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Toasting The Best

by Mike Cullity

With the holidays looming, it’s time once again for Global Golf Post to salute its Players of the Year.

On the men’s side, Justin Thomas was our clear choice. With victories in the PGA Championship, four other PGA Tour events and the FedEx Cup during the Tour’s 2016-17 season, the 24-year-old Kentuckian rose from a guy full of potential to the game’s top echelon in 12 short months.

Our decision on the women’s side was tougher, but after spirited debate we emerged united in support of So Yeon Ryu. With two victories including a major (the ANA Inspiration) and a 19-week run atop the Rolex Rankings through the heart of the season, the 27-year-old South Korean was worthy of the honor, albeit by a slim margin.

Thomas was among the 18 elite players in the Bahamas last week for the unofficial Hero World Challenge, where Rickie Fowler prevailed with a scintillating Sunday 61. But all eyes were on tournament host Tiger Woods, who made an auspicious return to competition after a 10-month layoff during which he underwent spinal fusion surgery.

Woods stirred memories of his heyday when he surged briefly into the lead on Friday. He fell from contention with a 75 in tough conditions Saturday, but rebounded with a Sunday 68. More importantly, he looked healthy and capable of becoming a factor again.

In Australia, a heckler rattled Cameron Smith on the 72nd hole of the Australian PGA Championship, but the young Aussie held his nerve to outlast compatriot Jordan Zunic in a playoff. Meanwhile, fellow up-and-comer Dylan Frittelli of South Africa defeated veteran Arjun Atwal in a playoff to win the European Tour’s AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.


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