When the millionaires return to Kapalua, you know the golf year is over, and they did last week. There, in that Hawaiian paradise, they held their annual pineapple bake, known as the Isuzu Kapalua International, paid David Peoples $150,000 for winning it, and then stepped back to look at the season they had begotten.
What kind of year is it when Wayne Levi wins four golf tournaments and Seve Ballesteros zilch? When the most talked-about shot is a putt that lipped out? When the game's biggest newsmaker was a five handicapper named Hall Thompson, who probably wishes he had lipped up? It was a strangely memorable year, that's what kind of year it was, and it shakes out like this:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR.
Nick Faldo, by a royal mile. Faldo tore the Masters from Ray Floyd's grip, stomped Greg Norman flat as shortbread in the British Open and lipped out on the last hole of the U.S. Open, a 12-foot putt that would have forced a three-way playoff. Face it. If it comes down to Hale Irwin, Mike Donald and Faldo in a playoff, we bet Kansas on Faldo.
MYTH OF THE YEAR.
The Grand Slam. The real achievement in golf today is the Rare Pair, and Faldo is the first to do it since Tom Watson in 1982.
SPAM-BRAINED IDEA OF THE YEAR.
The new PGA Tour Player of the Year award, which is just Deane Beman's way of giving something to Don Pooley.
PGA TOUR PLAYER OF THE YEAR.
O.K., if you were threatened with an Uzi and had to pick a Tour player of 1990, how could it not be Norman? He played in only 17 tournaments—half as many as some—won twice, led the Tour in money and won the Vardon Trophy. Wayne Levi? You want to pick the man who finished 78th in scoring?
ISSUE OF THE YEAR.
Racist remarks by Thompson, Shoal Creek founder and chairman, dragged the club and golf itself into the post-Civil Rights Era. The Tour, in an upset, reacted swiftly and justly, abandoning all tournament sites where minorities are barred from membership.
FOSSILS OF THE YEAR.
The memberships at Cypress Point on the Monterey Peninsula in California and Butler National near Chicago chose to pull their courses off the Tour next year rather than adopt the Tour's new membership rules.
FRIDAY OF THE YEAR.
David Frost's near-Geibergeresque 60 at Tucson.
SATURDAY OF THE YEAR.
Faldo's undressing of Norman at St. Andrews. The golf world expected Godzilla versus King Kong when the two were tied and paired that afternoon. But Faldo whipped Norman by nine shots and reminded everybody that the King Kong of the movies was really only 18 inches tall.