2001 Season Review: Human Tiger
He had a tough act to follow but had no one to blame but himself. It may not sound right but by winning the Masters and four other PGA events in 2001, Tiger Woods disappointed a lot of folks. In April after two wins in his pocket and then his second green jacket, Tiger had reached a plateau of excellence few athletes ever even approach. His Masters win made him defending champ of all of golf's four majors and it seemed like everyone else in the sport didn't matter.
But then something surprising happened, Tiger became mortal. His superhuman game seemed to become simply human. Other golfers stepped up, including David Duval who finally won his first major at the British Open and David Toms, who put on a late season run at the PGA Player of the Year award with a win at the PGA Championship. Despite the general public's (and some peers') expectations, Tiger didn't win every tournament he entered, but he won enough of them to maintain his reputation as, by far, the greatest player in the sport.
On the women's side of things, Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb battled for the LPGA spotlight. Sorenstam won seven events, including four straight and the year's first major: the Nabisco Championship. Webb took the next two, the U.S. Women's Open and the LPGA Championship becoming, at 26, the youngest player in LPGA Tour history to win the career Grand Slam. Finally, Se Ri Pak won the Women's British Open which became the fourth major, replacing the du Maurier Championship, on the women's circuit in 2001.
The Ryder Cup was set to be played in late September at the Belfry in England but was postponed until 2002 in wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.