Answering SI’s anonymous player poll questions
Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated conducted an anonymous poll, surveying more than 150 players across the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and Champions Tour on a variety of issues. They stayed away from the most overrated player question after last year’s result kinda blew up, but they didn’t shy away from some other interesting topics and it’s a fun read that I definitely recommend.
Some of the questions and answers interested me, so I figured I’d answer them myself and give my own take on them. Note that I didn’t answer all of them because of a few different reasons: First, I didn’t feel like I had a real opinion on some of them and secondly, I’m sure that many of you don’t really care about the Canadian viewpoint on American political issues, even though I think if you’ve followed along here and on Twitter over the past few months, you can see where I stand on those points.
Will Tiger Woods win another PGA Tour event?
So, it’s clear that the Champions Tour players believe much more in Tiger’s ability to climb the mountain again than anyone else, and when you remember that Tiger spent much of his formative PGA Tour career taking those guys to the woodshed, it makes sense that they would think that way. Having said that, the older players also understand better than anyone that you have a long lifespan as a player and with the advancements in technology over the last few years, many of their own careers have likely been extended as a result.
My vote would fall in the “Don’t know” category simply because of his health, but I will say this: if he can get and stay healthy, I have no doubt that he’ll actually win some events. I think it’s relatively obvious that he probably hasn’t been healthy since 2013 when he won five times, and at least for me, it’s impossible to tell how much of the poor play since then has been related to the injuries or if he’s all of a sudden forgotten how to play golf. I tend to side with the former, but I’m also not betting on him ever being healthy again either.
Going forward, who will win more majors: Jordan or Rory?
I’m torn on this. For the most part, I have always been on the “Rory is the best player in the world when everyone is on their game” bandwagon, and while I still think that’s true, there are three reasons why that doesn’t matter. First, with how arbitrary golf is, even at the highest level, expecting anyone to be on their game at every tournament, particularly at four random times of the year, is insane and completely unreasonable. Secondly, when Rory’s off his game, he tends to be really off his game, at least until he puts it back together again and backdoors a top-10. Lastly, that gap between him and the other players at the top of their games is either so minuscule right now or it’s gone altogether.
Jordan’s consistency has been an issue too I suppose, but ultimately, I feel like if I needed someone to hit a shot or a putt to win a tournament right now, I’d take him over Rory, so I guess that means I think he’ll win more majors going forward? I will definitely change my mind about 12893 times after I post this though.
Have you gone on a date with a woman you met at a tournament?
Did Fred Couples even read the entire question before answering ‘Yes’?
If you were to be in a bar fight, who would you want to have your back?
There were a lot of good answers to this question, and lord knows I wouldn’t want to fight Ernie Els if he got mad at me, but if you’re in a bar fight, I think it’s fair to say that at that point, anything goes. There are no judges scoring the fight, and you’re not going to be disqualified for doing something that is below board. You need to do what you can to make it out of there in the best shape possible, so if I’m looking for someone to have my back, there’s only one answer:
Now, I don’t know Spencer Levin. I’ve never met him before and if someone tells me I’m completely off the mark, I’ll gladly pick someone else, but he definitely looks like someone who would do whatever it takes to walk out of the bar without assistance.
Does the caddie deserve 10% of a winner’s check?
The answer is yes, and on top of that, I guarantee that the players reading the poll already know which PGA Tour player said that 8% was a more reasonable number. It must be a joy to work with that guy.
Do you use social media?
This might be my favourite quote in the entire piece:
Who has the prettiest swing on your tour?
On the PGA Tour, there are really only two answers to this question, and it’s the two that were mentioned the most often: Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen, but as I’ve done repeatedly in the past, I’d like to remind everyone that Oosthuizen’s left handed swing is better than everyone’s too, so he should really get the nod here.
Even with the knowledge that swing aesthetics are an incredibly personal thing, the fact that Tom Purtzer and Couples only totalled 44% of the Champions Tour vote seems super low. Purtzer never gets mentioned when it comes to the best swings ever, but it’s super, super smooth. For the LPGA, I can never get away from Ai Miyazato:
Before we move on, they didn’t ask any other tours, but when watching the European Tour a few weeks ago, I developed a serious swing crush on Soomin Lee:
Should the WGC-Cadillac be moved to a different venue because of Donald Trump’s stances?
Trump’s involvement in golf is a really touchy subject for a few reasons:
- It’s obvious that he loves the game.
- In a time when people don’t want to spend a ton of money on golf, Trump has no problem doing just that.
- He is offensive to a great number of people.
As I mentioned above, I don’t want to get too political here but the tours are in a really tough spot because of the combination of those three points. Throw in the fact that Trump owns significant legacy properties in the game and it makes it even more tricky. The WGC-Cadillac should be moved, but it has nothing to do with Trump. The course, particularly since the redesign, is terrible and doesn’t produce anything that resembles quality television. It’s too long, the greens are too fast and tricked out since the wind is always up and the players hate it. You could pick any number of courses to hold an event in early March, including several owned by Trump, that would be better.
Move it, and move it now.
Would you rather win the PGA Championship/Players/Texas Open or an Olympic gold medal?
