In a recent much publicized poll carried out by Sports Illustrated, Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter tied as the most overrated golfers in the game. Being ‘overrated’, however, is a contentious term, it has much to do with player hype, media coverage and perceived lack of (major) wins in relation to actual, or assumed talent. We delve further to bring you our most overrated.
For those of you interested Fowler and Poulter both polled 24% each in an anonymous player poll on who they thought is the most overrated player in the game. Interestingly, few, if any, golfers have come forward to admit participating in said poll. Certainly Fowler hadn’t according to his tweet on Friday…
@IanJamesPoulter too bad we had to tie at 24%…wish one of us could have gotten 1 more vote to claim the title…I’d vote for you
Fowler finished regulation play in The Players last weekend with three birdies and an eagle in his final four holes to post 12-under. It was a score matched by Sergio Garcia (also overrated?) and Kevin Kisner (underrated?). Fowler win the resulting playoff in similar style, completing his sixth birdie of the week on the 17th, the mast famous par three in golf, to claim the The Players title (and his first unofficial major) and put to bed any further accusations of overratedness.
There are others though that have not.
Anonymous polls are worth about as much as the opinion of those offering the anonymous information, especially considering that Bubba Watson was voted the third most overrated player AND the third most underrated too.
Putting Fowler and Poulter aside, it’s an interesting proposition. Who really are some of the most overrated golfers in the game? We offer some well known talents that, putting it politely, haven’t quite reached the standards expected…
Charl Schwartzel has a distinct lack of success outside his home country of South Africa. While we can all accept American golfers for their absent overseas ambitions, the same cannot be said for those globe-trotting non-Americans. (Accordingly, Poulter is a prime example, 12 European wins, only one on American soil = overrated). Schwartzel also has 12 professional wins, 7 of which were in his home country. He has never won a WGC and hasn’t really competed well enough on Tour or in the majors. However his stunning finish at the Masters in 2011 will continue to lull punters and galleries into backing him and tipping him in big events, when previous form would indicate otherwise.
Matt Kuchar has a game I would probably kill for, he has won countless millions on the PGA Tour, including some of the biggest titles: a WGC-Matchplay, The Players, The Honda, The Memorial, The Barclays and The Heritage. Despite all that silverware he has never figured throughout a major championship. Pretty poor for a guy fifteenth in all-time earnings on Tour. Let’s get this in perspective, he is an immense talent, yet there is that constant, nagging feeling he could have been so much more.
Ryo Ishikawa was the best thing to come out of Japan since sliced tofu, until Hideki Matsuyama came along and showed us something better. Ishikawa was a teenage sensation, winning a professional event in Asia at the age of fifteen and shooting a 58 to win another Japan Golf Tour event at the age of nineteen. While Matsuyama has embraced the PGA Tour, Ishikawa, still only 24, struggled to keep his Tour card and for such a phenomenal talent, he has flattered to deceive…so far!
Graham DeLaet had everyone awaiting his ‘arrival’ on Tour. The problem was, it never came. Consistent top ten results and a couple of runners-up positions had everyone anticipating a big 2014 season. But a back injury and extreme facial hair seem to have been more significant than his actual results. So much so that he was by-passed as the next ‘Mike Weir’ when Nick Taylor arrived with a bang by winning the Frys.com Open at the start of the season. Meanwhile DeLaet is still stagnating at number 76 in the OWGR. It still doesn’t stop people from getting excited when his name arrives on the leaderboard, getting it to stay there is another issue.
Jason Dufner might well have won a major, but his play surrounding that title has been almost non-existent. During his ‘golden period’ of 2012–13 ‘Duf’ had three wins, including his PGA Championship. Before that his main concern was just qualifying for the majors. Since then he has lost his hair, his weight and his wife. His golf has also seen a worrying dip south too. His best performance so far this year is T17 at The Honda and he is currently 104th in the FedEx and number 61 in the OWGR, a number which is likely to drop further if results don’t match up to his 2013 form.
There are certainly other contenders, Keegan Bradley is one that springs to mind, as is Luke Donald and Lee Westwood. But the term overrated is such a subjective one. Any one of us would love to be considered an overrated golfer with the talent (and bank accounts) of those above, but with all that talent are we guilty of expecting too much from too many players?
Even the very best don’t win that often.