Let’s put our creative thinking caps on and have some fun. Take who you feel was the best at each aspect of the game and build the Greatest of All Time (GOAT). Who do you feel is/was the greatest driver, iron player, scrambler, short-game wizard, and putter in the history of the game? We’ll even go with some extras like biggest heart, best swing, etc. And I want you, the reader, to get involved. Submit your GOAT on our Facebook under the comments for this post, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will receive a dozen Bridgestone E6 golf balls for free! There are no wrong answers but I will be extremely judgmental. 🙂
Driver: Rory McIlroy We’re looking for the best combination of distance and accuracy here. The driver is no doubt the best club in Rory’s bag. He has finished in the top-10 in strokes gained off the tee 8 of the last 9 years, finishing 1st in three of those seasons. He averaged 314 off the tee, hitting 62% of his fairways in 2019. Honorable mentions: Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Greg Norman
Irons: Jack Nicklaus Not a lot of stats were kept in Jack’s prime, but highlights and history tell us that nobody hit a long iron like Jack, especially a 1 iron. They flew higher, farther, and he could move them both ways. His impact just sounded different. We all know the replay of Nicklaus’ 1 iron hitting the flag on 17 at Pebble and settling a foot away from the cup. Honorable mentions: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ben Hogan
Short-game: Phil Mickelson When you think chip-ins, flop shots, and getting up and down from God knows where, you think of Lefty. Phil mastered the 64 degree wedge, made it popular, and perfected the flop shot. Great hands, imagination, and guts are what it takes to be a short-game wizard, and Phil is the best. Honorable Mentions: Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Zach Johnson, Tom Watson
Scrambling: Seve Ballesteros You get good at scrambling by unfortunately missing many fairways and putting yourself in ridiculous places throughout the course. You also have to be extremely confident, and a little nuts, to attempt and pull off the shots needed to get back in play or to save par. Seve feared no shot and was arrogant enough to think he could do anything. His hall of fame career is thankful for that tenacity and talent to pull off the impossible. Honorable mentions: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Arnold Palmer
Putter: Tiger Woods Simply put, Tiger has never missed a putt he had to make. From 2002-2005 he had 1,540 putts from 3 feet or less, he only missed 3 of them. Woods once played over 400 consecutive holes without a 3-putt. I know guys that 3-putt 2 and 3 times per round! The most impressive thing is that most of these putts have been made under incredible pressure and on the game’s biggest stage. There’s a par 5 length of highlights to prove it. When you need someone to knock in a 10-footer to determine your fate, you pick Eldrick Tiger Woods, 10 times out of 10. Honorable mentions: Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Brad Faxon
Best swing: Fred Couples Take all the above attributes and let’s find a guy to swing it for us, and swing it beautifully. There are a lot of gorgeous, flawless moves out there, on the current tour and from the past. But I have always been fascinated with and idolized the kings of smooth. Fred Couples’ swing is like syrup on a hot stack of pancakes. Easy to repeat, flows like summer wine, and still packs a ton of power. If a golf swing can be sexy, Freddy’s is it. When a guy swings at age 60 exactly like he did at age 25, you know it’s good. Honorable mentions: Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Ernie Els, Ryan Palmer
Most heart: Gary Player While not big in stature, as he is barely 5’8”, the Black Knight had the heart of a lion and was a gritty competitor. He was strong as a bull and can still do 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups in his 80’s. Before Tiger had the fitness trailers rolling into every tour stop, Gary was advocating fitness and athleticism in golf in the 60’s. There wasn’t any aspect of the game that he did great. But when he was on and put it altogether, he one of the best ever. He stared Nicklaus, Palmer, Watson, and Trevino right in the eyes, and often came out victorious. Player has been one the game’s greatest ambassadors and motivators. Honorable mentions: Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Jim Furyk
Best dresser: Tiger’s shirts and pleated pants were just too baggy in the 90’s, and I always hated the top button buttoned in the early 2000’s. But from 2002 and on Tiger and Nike put together a nice and clean wardrobe. Clothes always looked good on Tiger, but it helps when you’re 6’1”, 190. When I think of golf attire the 70’s and last 10 years really stand out to me. It seems fashion took a backseat in the 80’s and 90’s. Shirts were huge and the colorways were hideous. I was always a fan of stiff-collared polos like what Arnie would wear in his day and what Graeme McDowell often wears today. I either love what Ian Poulter puts together, or hate it. I do admire him for always trying. But after sifting through these guys and their gear choices over the years, by pick for best dressed is Adam Scott. He’s been consistent and at times shows a little swag. But not over the top like an orange belt with palm trees all over his slacks. He was at his best when he was with Burberry. They made him some awesome shirts. Not just Adam, who seldom does it, but I hate when the guys wear all black. Head-to-toe. You’re playing golf not attending a funeral. And you’re certainly not a waiter. Honorable mentions: Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, Ian Poulter
Houston Open Picks
I was right on with my DeChambeau pick as he finished tied for 4th at Shriners, and my other 2 picks played well until the weekend. Charles Howell III was -10 thru 3 rounds then shot the wheels off with a 76 on Sunday, and Scottie Scheffler opened with back-to-back 67’s only to finish t-74 for the week.
Kevin Na’s record-breaking putting performance helped him to his 4th career win, and 3rd win in his last 30 starts. Only Brooks Koepka has more wins (4) in that span. Brooks, however missed the cut in Vegas, but his brother Chase played the weekend and finished 67th. Na made 558 feet of putts for the week and was an incredible +14.263 over the field in strokes gained putting.
The Houston Open returns to the schedule and is now part of the fall rotation. The last time the event was played it was the week before the Masters, and was won by Ian Poulter.
Winner: Pat Perez Played well last week in Vegas with a solo third. Last played here in 2015 and finished T11. I like where his game is at.
Will contend: Jhonattan Vegas University of Texas alum and resides in Houston. Sleeping in your own bed is always good for the game.
Sleeper: Beau Hossler Finished runner-up to Poulter in ’18. He hasn’t done much since, but he’s young, fearless, and knows the course well.
Enjoy the game and each other,
Written by Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional
Published by Craig Walton