In 2021, golf offered up plenty of memorable and forgettable moments. Through their quotes, players, officials, politicians and others all contributed to what was a wild and wacky year for the sport.
Here are some of the more interesting and impactful quotes that were offered up throughout the last year.
“They pick up another buddy, two or three go out, go golfing, there’s nothing wrong with golfing. The problem is then after golf, they go back, they have some pops. That’s the problem.”
-Ontario premier Doug Ford on why he continued to keep golf courses closed during the pandemic, making the province the only jurisdiction in the North America that did so. He eventually permitted golf and other outdoor activities to open on May 22.
“It’s a bummer. Something we all saw coming with the border still being closed, but still disappointing.”
-Adam Hadwin, after the RBC Canadian Open, which was slated for June 7-13, was cancelled for the second consecutive year.
“I thought time might be on our side. I thought we might be okay.”
-Alena Sharp, on the news that the CP Canadian Women’s Open, scheduled for Aug. 23-29 at Shaughnessy G&CC in Vancouver, was cancelled.
“I think we’ve got to be thankful that we have an event going on.”
-Stephen Ames, on the scaled-down version of the Shaw Charity Classic, the PGA Tour Champions event that was held in Calgary Aug. 1-7, making it the only major golf tournament held in Canada in the last two years. Although attendance was limited to 2,000 fans per day, the event raised $14,797,827 for charity.
“She’s been a legend for Canadian golf and somebody that I’ve looked up to.”
-Brooke Henderson, on the passing of Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member, Jocelyne Bourassa, who passed away on Aug. 5 at the age of 74. Henderson revealed that she keeps a picture of herself with Bourassa on her iPad.
“Police arrest one person accused of stealing golf cart in Oakville, driving it on QEW.”
-Toronto News channel CP24 in a tweet outlining the story of a man who stole a golf cart and reportedly drove it several kilometres in -21 wind chill on one of Canada’s busiest highways before being pulled over by police.
“’Stupid is as stupid does.’ Mrs. Gump.”
-Phil Mickelson, tweeting out a quote from Forrest Gump to illustrate his frustration with golf’s governing bodies’ decision to limit the length of a driver to 48 inches. Mickelson said the change, intended to curb the limit the golf ball travels, is wrong and a result of misreading the existing data. The change comes into effect Jan. 1
“The suspect then punched the victim in the face and tackled him to the ground. He held the victim down until he said ‘uncle,’ and then released him.”
- A Newton, Kansas police report, outlining part of a fight that occurred at a Korn Ferry Tour Monday qualifying event for the Wichita Open. According to several sources, Luke Smith was charged after he allegedly attacked Austen Dailey, another player in his group, after Dailey accused him of not helping to look for errant shots or assisting with the pin. Smith also reportedly put Dailey in a headlock while his father, Oliver Smith, who was caddying for his son, kept others in the group from breaking up the fight by waving a golf club at them.
"Before, I played golf when it was 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) because I had to. Now I don't have to so I will 100 per cent be a fair-weather golfer.”
-Brampton, Ont.’s Brittany Marchand, who played on both the LPGA and Symetra tours over the last six years, to the Canadian Press, after announcing her retirement from professional golf in November.
“It was the British Open growing up but now I call it the Open Championship.”
“How come that changed?”
“Because that’s the name of it.”
-Dustin Johnson, in an exchange with a reporter, when asked what he called the year’s final major championship when he was growing up and currently.
“I knew it was in there. I had to clean up my brain a little bit, I think.”
-Lucas Glover, on the key to ending his 10-year drought from the winner’s circle after capturing the John Deere Classic in July.
“This is a monumental win for me, one I’ve thought about for a long time.”
-Jordan Spieth, after winning the Texas Valero Open in April. It ended a winless streak that lasted 83 tournaments dating back to the 2017 Open Championship.
“I felt like I was kind of born to play links golf.”
-Mackenzie Hughes on his inaugural appearance at the Open Championship. He posted four rounds in the 60s and finished tied for sixth at Royal St. George’s, the best finish by a Canadian in the tournament’s history.
“Hi, Tiger. I was wondering if I could take a photo with you?”
-World No. 1 and Olympic gold medallist Nelly Korda, approaching Tiger Woods after his round at the PNC Championship in December.
