Congratulations to Sports Illustrated senior writer and Golf Magazine columnist Joe Posnanski, who was named the 2011 Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Here are a few of our favorite Posnanski golf stories from his time at SI. If you like what you see here, you can find more great Posnanski stories on his blog Curiously Long Posts, in the Sports Illustrated archive, or in his 2001 book The Good Stuff: Columns About the Magic of Sports, available on Amazon.com for $24.95.
The Two Lives of Tom Watson (May 29, 2011)
I think Watson’s career is singular because unlike any of the other great golfers, Watson’s life is really divided in two. There was the young and wild Watson who hit the ball all over the place and won with one of the great short games in golf history. And there is the older Watson, whose ball-striking is so magnificent that men half his age salivate, but who has been held back by 5-foot putts that stubbornly go their own way.
If the game of the old and young Watson had ever met, they would not recognize each other.
If the old Watson and the young Watson had ever shared a season, they might have won the Grand Slam.
All Eyes Are Smiling (June 27, 2011)
Super Bowls ... World Series ... NBA Finals ... we tend to root for our own. But every now and again, golf gives us a chance to all root together. That's part of the charm of the game. It happened in 1986, when a legend named Jack Nicklaus, years beyond his prime, summoned a series of magical shots on Sunday and won the Masters. It happened in '91, when a chain-smoking ninth alternate from Dardanelle, Ark., named John Daly won the PGA Championship by hitting balls so hard you could almost hear them screaming. It happened in 1997, when a prodigy named Tiger Woods blew away the field at the Masters and for the first time made golf look cool, really cool, not only to those who play but also to those who are just drawn to cool things.
It happened again at Congressional, on a windless weekend, on a soft course, when the U.S. Open was won from beginning to end by another golf prodigy, this one from Northern Ireland.
The Best Never to Win a Major (April 9, 2011)
1. Colin Montgomerie
In making this list, there are many players — Adam Scott, Bruce Lietzke, Paul Casey, Darren Clarke, Doug Sanders, several others — who could have made the Top 10. But nobody else is even close to No. 1. Montgomerie led the Order of Merit eight times. Eight. He finished second at five major championships. He finished as one of the 10 best players in the world every year from 1994 to 2000, topping out, poetically, at No. 2.
There seemed something doomed about Monty, something difficult to capture. There are certain people in sports who just seem to have the Charlie Brown cloud over their heads, and Montgomerie had that.
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