My Favorite Golfers
I know what you're thinking, my god two columns in one day, doesn't he have anything better to do? No I don't. When the mood hits I go for it.
Watching the Chevron Championship this past weekend and in anticipation of the Masters this coming weekend, I started thinking about which golfers i have enjoyed watching over the years. I of course eliminated watching Sharbell, Harvell, and Dickerson get beat by me and Romine and Markiewicz over the years. As much fun as that was it is of no value to you all.
However, the list might just surprise you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have remembering them.
T10 - Dottie Pepper & Beth Daniel - Two completely different golfers but both equally compelling to watch. Dottie had 17 wins on the LPGA tour including two majors along with another eight worldwide. She was fiery, angry, and could hit the ball a mile. It was her putting however that won her tournaments. Beth Daniel , surprisingly, racked up 33 LPGA wins including one major and another eight worldwide also. She was a pure swinger with a long and lanky backswing and follow thru. If she could have putted better she might have won as many tournaments as Nicklaus.
9 - Arnold Palmer - The King. He singlehandedly put golf on television and grew the prize money in leaps and bounds. He won 62 times on the PGA tour including seven majors and was popular around the world because he won another 33 times elsewhere. He was my first golf hero.
8 - Tiger Woods - I know you are stunned that he is so low on the list but while I love watching him I have never embraced him as a person. Additionally, I cannot relate to his game. He does things that are impossible for the average golfer so while I love to see him win I can't understand how he does it. He does have 82 PGA tour wins including 15 majors and another 27 wins worldwide. The numbers don't lie, he is special.
7 - Nick Price - Who? From the first time I ever saw him play I loved everything about his style and his swing. I tried to copy him, with much less success, especially when hitting my irons from the fairway. His short backswing and quick follow thru was beautiful. He won only 18 times on the PGA tour with three majors and another 30 wins worldwide but I loved this guy.
6 - Stacy Lewis - Recently named as the next Captain of the Solheim Cup, she was unbeatable when leading a tournament. The only thing that held her back was her temper as she would get so pissed at herself she would crash and burn occasionally. But that is what made her fun to watch. She has 13 wins, so far, along with two majors and another win around the world.
5 - Fred Couples - One of the greatest swings in golf history. He is another one who I tried to emulate when playing. I always imagine his swing as I address the ball and watch it go flying out of bounds on the right. I never could copy it. 15 PGA tour wins, one major, and another 48 wins on various other tours.
4 - Nancy Lopez - She did for the LPGA what Arnie did for the men. Her first few years on tour she was a winning machine and ratings, and prize money, went through the roof. She was always smiling, she was of the people, and her golf game was spectacular. One of the all time best to ever play. She had 48 LPGA wins, three majors, and another three around the world.
3 - Curtis Strange - Often confused for him on airplanes there was no confusion on the golf course. If I could have been anyone else in the world I wanted to be him. I lived and died with each weeks performance and when he won I was as happy as he was. 17 PGA tour wins, two majors, and another twelve on various tours make him one of the best. I loved his swing, his mannerisms, and his will to win.
2 - Jack Nicklaus - The greatest male golfer of all time. 73 wins on tour, 18 majors, and another 44 around the world. Here is the thing, he was second in majors 19 times! Imagine his record if he won only a third of them. His win at the Masters in 1986 at the age of 43 still is the most iconic moment in golf history. I don't have many hero's but Jack is one of them.
1 - Annika Sorenstam - I became a believer in 1992 after Vickie Goetz bested her at the U.S. Amateur in Chicago. It was clear to me that she was going to be the greatest woman's golfer of all time even with the loss. Her ability to come back, her steadiness, and her putting were so much better than any woman golfer I had seen that I became an instant fan and never looked back. 72 LPGA wins, 10 majors, and another 22 worldwide wins make her the number one golfer for me.
So there you have my list. I hope it made you think of your own.