We’ve reached the heart of December, the perfect time to bust out a “best of” list for 2012. We had so many unforgettable moments to choose from, like Tommy Gainey’s final round 60 at the McGladrey Classic, Phil Mickelson’s Sunday mad dash at Pebble Beach and Ernie Els’ legendary performance at Royal Lytham. Our Callaway staffers made history again and again, and we’re proud to recap some of our favorite moments on Tour this year. Who’s ready for a top-5 list?
5. Gainey Rides Sunday 60 To First PGA Tour Win
In an incredible final round performance, Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey went birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie on the 13th through 16th holes, signed for a 10-under 60 and held on for his first career PGA Tour win at the McGladrey Classic. Gainey put himself in great position off the tee with his RAZR Fit Driver, hit a number of pinpoint approach shots with RAZR X Forged Irons and used an Odyssey Backstryke Blade Putter to roll in one clutch putt after another.
Gainey is well known on Tour for his strong play, homemade swing, two gloves and especially his humble outlook, which was on full display at Sea Island. “Oh man,” the Callaway staffer said after his win. “You’re playing with the best players in the world…Now I can sit here at Sea Island, and I’m very proud to be in this tournament and very proud to win. And wow, it’s been a whirlwind day.”
Gainey then followed up his big win with a victory at the Callaway Invitational at Pebble Beach. Now that’s how you finish up the year!
4. Mickelson Rolls To 40th PGA Tour Win At Pebble Beach
Phil Mickelson showed why he’s a hall-of-famer and one of the most exciting players in golf history when he fired a final round 64 to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Lefty played a RAZR Fit Driver, HEX Black Tour Ball and RAZR X Muscleback Irons during his 40th career PGA Tour win, which is a pretty nice number if you ask us. Mickelson also rolled in two bombs on the back nine and had 10 one-putts that Sunday with his Odyssey White Hot XG PM Blade Putter. The longtime Callaway staffer was confident under pressure, and he was quick to acknowledge his equipment after the win.
“I feel like I’ve got a driver that’s dialed in with our RAZR Fit Driver,” Mickelson said in his victory press conference. “And I feel like I’ve got such control over my flight and trajectory distance control.” Of course, Mickelson couldn’t leave the media room without praising his golf ball too. “We’ve got a new ball this year, HEX Black (Tour),” the four-time major winner said. “And it just flew so good and penetrated through the air so much better that in this thick, cold air I felt like I had a big advantage.”
3. RAZR Fit and HEX Black Tour Win, Win Again and Win Some More
The RAZR Fit Driver is running out of room in its trophy case and it’s been that way for a few months now. RAZR Fit has been on a tear since it won Editor’s Choice in the 2012 Golf Digest Hot List and then quickly took the professional Tours by storm. The driver racked up huge wins on the PGA, LPGA, European and Web.com Tours this season, including major championship wins at the Open Championship (more on that later), Kraft Nabisco Championship and U.S. Women’s Open. Three majors in a year, that’s just awesome!
Meanwhile, HEX Black Tour took home a Hot List Gold Medal and 11 wins across four major Tours, including Pebble Beach (Mickelson), the McGladrey Classic (Gainey), Open Championship (Els) and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (Branden Grace). HEX Black Tour was so prolific that at one point it won four events over an eight week period on the European Tour. Which brings us back to Mr. Branden Grace.
2. Grace Wins Five Times Around The World
After securing his European Tour card through Qualifying School last year, Grace won four times in 2012 and clinched a fifth win on the Sunshine Tour. The Callaway staffer won in his native South Africa (Joburg Open), in a playoff (Volvo Golf Champions), on yet another contintent (Volvo China Open) and after shooting a record-tying 60 (Alfred Dunhill Links Championship). If you don’t know this kid already, get to know him now. He’s going to be a big name for years to come.
1. Els Becomes A Legend With Open Championship Win
Just when it looked like Ernie Els was out of contention at this year’s Open Championship, he pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in recent memory and cemented his legend in the process. Els slammed his foot on the gas pedal over his final nine holes, taking on Royal Lytham’s treacherous fairway bunkers with a RAZR Fit Driver and HEX Black Tour Ball. The Big Easy ran off a 4-under 32 in an unforgettable back nine performance that included his classic 15-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole, causing the usually mellow Els to toss his ball into the deafening crowd.
Then in a wild turn of events the pressure mounted, the leaders faltered and when the dust settled Ernie walked away with his second Claret Jug and fourth career major championship. My heart level still hasn’t come down from that epic finish so I can only imagine how Ernie’s doing. In his post round interviews, Els was quick to thank Callaway for all their support.
“The Callaway people have stood behind me and really helped me out,” he said. “I’ve been with them for five years.” The Open Champion also explained why he played so aggressively down the stretch. “I hit a lot of drivers on the back nine and I was just trying to make birdies,” Ernie said. “I was right in the moment…I was really just playing the shot in the moment.”
So there you have it, our best moments of the year. We hope you had as much fun reading this list as we did making it. 2012 was unbelievable and now we’re already into the 2013 European Tour Race to Dubai. There are hardly any weeks off across the professional Tours, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.