As the year ends, we’re taking a look at the winners and losers of 2010. First, we reviewed the best shots. Then, we cringed through the greatest meltdowns, a category where the options certainly weren’t lacking this year. We also checked out some players who were considered overachievers. Now, let’s take a gander at those who had the most disappointing seasons. But before you dig in, consider some of the guys that distinguished themselves in 2010. If I missed one of your faves, email me. Or just drop it in the comments below. A special thanks to Intern Kevin for his assistance.
Sergio Garcia: An obvious choice for every year since 1999. Poor, Sergio. Seriously, I like the guy and wish he could break out of his underachieving career. From throwing the epic tantrum in the bunker at Whistling Straits to benching himself for a few months, it wasn’t exactly a standout year for Serg. The self-imposed break was probably actually the best decision he’d made in a while since he looked so miserable on the golf course. On the upside, he looked the happiest he had in years as he rallied the European team and crowd as vice-captain at the Ryder Cup.
Charles Howell III: Intern Kevin said the underachiever award should be named after Howell, but you know, the guy had a pretty good year! Six top-tens in 2010 — the most in his career. I guess that’s something!
Lucas Glover: Um…Lucas, who? Oh, the ’09 US Open champ. He placed third at THE PLAYERS. Wake me when he does something remotely interesting.
Tiger Woods: All things considered, it could have been worse. He placed T4 in two majors, but for Tiger, that’s bad. He gets a bit of a pass because he had a thought on his mind this year and that couldn’t have been easy to deal with.
5. Phil Mickelson: I may get crucified for this, but besides winning The Masters — which, yes, I’m aware is a huge victory — the rest of his year was mediocre. After the US Open, he only placed in the top-ten once. I understand he had to deal with arthritis and vegetarianism, but so many expectations after The Masters win. I mean, do you remember the hype?
4. Vijay Singh: Vijay, who? He played this season? Exactly. He went from one of the big three to practically falling off the face of the earth. I know he coped with some injuries and maybe part of it is that he’s getting old. Only two years ago, he was the two-time FedEx Cup champ. Now? He’s just struggling to make a cut most the time.
3. Sean O’Hair: Coming off a good season in 2009, O’Hair didn’t build from that in 2010. He notched nine top-tens in ’09, including a win at Quail Hollow. All we hear about is his potential, but until he stops putting like a blind man, he’s bound to disappoint — which would be a shame because he’s an incredible ballstriker, beyond talented and I like the guy.
2. Stewart Cink: Besides winning the ’09 British Open, he also had a good season. Since getting the major monkey off his back, people expected more consistency out of Cink in ’10. It didn’t happen. He had a few top-tens, but name a tournament where he played well? Okay, he showed great leadership at the Ryder Cup.
2a. Henrik Stenson: Similar story for Stenson as Cink. After Stenson took home THE PLAYERS in ’09, most expected him to continue to contend in big events. But in ’10? He T3 at the British Open and missed lots of cuts. He didn’t even make the top-125 on the money list. Ouch.
1. Padraig Harrington: I feel for Paddy. It pains me when he’s struggling because he’s grinding so hard and it’s simply difficult not to root for the guy. With three majors under his belt, Harrington is considered an especially elite player and expected more out of him. He went through those swing changes last year because he’s a perpetual tweaker. But this year, what was the story? Sure, he posted 5 top-ten finishes, but does anything stand out to you? Oh, he missed the cut at three of four majors…and he also provided great moral support and leadership at the Ryder Cup. But when he wasn’t lining up Ross Fisher’s putts and willing them in the hole, he could have been confused with a 5-handicapper. Slight exaggeration, perhaps. Come on, Paddy — start playing again like the legend you are.
Okay, there’s a lot of room for argument with this category, so I expect to get yelled at. But I’d prefer for you guys to chime in with your opinions, using your indoor voices, of course!