Here’s the thing about playing in the Olympics: None of the players playing in the game today ever thought it would be possible that they could compete for a gold medal as a golfer. For some, that chance would be once in a lifetime and something that would be really cool, but for others, they’re just not going to care. Throw in schedule/family concerns, not wanting to travel to Brazil for one event and the Zika virus threat, and I totally understand why someone wouldn’t want to go.
Winning one of those three events, even the Texas Open, can be a life changer with the attached money and exemptions, and while the gold medal would be great to have too, I can’t say that I’d be travelling all the way to Brazil either.
Would you rather be paired with Bubba Watson or Kevin Na?
It seems like Na gets a really bad rap based on his reputation because he’s certainly faster than he used to be, but having said that, he’s definitely still on the slow side and I couldn’t handle that. Plus, with Bubba, I feel like I’d spend a ton of time in the round just laughing at everything he’s doing, particularly with Ted Scott. It helps that he’d be miles in front of me too.
Who would make a better Ryder Cup captain, Tiger or Phil?
Well, we know what Brandel thinks, that’s for sure. In terms of who would be a better captain, I’ve said before that it’s really difficult to quantify what a Ryder Cup captain truly does to affect the outcome of the matches aside from setting the pairings and their order. With how many players qualify automatically and the pressure on the captains to make sound decisions on their wildcard picks, it would be tough for them to make any bad decisions prior to the event. Tiger’s not going to choose Notah and Mark O’Meara to join the team, so at that point, you just need to make decisions that don’t actively hurt your team, which was the biggest mistake Tom Watson made two years ago at Gleneagles.
We can talk about the locker room mentality and keeping players loose while they’re at the event, but ultimately, you can have the most tight knit group of guys that have love playing with each other but if they don’t actually hit good golf shots, it doesn’t matter. I know that’s the most obvious thing to say ever, but if the American team played amazing golf two years ago and somehow overcame Watson’s blunders, we wouldn’t be talking about how much of a disaster that captaincy was.
Both Tiger and Phil will do just fine as Ryder Cup captains, assuming that the players actually perform.
Would you rather drive it like Dustin Johnson or putt it like Jordan Spieth?
Champions Tour specific questions
Would you wear Rickie Fowler’s hightops?
As long as the direct deposit goes through, I’d wear just about anything. This though, is rrrreeaalllly close to the borderline.
Which Champions tour major is most important?
Whichever one sees John Daly paired with Couples in the final round.
Are you O.K. with your grandkids (or any kids) seeing so many Viagra and Cialis ads during golf telecasts?
So, this is something that I never really thought about until Kevin Van Valkenburg mentioned it a little while ago, and aside from maybe having your own mugshot appear on the television screen, I can’t imagine a more awkward conversation to have.
” Grandpa, what’s Viagra?”
” Um, well, honey, sometimes men need a little help making women…um, well what had happened was…there’s this pill that gives guys more confidence…oh hey, the golf’s back on!”
There’s no good way to answer that question, and you can say that you’re okay with it being on television, but I’m going to go on the assumption that the only reason you would answer it in that way is because you’ve never had to answer it yourself.
LPGA Tour specific questions
Will Michelle Wie win another major?
If you’ve read my many pieces on why I think Sergio Garcia will win a major, you won’t be surprised to read that I think Wie’s too talented to not win a lot of tournaments and that some will be majors, but she’s in a tough spot. I kind of look at her as being like Graeme McDowell in the sense that it’s a good thing he won his major in that post-Tiger, pre-Rory era because the players coming up now are so good and there’s so many of them that it’s difficult to predict anyone but them winning.
Wie is facing the same thing on the LPGA Tour, and much like Sergio again, her biggest problem is that when you watch her on the greens, it’s hard to have a ton of confidence. If I had to bet, I’d say yes but it’d be at about 50.1% confidence.
Will Yani Tseng win another LPGA event?
Tseng is obviously facing the same issues as Wie in terms of the younger group of players who are on the come up, but I find it hard to believe that she won’t win again. Her last win was over four years ago, but she had a runner-up finish as recently as October and when you look at her stats, there are a lot of good things going on there that would point to her grabbing a few more wins before she retires. This one is a no-brainer for me.
Adam Scott or Rickie Fowler?
Wearing face paint at the Solheim Cup is . . .
Probably a little over the top, but golf always has an issue with not letting players show emotion and express themselves, so I was totally cool with it. Those lunch boxes though? Get outta here with that.
Suzann Pettersen’s apology was . . .
The answer here is that it was a combination of both PR and sincerity. I’m sure that right after the incident with Allison Lee happened, Pettersen’s team was rushing around to figure out a way to cover it and make sure that Pettersen would come out looking as good as possible, but I have a hard time believing that Pettersen would have gone along with it if she didn’t believe that what she did was out of line. How far out of line she was is anyone’s interpretation, and I’d be willing to bet even now that Pettersen doesn’t believe she was too far gone, but that she could have handled the whole thing in a much better way.
The only answer I am confident about is of the second question: undoubtedly Jordan is whom I see taking golf to the next level, doesn’t matter how many wins he gets. By far the most inventive golfer of our times.
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