Ranking the 10 Most Frustrating Golfers to Root for
Golf can be a very frustrating game when you're out there hacking around trying to not embarrass yourself in front of your weekend foursome.
When you morph into a golf fan and sit down in your favorite chair to watch your favorite players on the PGA Tour, it can also be frustrating. The best guys in the world seem to take the longest time to play.
They'll defend their plodding by using excuses like field size, tucked pins, rock-hard greens, high rough and blah, blah, blah. Oh, and don't forget their favorite: playing for a lot of money and that allows them to play at whatever pace they want.
But that's not the only thing that makes players frustrating to watch.
Here's a list of nine guys who make me shake my head.
9. Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson makes this list, but not for the negative reasons associated with the other guys on it.
I get frustrated watching Phil Mickelson because of the decisions he's made over the years that have caused him to leave untold numbers of wins and dollars out on the golf course.
The 2006 U.S. Open is still the one that stands out. Needing only a par on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot, Mickelson pulled a driver on that hole, a club that had regularly failed him that day. And sure enough, he bounced his tee ball off the roof of a hospitality tent, clipped a branch trying to make a hero shot with his next and ended up with a double bogey and another lost chance to win the elusive U.S. Open title.
He's finished second in the U.S. Open six times, including last year at Merion.
Make no mistake, I appreciate and admire what he's done throughout his career. He's a Hall of Famer, but he's also the guy who could have blown Tiger Woods away in popularity had a few of those "almosts" come through.
No, this is a popular frustration.
8. John Daly
When John Daly came from nowhere (he was the ninth alternate) to win the PGA Championship in 1991, he was an American hero.
He became an international sensation when he won the British Open in 1995 at St. Andrews.
Not all that many years after that title, he started becoming known as infamous rather than famous.
Daly has battled a multitude of problems during his life including, but not limited to, alcohol, smoking, gambling and ex-wives. He has gone through stretches on the course where his conduct would even be frowned on at your local muni.
Despite many attempts on his own, and with the help of others, to deal with his issues, Daly has frittered away most everything he's won and is now a struggling golfer on the way down.
He's frustrating because it's been such a shame to watch a guy waste some very obvious talents.
7. Sergio Garcia
He was a petulant young man when he first played on the PGA Tour and he's grown into a cranky guy in his 30s who has refused to take responsibility for where his career has (or hasn't) gone.
From his waggle, waggle, waggle, grip, re-grip, grip, re-grip, ad nauseum, to the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage when he responded to jeering New York fans by flipping them the bird, to complaining that the golf gods were against him after losing the British Open in 2007 at Carnoustie, to saying in 2009 that the Augusta National was too tricky and he wasn't good enough to play there, it's all been classic Garcia.
You expect whining from children, but when you sit down to watch golf on TV, it becomes too much like work to suffer someone like Garcia.
6. Trevor Immelman
Trevor Immelman shocked the world in 2008 when he won the Masters just months after having surgery to remove a growth from his diaphragm.
He was known as a slow player before the Masters, but when he took the first few steps down the fairway on the first hole at Augusta National, the adoring crowds had no idea that Immelman had another surprise in store for them.
It took playing partner Brandt Snedeker and him five hours and 10 minutes to play that final round. Snedeker is the polar opposite of Immelman, always ready to hit and sometimes even playing too quickly for his own good.
They finished in the fast-fading light and sent new standards for slowness.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who reaches for the TV remote when a tortoise takes over the game.
5. Keegan Bradley
In some ways, Keegan Bradley is a modern-day Jim Furyk.
No, his swing does not look like he's wrestling a python as Furyk's does.
And no, he's not as accomplished as Furyk, even though Bradley does have a PGA Championship on his resume.
No, he's a disciple of Furyk's style of pre-shot routine. Bradley adds his own twist, rocking once or twice between standing behind the ball on the tee and actually addressing the ball.
Then there's the ridiculous stink-eye he gives to putts along with the accompanying theatrics.
There's just too much going on there and all of it makes it hard to root for him.
4. Vijay Singh
Vijay Singh has never been the kind of guy you could ever feel like you could get warm and fuzzy with.
Even early in his PGA Tour career, he was aloof and not very fan-friendly.
The man had a great run on the tour and piled up some impressive numbers, but his attitude just made it way too much work to have a big rooting interest in him.
I met him at a party once during the Players Championship and we had a very nice 10-minute conversation. The next day at a press conference there, I asked a question and he snarled at me.
He struggled with his putter over the years, frustrating his fans over and over, and then came the admission of his use of deer antler spray that cast a shadow over the Fijian.
3. Ben Crane
Ben Crane is a very funny guy.
He also brought the issue of slow play to the forefront of golf's psyche in 2005 at the Booz Allen Classic at Congressional Country Club.
Crane was playing with Rory Sabbatini in the final round and after the two were put on the clock, Sabbatini became fed up and played ahead of Crane, hitting to the 17th green, putting out and going to the 18th well before Crane had finished the hole.
Crane says he's worked on it and is doing better.
Sorry, I still get frustrated watching him.
2. Kevin Na
Take a guy who is generally slow to begin with, throw in a mental block that caused him to be unable to pull the trigger in the 2012 Players Championship and you have a player that is supremely frustrating.
Meet Kevin Na.
He's one who gained a reputation of being a slow player but, because the PGA Tour does virtually nothing to correct this situation, he has continued to plod along—and then came 2012.
Na was having trouble with his swing from start to finish and waggled, re-waggled, stopped and started to the point of annoying those who watched on television as well as at the TPC at Sawgrass.
While he was able to get the most serious problem fixed, I still have trouble watching him play.
1. Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk has accomplished a great deal over the course of his PGA Tour career. He won a U.S. Open in 2003 and has been a staple on the American Ryder and Presidents Cup teams.
The other thing he's accomplished is one of the most frustrating pre-shot routines known to the history of man.
Regardless of the shot, from tee to green, Furyk studies, calculates, sets up, backs up, recalculates, sets up again and then gets to the business of hitting a shot. On the green, he circles putts, looks at them from both sides, addresses the ball, re-addresses the ball and then maybe strikes the putt.
You feel yourself leaning forward in your seat, thinking he's going to play and then leaning back as he goes through his very frustrating routine.