ Mackey stopped working for Phil Mickelson in 2017 and has caddied since on a part-time as-required basis, including working for Thomas at the 2020 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, a tournament the pair successfully won.

Viktor Hovland’s Mom Made Sure He Got His Two-Shot Penalty

Viktor Hovland turned in an opening round of 70 at the Players but was subsequently docked two strokes under rule 14.7 for playing the ball from the wrong place. How it all came about, though, is bizarre.

Hovland was walking to his car following his round when his mother called him and asked him if he had been penalized for what happened on the 15th? Hovland had no idea what his mother was talking about. Hovland had failed to put the mark in its original spot, and instead of moving the ball back the putter head to the old spot, Hovland moved it a putter head in the wrong direction. 

Hovland reached out to the committee following the call with his Mom and they checked back the footage and docked the Norwegian two-strokes when it turned out his eagle-eyed mother, who was the only one who had spotted the misdemeanor, was correct. 

Hovland missed the cut. He would have made it without his number one fan being so on the ball.

The Stomach Bug at the Walker Cup

During practice rounds in June in Florida for the Walker Cup, 14 of the 24 players involved, including both captains, were hit by a severe stomach bug. It was so bad some players needed hospitalization to administer IV fluids. 

COVID was quickly ruled out, but the competition’s terms had been changed regardless, allowing alternates to be used as regular team members, allowing sick golfers to be taken in and out of the lineups anytime up until a match began.

The Americans prevailed 14-12 over Great Britain and Ireland. 

Jin Young Ko Goes Consistently Low.

Jin Young Ko carded 14 consecutive scores in the 60s, matching Annika Sorenstam and Yeon Ryu for the most in history. Unfortunately, her fantastic run ended at the BMW ladies Championship, but Ko wouldn’t have been too bothered by that. She won the event anyway on her way to the Player of the Year honor. 

SEE ALSO: Bryson DeChambeau Thinks He May Have Found ‘the Last Piece of the Puzzle.’