The Golfer Watchability Index: Part 2
Catch up on previous Golfer Watchability Index posts: Part One
T41. J.B. Holmes (53)
Watching J.B. Holmes bomb the ball and smash irons from places where other players are taking woods is a lot of fun, and like most successful tour players, he plays to his strengths. There’s very little laying up with Holmes, and his story is fun: played on the high school golf team when he was in the third grade, has a childhood friend as his caddie and his rapid recovery from brain surgery is still something that boggles my mind, plus he actually has more fun than I think he gets credit for. Truth be told, the only thing that’s really holding Holmes back from being higher on this list is the alarmingly slow pace he plays at these days.
T41. Martin Kaymer (53)
Martin Kaymer is the single most confusing professional golfer in the world. We all know that even at the professional level, the game has massive ups and downs, but can you honestly think of any other player who has a bigger discrepancy between his ceiling and floor? When Kaymer is on, I legitimately believe that he can be mentioned in the same class as guys like Rory, Jordan and Jason, but when he’s off, he’s more like Sabbatini, Niebrugge and Kokrak, but that’s what makes him so intriguing even if it can be infuriating. If he’s playing well, he’s usually very aggressive too, which was most evident when he crushed the field at Pinehurst two years ago to win his second major championship. I ranked him as a five in emotion, but even that may have been generous considering that the European Tour themselves made fun of Kaymer for this a few years ago:
Still, I love the swing, the Hugo Boss clothing and that he warms up with weird training aids just like some random 15 handicapper.
38. Paul Casey (54)
Having Paul Casey back in the hunt over the past couple of seasons has been one of my favourite things in all of golf. His Popeye forearms, accentuated by Nike’s apparent mandate that he wear smedium neon shirts makes me laugh every time and by all accounts, he’s a genuinely nice guy who is starting to look like the guy who was at one point ranked third in the world behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. He’s a fantastic ball striker who makes a lot of birdies, and we’ll be seeing him a lot more on the PGA Tour now that he has given up his European Tour card.
37. Jerry Kelly (54.5)
Jerry Kelly is turning 49 years old this month and he has one PGA Tour win (2009 Zurich) in the last decade. Kelly’s not all that unique in that sense, as you can find dozens of tour players with the exact same kind of record, but what sets Kelly apart is that you might not find a single person in all of golf who has more fun being out there. How many players can you think of off the top of your head who would fake giving a wedge to fans randomly like in the above GIF? What about this intentionally over the top club toss after almost nabbing an ace and a free car on a par-3?
He also attempts to will the ball into the hole with more body language than any golfer on tour:
His swing is kinda weird, and I don’t really think of him as a threat to win on a weekly basis, but there’s no doubt that Jerry Kelly is just a ton of fun to watch. You may have to tune in at the FedEx St. Jude or the John Deere to see him, but it’s more than worth it.
36. Pat Perez (55)
Pat Perez’ one PGA Tour win came almost seven years ago at the 2009 Bob Hope, but much like Jerry Kelly, he’s never lost his card which is for the benefit of every single person who watches golf. He’s fun, he’s personable, he’s refreshingly honest and even though he’s calmed down a lot in the last few years, there’s always the possibility that this version of Perez shows up:
I think some people view Perez as a bit of an underachiever and basically only know him as a hothead, but the guy can flat play and when he’s on, he’s the type of player that you can easily see going out on any course and firing a 60. The video linked below shows more of Perez than we usually get a chance to see, so I recommend checking it out.
T35. Jason Dufner (55.5)
If having Paul Casey back was one of the things that I’ve enjoyed most about the last couple of years, seeing the downward spiral of Jason Dufner has been the exact opposite of that. When Dufner won the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in 2013, he put on one of the most enjoyable ball striking fiestas that I can remember. He was firing at pins and getting close enough to the hole that his putting issues weren’t really a factor and when he won, it really seemed like we were looking at the next American superstar. Then he had some neck issues and over two years later, we’re still waiting for Dufner to pick up his next win and barring a quality finish in a silly season event, we’re looking at Dufner posting just one top-10 finish worldwide in 2015. I can’t quit Dufner though.
His 0 to 100 turn in emotion is always great and the fact that he doesn’t actually have a set number of waggles before he actually swings the club is weird and fun.
Please come back to form, Duff Daddy, the PGA Tour needs you.
T35. Shane Lowry (55.5)
I don’t think that it’s a stretch to say I probably watch more European Tour golf than the average golf fan who lives in North America, which is why it was so cool to see Shane Lowry come over and win the Bridgestone this year in the style that he did. People who didn’t ordinarily get a chance to see him play witnessed two things that European Tour watchers have known for a long time: he’s super aggressive and he’s got a freakishly good short game, which I personally think is the most entertaining part of the game when it’s done well. Look at some of his work from the Bridgestone:
What is also painfully clear from watching him is that he’s a master of the club twirl, to the point where he does it on pretty much every shot he hits and even though we’re still a long way from the event, Lowry has put himself in a great spot to make his first Ryder Cup team in 2016.
T35. Matt Kuchar (55.5)
Despite his obvious talent, when I initially made this list, Kuchar was nowhere to be found. I don’t think I really need to explain why as anyone who watches a lot of golf can probably understand, but then I got to thinking about it and Kuchar’s “golly gee” personality is so counter to everything that should be watchable that it actually becomes entertaining. I’m convinced that he purposely dresses in mismatched colours because there’s no way that anyone would ever dress like he does without it being a joke, and people inside the game have all kinds of stories about how legendary he is in the locker room and with the other players.
I mean, how can you not laugh at this?
What’s weird though is that sometimes he pulls off some quality #TourSauce as well.
The most apt description of Kuchar was made by Justin Bourne last year:
He’s an incredibly watchable fannypack, though.
32. Tony Finau (56)
Let me run you through some stats from Tony Finau’s 2014-15 PGA Tour season:
- Driving Distance: 309 yards (7th)
- Birdie Average: 4.10 (7th)
- Going for the green percentage: 67.32% (4th)
- Going for the green – hit green percentage: 30.43% (5th)
- Club head speed: 124.07 MPH (1st)
I think that about covers it.
T31. Pablo Larrazabal (56.5)
Pablo Larrazabal is a good player, without question. He wouldn’t have four European Tour wins and multiple appearances in majors and WGC’s if he wasn’t, and part of his appeal is that he’s a very aggressive player, but there’s really only one reason why he made this list: he’s absolutely volcanic. Take a look at some of his highlights:
Never change, Pablo.
The next post will examine golfers 30-21.