From Rory to Tiger and beyond, here’s a look at the most memorable, entertaining and hilarious golf quotes from 2016.
“I can’t wait to get back to North Mid, get hammered and see my mom and brother and spend time with them and just celebrate.”
– Andrew “Beef” Johnston following his first European Tour victory at the Spanish Open.
Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne
“I wanted to watch them (the patrons) react to him first. And man, it’s awesome. I’m right there, and seeing the way that the people genuinely love him, it’s extraordinary. I get to repeat that every year.”
– Augusta National chairman Billy Payne, prior to the 2016 Masters, explaining why he chose to walk behind Arnold Palmer, and not lead him, as Palmer headed from the Augusta National clubhouse to the first tee at the Masters each April
“Big picture? It feels good. It feels good to be back out here playing again, competing and trying to beat the best players in the world. I missed it. I love it.”
– Tiger Woods, on competing again at the Hero World Challenge after nearly 16 months away from the PGA Tour
Arnold Palmer in his workshop in Latrobe, Pa.
“There wasn’t a big difference between the man you saw on TV and the man we knew at home. We are all here for the same reason. We all loved Arnold Palmer (above).”
– Sam Saunders, PGA Tour pro, at his grandfather’s memorial service in Latrobe, Pa., in October
“He showed a lot of potential very early because his hand-eye (coordination) was so good. The head pro’s name was Bruce Hay (at Cottesloe Golf Club, outside Perth, where Curtis Luck plays today), and he said to Curtis, ‘I want you to hit the ‘0’ in the 100 sign.’ Curtis’s answer back to him was ‘Which one?’ That typifies his golf.”
– Australia’s Stuart Luck, speaking about his son, Curtis, the 2016 U.S. Amateur champion
“I’ve never been a happy person, ever. I’m always thinking about golf.”
– Retired Se Ri Pak on the importance of finding balance on tour
“Shit! Do you want me to elaborate? Really shit!”
– Danny Willett, when asked about his Ryder Cup experience.
“Look, it’s my opinion. I think my opinion is shared by a few people, but some people may think it’s wrong, and that’s fine. I’ve spent seven years trying to please everyone, and I figured out that I can’t really do that, so I may as well be true to myself.”
– Rory McIlroy, following up on some controversial comments that slammed golf in the Olympics during the Open Championship at Troon. One day earlier, he had said that it wasn’t necessarily his job to grow the game and that his Olympic viewing at home would be saved “for stuff that matters.”
Rory McIlroy celebrates a birdie at the ninth hole during his Saturday four-ball match at the 2016 Ryder Cup.
“I could use HGH (human growth hormone) and get away with it. So I think blood testing is something that needs to happen in golf just to make sure that it is a clean sport going forward.”
– McIlory, giving his opinion on the tour’s drug testing policy.
“It pleasantly surprised me. There was more people at the golf events than there was at the athletics. It was good to see, it really was. It seems like it was a great atmosphere down there. I think it was one of the cheaper tickets, as well, and I think that encouraged a lot of people to go … To see the crowds and see the turnout, I was glad to be somewhat proven wrong.”
– McIlroy, who after the Olympics said he tuned in to see the final hole and watched the medal ceremony
Dustin Johnson will not be part of the American lineup Saturday morning.
“Bryson (DeChambeau) and I were talking about some of the science of an uphill putt and a downhill putt and the break and why it’s most from this point and that point and so forth. He was using some pretty scientific terms and Dustin kind of shook his head and he said, ‘If I hang around you guys much longer, I’ll never break 100.’ ”
– Phil Mickelson, on Dustin Johnson during a practice round at the Masters
“It’s just not about the smiles that’s in the career. It’s about the tears. It’s about the frustration. It’s about the happiness. … Everything.”
– Inbee Pak after becoming the youngest player to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame
“I don’t think anything on the Champions Tour means anything to anybody, to tell you the truth. The media, golf fans, they look at us as a freak show. We don’t get any publicity. None of our tournaments mean anything. I think it is sad because the golf out here is tremendous.”
– Kenny Perry
“I’m glad I can’t make anymore bogeys.”
– Kevin Kisner, after his third-round 76 at the Masters
“The emotions of winning a medal were overwhelming. I didn’t know the gravity of how big of a moment that was, and what that would mean to me, until it happened.”
– U.S. golfer Matt Kuchar, a late addition to the Olympic Games, on winning a bronze medal in Rio
“We all won.”
– Silver medalist Lydia Ko on golf’s return to the Olympics
Phil Mickelson made 10 birdies in an unforgettable Sunday singles match with Sergio Garcia at the 2016 Ryder Cup.
“For us to go to Europe and try to win the Cup is a whole different feat. That’s going to require a whole different level of play, of solidarity, of fortitude and we are going to have to build on this in two years if we want to try to retain the cup. So it’s important to start this foundation. Yes, it’s great that we had success this week, but it’s not about one year or one Ryder Cup. It’s about a multitude, for decades to come.”
– Phil Mickelson, at Hazeltine National, after the U.S. beat Europe to win the Ryder Cup for only the second time since 1999
“The pressure started when some dumb-ass opened his mouth two years ago.”
– Mickelson, talking about pressure to win after Ryder Cup
JORDAN SPIETH, AT THE MASTERS: Spieth struggled with his emotions at times in 2016, but he’s human, so there’s no reason to kick him there. And he still won twice, which makes his season still pretty good, if below some people’s expectations. Where Spieth flopped was the Masters. The 23-year-old dominated Augusta National for 63 holes and appeared on his way to a second straight Green Jacket. Then came bogeys at 10 and 11, but the real disaster (more like an implosion) occurred at 12 when Spieth hit it in the water TWICE on his way to a quad. From five ahead to suddenly three behind in three holes. Spieth wouldn’t catch up, and his downfall at 12 comes to mind as the season’s worst collapse.
“Boy, you wonder about not only just the tee shot on 12, but why can’t you just control the second shot, you know, and make 5 at worse, and you’re still tied for the lead. Big picture, this one will hurt. It will take a while.”
– Jordan Spieth, after making quadruple-bogey 7 at the par-3 12th and losing a five-shot lead on the back nine on Sunday at the Masters
“There’s an old saying that there are no irreplaceable people. Whoever made that line never met Arnold Palmer. There will never be another.”
– Charlie Mecham, former LPGA commissioner, who worked alongside Arnold Palmer as his consultant for more than a decade
“Just in case you get cold feet again.”
– 9-year-old Billy Jenkins, presenting McIlroy with a box of socks during an interview to joke about McIlroy ending his engagement with Caroline Wozniacki
“They have been quite poor. I’m not going to lie. Obviously it’s unfortunate because I think that 85 percent of the people are great and I love playing in America. My girlfriend is American. But that 15 percent that is really bad, it makes them look bad.”
– Sergio Garcia on U.S. fans at the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine
“It’s been a hard year. It’s been a really hard year. So it’s nice to have something go well.”
– Billy Hurley III, after winning the Quicken Loans National at age 34 for his first victory on tour. Hurley’s father died in August, 2015.