Garcia and Rose duel the highlight of a thrilling 2017
After another absorbing year in the world of professional golf, we take a look back on some of the biggest, best and worst bits. Best Tournament Commendations to The Open, with Jordan Spieth's eye-opening shenanigans plus the amazing, raucous crowd, and a vibrant yet sporting Solheim Cup. But it has to be the Masters for that unforgettable final-round duel between Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose. Everything we love about sport was on show: two men at the top of their game, culminating in a win for a deserving Spaniard who almost won a major as a teenager but, at 37, finally got there. Best Shot
Isn't it amazing that one stands out from the millions played? Step forward Justin Thomas, and the three wood he struck from 310 yards with a 290-yard carry at the par-five 18th at Erin Hills to set up the eagle three that broke the scoring record at the US Open. Quite simply, only a handful of players have the skill set to even contemplate such a blow, much less pull it off. Best Player
Certainly Justin Thomas in America. As for Europe, Sergio Garcia winning at Augusta and Justin Rose's strong finish to the season mark them as strong contenders but the honour has to fall to Tommy Fleetwood, who capped a stellar 2017 by winning the lucrative Race to Dubai and looks set to play a leading role for the European Team in next year's Ryder Cup.
Given we'd been waiting more than 40 years for someone to better a score of 63 at a major, look no further than Branden Grace's wondrous 62 in the third round of The Open. It's perhaps as well the South African didn't know history was on the line when he stood on the 18th tee. Biggest Disappointment
It's not meant as a slight on all the exciting young golfers who have taken over the world game but when you start the season eagerly anticipating what Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are going to do and both pull up lame, it's hard for the shoulders not to sag. They are the greatest players of their respective generations, and it will be next year's biggest disappointment as well if Rory doesn't bounce back in 2018. As for Tiger, we're in 'hope for the best and expect the worst' territory. Biggest Shock Lee Westwood and his manager Chubby Chandler going their separate ways after a 24-year partnership. Two titans of the European game in their different ways, you'd have thought this a bond to last a lifetime, and how sad that it didn't. As to why they split, they have both signed confidentiality clauses, so we may never know the murky truth. Biggest Comeback
You'd have to have the flintiest heart not to have been touched by the story of American Patrick Cantlay and his wonderful year on the PGA Tour, after all he's been through. Three years of hell with his back, during which he watched his best friend die in his arms following a hit and run — how on earth do you come back from all that? You get the feeling there's plenty more to come from the 25-year-old as well. Worst Shot Has any golfer won The Open while hitting a shot as bad as the drive Jordan Spieth struck on the 13th at Royal Birkdale in the final round? It finished in such heavy rough that he decided to take a drop beside a club manufacturers' truck in an area not usually considered part of the golf course. The only reason it wasn't out of bounds is that no-one thought it would be necessary to mark off that area. The golf Spieth played thereafter was the mark of a true champion, but he was a lucky one too. Credit: Derek Lawrenson for the Daily Mail, World of Golf