The 5 Most Unappreciated Stars of the PGA Tour
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This might seem to be the kind of list on which highly paid, highly visible professional athletes might dread finding their names, but not all golfers would agree.
As in every other walk of life, the spotlight shines too brightly for some and not nearly bright enough for others.
While professional golfers are always in the spotlight, here’s a list of five who qualify as being unappreciated stars on tour.
Jason Dufner quietly goes about his business.
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Jason Dufner is on this list because he’s the kind of guy who lets his game do his talking. And smiling. And getting whatever attention that comes his way.
Dufner is in his mid-30s but he’s on the verge of becoming one of the game’s superstars.
He’s unappreciated because he doesn’t go looking for attention. He’s not flashy, will never rock the media center with outrageous quotes.
No doubt about it as one of the latest waves of big names to arrive on the PGA Tour, he flies a bit below the radar and likes that just fine.
K.J. Choi is business-like on the course, but occasionally flashes a smile.
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Would you be surprised to know that K.J. Choi has eight wins on the PGA Tour, four second places and five thirds and has earned over $27 million in his 12 seasons on tour?
I’m guessing most of the answers to that question would be yes.
He’s also unappreciated because of the language barrier he had to battle in the early part of his career. Choi has done wonderful things off the course, including donating $200,000 to help victims of tornadoes that ripped through the southeast in 2011. As is his way of doing things, the donation came about very quietly.
He works as hard as anyone on his game and, should he capture a major, his appreciation rating would skyrocket.
Hunter Mahan ponders a question in the media center.
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Hunter Mahan is a proven talent on the PGA Tour, having won five times but is often left out of the discussion of elite players.
He made the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2009, but lost in the singles match against Graeme McDowell that proved to be the difference in the Europeans winning the Ryder Cup.
After getting off to a fast start last year, he faded in the middle of the year and was left off the U.S. team that lost to Europe at Medinah.
He’s one of the best ball-strikers on tour, but a few more wins, including a major, would shed the unappreciated tag.
Steve Stricker became one of Tiger Woods' regular partners in team events.
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Steve Stricker announced that he was cutting his 2013 schedule back to as few as 10 events. Golf fans won’t realize what they’ll have missed until he’s not out there.
Stricker has been the best putter on the PGA Tour for many years, earning him nearly automatic spots in team competitions like the Ryder and Presidents Cups.
He’s also been the All-American guy from Wisconsin who has loved playing professional golf, but also very much enjoys hunting and fishing with family and friends.
Stricker is one of the truly good guys to have ever played on the PGA Tour.
Zack Johnson (left) has felt the pain of a Ryder Cup loss.
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It’s hard to imagine a Masters champion could be unappreciated but since Zach Johnson put on the green jacket in 2007, he’s made a bunch of money but has posted just three top 10s in majors since then.
He was so gutsy and strategic in that win at Augusta National that his game appeared to be the perfect fit for major championships, but that hasn’t happened.
He and his wife Kim have established a foundation for young children in Iowa where Johnson grew up.