“Obviously the talk amongst the boys isn’t great, I guess, but he’s protected by the Tour and that’s all that matters.”
-Xander Schauffele, on what the talk in the locker room was like after Patrick Reed was questioned on a rules situation about an embedded ball at the Farmers Insurance Open.
"That was pretty sweet. . . Wish I could access one of those right now but I’m pretty far away from the closest Tim Hortons. Definitely a pretty special moment when I saw what they had done."
- Corey Conners, after the Tim Hortons in his hometown of Listowel, Ont., created a special donut to honour the hole-in-one he made on the sixth hole at Augusta National during the Masters.
“When I turned 50, we had a discussion. I said, ‘Do you want to see mama play?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, we want to see mama play.’”
-Annika Sorenstam, revealing the conversation she had with her kids about whether she should play in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. After a 13-year hiatus from competitive play, she won the tournament by eight shots.
-A fan yelling at Bryson DeChambeau at the PGA Championship, to which the golfer responded, "Whoever is calling me Brooksy needs to get out of here.” It was just one part of an ongoing battle between DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, which culminated in a 12-hole, made-for-TV match between the two players that Koepka dominated.
“The fact that I'm able to have this opportunity this year, even a couple weeks ago we didn't really know whether or not I would be doing this, but here we are.”
-Woods, after finishing second at the PNC Championship where he played with his son, Charlie, in his first tournament in a year. In February he crashed his car while driving near Los Angeles resulting in devastating injuries to his leg.
“If I can hit it down the middle of the fairway, that’s great, but with the driver right now … the driver sucks.”
-DeChambeau complaining about his equipment in a post-round media conference at the Open Championship. The comment didn’t sit well with his sponsor, Cobra, which issued a terse response about the efforts that went in to building a club for the heavy hitter. DeChambeau later issued an apology.
"I've been saying all day. I never tried so hard in my life to finish third.”
-Rory McIlroy on losing out in a playoff for the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. After once disparaging golf’s admittance to the Olympics in 2016, he announced himself as a convert and said he was looking forward to the next Games in Paris in 2024.
“My message this Pride Month is simple: Be true to yourself, whatever your sexual orientation. Life is too short. To try to hide who you are is not a way to live. You cannot imagine the weight that is lifted, and the love you will feel, when you open yourself up to your personal truth.”
-Sharp, in a column on LPGA.com, offering advice to others to not be afraid to reveal their sexuality. The Hamilton, Ont.-native made several impactful statements on social issues, including another on social media regarding mental health.
“It’s unreal. It's pretty crazy. To get my ninth win was such a big deal in Canada, and then since then I been just trying to chase that 10th one. To get it here, it's just – I'm just so happy and it's hard to believe.”
-Henderson, who started the final round of the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open four strokes behind Jessica Korda and three back of Jin Young Ko, fired a 67 to notch her 10th career victory.
"I mean, it's like one-in-a-million break. I've played golf my entire life, I've never had a ball stuck in a tree.”
-Hughes, after his tee shot on the 11th hole in the final round of the U.S. Open hit a lonely tree, bounced off the cart path and then went back into the tree, lodging itself between two branches. The result was a double bogey for Hughes who finished tied for 15th.
“It means a lot. I played really, really well today. Still a little off with my putting down the stretch, but I hit the shots I needed to.”
-Mike Weir, after holding off John Daly to notch his first win on PGA Tour Champions at the Insperity Invitational. He joined Dave Barr and Stephen Ames as Canadians to win on both the PGA and Champions tours.
"Everybody else kind of faltered coming in, unfortunately for those, but fortunate for me.”
-Ames, after getting his second PGA Tour Champions win at the Principal Charity Classic, defeating Weir by a shot.
“I think it’s natural to start questioning yourself when you play like that. You wonder if you’re good enough, if you’re going to have a job, all that stuff comes into your head.”
-Hadwin, who rallied at the end of the season to stay inside the top 125 and retain his full status on the PGA Tour. He spent much of the past year working to adopt some significant swing changes.
“I didn’t play very well, I shot three over . . . but I won the PGA so . . .”
-Mickelson, after an opening-round 73 at the Charles Schwab Challenge, which came just days after his remarkable win at the PGA Championship.