It’s no easier to name five overrated players on the PGA Tour than it is to name five underrated players, so the slacker, pretend-I-am-a-golf columnist known as Tim Geary will have to do research on this topic, instead of his usual mailing-it-in-on-deadline gibberish?
I’ll take the liberty and blurt out my most overrated titanium-carrying cry-babies, I mean millionaires, with over 75 years playing professional golf on Tour. Offering an uninspiring total of 19 wins: Keegan Bradley (3), Rickie Fowler (1), John Daly (5), Sergio Garcia (8) and Ian Poulter (2).
Now, let’s get serious about the PGA Tour’s real-money guys. The kind of clutch performers you pick in your Fantasy Golf; the players you know will deliver when the pressure’s on; the sturdy-type who aren’t looking for a decent pay check from another top-20 finish, but rather the pro who can to put up the big “W” in the win column, not a phony “WD”.
When we talk about great players who might be considered overlooked, that don’t carry the high-profile charisma of a Tiger or Phil, a few honorable mentions include Padrig Harrington, Paul Casey, Geoff Ogilvy and Lee Westwood.
5.) Steve Stricker – At age 48, “Strick” should be priming for the Senior Tour but instead he shows up in about 20 tournaments every year, and has quietly cashed checks totaling over $40 million throughout his 25-year career. Stricker becomes a media darling when it’s time to pick a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team because he seems a compatible partner to Tiger Woods. Also, he won the PGA Tour’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2006; has 12 wins; 15 second-place finishes and is one of golf’s best all-time putters.
4.) Kevin Na – If Kevin Na showed up in your local pro-am, do you think anyone would notice? This 32-year old was born in South Korea and after 14 years laboring on Tour has only one win, but a whopping 45 top-10 finishes. Although he is a slow player with an awkward practice swing, some sadly know of him because he recorded a 16 in the 2011 Valero Open. Career earnings over $17 million and rising.
3.) Bill Haas – How can a player ranked No. 24 in the world be underrated? Well, Haas is not exactly a household name, even with father Jay, setting high standards for 30-plus years. And, believe it or not, the 2004 Wake Forest grad majored in Religious Studies. Haas’ career defining moment came in 2011, when he won the season-ending Tour Championship, defeating Hunter Mahan in a sudden death playoff. Who can forget the remarkable shot from a greenside pond under intense pressure on No. 18? The win propelled Haas to the 2011 FedEx Cup title and the $10 million prize. Haas has 6 career wins.
2.) Zack Johnson – Okay, same question, different answer. How can a player ranked No. 23 in the world be underrated? Zack Johnson has carved out a lucrative $34 million career on the PGA Tour for 10 seasons and has 11 wins, including the 2007 Masters, and 61 top-10s. Here’s a guy I really like because he ranks 168th in driving distance, averaging 281 yards, but he hits 68 percent of fairways, ranking him 14th in fairways. With an unusual See-More square-faced putter, Johnson is ranked No. 8 in strokes gained putting and No. 9 in All-Around category, which means he knows how to close the deal. Johnson doesn’t wear colorful clothes or make outlandish comments when the microphone is on and has played on several Ryder Cup and Presidents Cups, letting Rory, Tiger and Phil grab the headlines.
1.) Jim Furyk – I have yet to ask this golf trivia question and have someone answer correctly? Who is No. 3 on the all-time career earnings money list, after Tiger and Phil? It’s not a trick question. Answer: James M. Furyk, born and raised in West Chester, PA. Yes, the same Furyk with the God-awful swing, who was told in his younger days, that he would never make a living playing golf with a swing like that. Guess he proved everyone wrong because he still has the same horrendous swing, except, Furyk has deposited over $63 million the old-fashioned way – he earned it! With 17 wins; 29 seconds and 174 top-10s how is this guy underrated? At age 45, Furyk played in an era with huge global depth, owns a 2003 US Open title, a 2010 FedEx Cup crown, and most recently (April 19) captured the RBC Heritage. This raises one more question. How is this guy not in the Golf Hall of Fame?
(Tom Gorman also has a God-awful golf swing.)WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?