This Week's Top 10: Dancing Lee Westwood and Winning Luke Donald

Kathy BissellCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2011

This Week's Top 10: Dancing Lee Westwood and Winning Luke Donald

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    Highlights of Lyle’s career include victories in the Open Championship at Royal St George’s in 1985 and in the 1988 Masters Tournament, where he made a birdie on the 18th hole to become the first British winner at Augusta National. He won the Players Championship in 1987.

    Peter Alliss, who most of us know from his work for ABC Sports, started with the BBC in 1961. He began at the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, which was won by Arnold Palmer.

    Alliss turned professional when only 15. He won 23 tournaments worldwide during the 1950s and 1960s, including three British PGA Championships, and captured the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese Opens in three consecutive weeks.

    “This is all very unexpected,” said Alliss. “I am delighted, surprised, humbled and honoured to be thought of in this way and to be given a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame, particularly as it is chosen by people all around the world.”

    Alliss was selected in the Lifetime Achievement Category.

10. Dancing Lee Westwood

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    In the category of news that surprises, Lee Westwood confessed that he won dance events as a youngster.  “I’ve got the medals to prove it,” he said.  He apparently was quite good at the Lilac Waltz and the Boston Two Step.

    The only question that remains is will he appear on Dancing with the Stars or a similar program in Great Britain called Strictly Come Dancing.  Patent leather tap shoes, anyone?

9. Dan Jenkins in World Golf Hall of Fame

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    Author and columnist for Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest and a newspaper in Fort Worth, Jenkins spans the generations from post WWII to the modern day.  He’s one of the few people who both is funny when he talks and when he writes.  He could have been better than anybody on SNL if there had been such a program years ago.

    Instead, he perfected lines that have come into the popular culture like Semi-Tough, the title of one of his many books, or “That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.” 

    Jenkins wrote the ultimate golf book, Dead Solid Perfect (1974), which is where the story of Tin Cup really came from.  Another golf book, Dogged Victims of an Inexorable Fate is about golf in Fort Worth and other places and was published back in 1970, or the dark ages for most of today’s golf fans.   

    From Jenkins press conference: 

    When you rattled off that list of credits, you left out my cure for polio, but I'll excuse you for that.  You got all those other things in there…As I told somebody, being from Fort Worth, I would follow Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson anywhere.  Since they're in there, I'm happy to be the third guy from Fort Worth so included.

    As for the most memorable round of golf he covered, Jenkins said it was at Cherry Hills.  

    The most talked about and the most electrifying at its time was Arnold Palmer at Cherry Hills in the U.S. Open of 1960, when I think I was the first guy that noticed that there was a confluence of three eras of golf that all came together that afternoon.  It was the current king, Arnold Palmer, the past King Ben Hogan, and the future King, Jack Nicklaus who was yet an amateur.  The three of them battled it out in the last 18. Arnold Palmer winning it with a 6 under, 65 in the last round, which passed 14 players and came from seven strokes back, it was unbelievable

8. State Farm Cancels LPGA Sponsorship

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    After 36 years, State Farm cards the ultimate triple bogey when it cancels its LPGA event sponsorship in Springfield, Illinois. 

    Could it be because of Governor Blago?

7. Race to Dubai Renamed, Renewed

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    The backers of the Race to Dubai have renewed, but changed the name of their tournament to the DP World Tour Championship.  George O’Grady, executive director of the European Tour breathed a sigh of relief.

6. Spain's Alvaro Quiros Wins Euro Tour Finale

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    Quiros didn’t just mail it in.  He eagled the 18th hole to take the title, sinking a 40-foot putt to clinch the victory.  He won by two over Paul Lawrie.  Way to avoid a playoff, Alvaro. It is his sixth European Tour victory and moves him into the Top 20 of the world golf rankings, up from 52nd.

5. Hollis Stacy Named to World Golf Hall of Fame

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    Hollis Stacy was selected in the veterans category.  She is a deserving inductee, having won four majors: U.S. Women's Open in 1977, 1978 and 1984, and the 1983 du Maurier Classic. Stacy has 18 LPGA titles, with her last victory coming in 1991 at the Crestar-Farm Fresh Classic.

4. Sandy Lyle and Peter Allis in World Golf Hall of Fame

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    Highlights of Lyle’s career include victories in the Open Championship at Royal St George’s in 1985 and in the 1988 Masters Tournament, where he made a birdie on the 18th hole to become the first British winner at Augusta National. He won The Players Championship in 1987.

    Peter Alliss, who most of us know from his work for ABC Sports, started with the BBC in 1961 at the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale which was won by Arnold Palmer.

    Alliss turned professional when only 15. He won 23 tournaments worldwide during the 1950s and 1960s, including three British PGA Championships, and captured the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese Opens in three consecutive weeks.

    “This is all very unexpected,” said Alliss. “I am delighted, surprised, humbled and honoured to be thought of in this way and to be given a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame, particularly as it is chosen by people all around the world.”

    Alliss was selected in the Lifetime Achievement Category.

3. Luke Donald Voted the PGA Tour Player of the Year

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    Donald, after all the controversy of the ballot being delayed for several weeks, won the players’ vote from a group that included Keegan Bradley, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson and Nick Watney.  Donald is the first player from England to be voted Player of the Year since the award’s inception in 1990.  

    He won the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in 2011. His win in his final start of the year at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic clinched the money title with $6,683,214, earning him the Arnold Palmer Award, the name for the leading money winner’s trophy.

2. Keegan Bradley Voted Rookie of the Year

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    Bradley was voted Rookie of the Year by the PGA Tour membership. He had playoff victories at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and the PGA Championship. With his PGA Championship playoff victory over Jason Dufner at the Atlanta Athletic Club, Bradley became the first player since Ben Curtis (2003) to win a major championship in his first major start.

    Bradley said a press conference that he was thrilled.

    I'm thrilled to win Rookie of the Year for all that it means, but also most importantly the fact that it was voted to by my peers. You know, it's an award that you can only win one time in your entire career. You get one chance at it, and it was the main goal of mine to start the year and it's a huge honor and privilege to be the rookie of the year this year.

    Other players nominated for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year were Chris Kirk, Charl Schwartzel, Scott Stallings, Brendan Steele and Jhonattan Vegas.

1. Luke Donald Wins Race to Dubai

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    Donald won the European money title and became the first person in history to win money titles on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour.  

    "This is something I've wanted for the last few months—to try and win both Money Lists.  Obviously with my come from behind win at Disney, this really became possible,” Donald said after capturing the European money title. "I got what I came for, and that was to win The Race to Dubai and do the double and create history."

    And to put icing on the cake, he was also named European Tour Golfer of the Year. 

    It is always nice to be appreciated, especially from the people in the sport who know the game inside out. They have recognized what I have done this year and it is very gratifying to have that validation.

    Luke Donald previously won the Vardon Award for lowest adjusted scoring average (68.86) and the PGA of America Player of the Year which is won on points based on victories, money list position, scoring average and finish in majors.

    Oh yeah, he’s still No. 1 in the world.

    Kathy Bissell is a golf writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.

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