In the venerable tradition of Luke Petkac’s “NBA Swag: Who Has it, Who Doesn’t,” I present a similar examination of swag on the PGA Tour.
Before tackling the obvious objection to anyone in the gentleman’s game possessing a modicum of swag, it’s essential to explore the essence of this oft-misunderstood concept.
According to the only reliable resource for such knowledge, The Urban Dictionary, “swag” is defined as:
Originally from the Scottish slang word "swagger" which was a description of the way some Scots walk (in a swaying motion), the word was then misinterpreted by the English as "the way someone presents themselves," e.g., whether someone looks cool.
Further, “swagger” is defined as:
How one presents him or her self to the world. Swagger is shown from how the person handles a situation. It can also be shown in the person's walk. Swagger is to to move with confidence, sophistication and to be cool. Swagger is to conduct yourself in a way that would automatically earn respect To dress in a very stylish and quirkily fashionable way would suggest one is swagger.
A demeanor of confidence, coolness, and togetherness. Someone with Swagger gives of an aura of comfortability with his/her self. Swagger is commonly referred to as Swag or Swagga. Swagger is not to be confused with cockiness. Cockiness is someone thinking they are the s**t, but if you have swagger you probably are the s**t.
So, then, the tour players with swag are those who have an element of coolness, perhaps bordering on the badass, who exude confidence, are generally well dressed and are given to cockiness. They may not be the most well-liked players, but you can be assured they don’t care.
On to the swaggerific!
Mr. Armour and Mr. Couples are the embodiments of golfing cool. As both play primarily on the Champions Tour at present, they make this list as honorary mentions. This isn't a commentary on their respective swag factors, however, as each has that particular quantity in spades.
Couples, for his part, is a cool customer, as comfortable on the fairways of Augusta (where he won in 1992) as he is cleaning up in the laid-back Skins Game each year. Truly, if there's a golf swing that embodies "swag," it's his.
Armour, for his part, is party to the same type of cool which Couples exudes, as well as an element of badassness.
A reputed friend to the ladies, Mr. Armour is no stranger to the good life. In a Golf Digest interview, the grandson of the legendary Silver Scot said, "You're allotted only so many days, so you might as well enjoy them."
And enjoy them he does.
The Belgian Bomber certainly isn't lacking in the swag department. His Twitter bio simply reads "golf player."
Reportedly, he was once a "player" off the golf course, as well, but he's abandoned the wine and women in favor of actually trying to win golf tournaments, according to an article in Golfweek last year.
The long-hitter dominated in his Ryder Cup debut and gave the following memorable quote: "There are no tools you can use out there. You've just got to go with what you have in your pants."
I'm not totally sure what it means, but it sounds swagtastic. Go with what you have in your pants, indeed!
Even before all this business with Instagram superstar Paulina Gretzky, Dustin Johnson was near the top of a significant statistical category on tour: swag.
Incidentally, he's also one of the leaders in another statistic: driving distance. His big, bow-wristed backswing and power through the ball combine to form on of the sweetest swings on tour.
Johnson, with his South Carolina cool, is a legitimate athlete who can dunk a basketball. He also swaggers—in the original "Scottish" sense of the word. Watch the way DJ walks around the golf course, and you'll know the true meaning of swag.
Sure, Adam Scott's performance at the 2012 Open Championship wasn't exactly brimming with swagger. The absence of fortitude and the mistakes over the final five holes of the tournament were lacking a certain swagnificence.
Further, the long putter is a serious blow to a golfer's swag factor.
Even so, Adam Derek Scott has to make this list. He's dated actresses and athletes, he's always well dressed (this sweater notwithstanding), and he has an affinity for catching waves on his surfboard.
I speculate if you do a straw poll of the ladies in the gallery of a tour event as to what golfer has the most swag, Mr. Scott would be a serious contender.
What can really be said about "The Most Interesting Man in Golf?" With his incredible ponytail and ever-present cigars, he has almost become a parody of himself.
We get it Miguel, you're having a great time!
Regardless, how can this guy not be near the top of any swag list? He's shamelessly devoted to enjoying life but doesn't seem profoundly self-indulgent while doing it.
Rather, the Spaniard is a prophet of a simpler, slower way of life and the savoring of a cigar, a golf shot or a glass of wine. Sure, he'd like to win golf tournaments, it seems, but he's not going to kill himself trying to force such a result.
That's an attitude nearly as swag as his traditional Lacoste polos.
I could fill a book with anecdotes of TW's swag. Conversely, I could make a fair argument that he's just a borderline sociopathic jerk and a prima donna.
Instead, I'll just say the following regarding Tiger Woods' swag: Play the video. Pay particular attention to the putt at 3:20.
There are vastly more players on the PGA Tour hopelessly devoid of swag than can be mentioned here.
For example, Stephen Ames, Justin Rose, Steve Stricker, Charl Schwartzel, Zach Johnson, Padraig Harrington, Tim Clark, Ben Curtis, Chris DiMarco, Ben Crane, Brad Faxon, Nick O'Hearn, Davis Love III, Vijay Singh, Robert Allenby, Chad Campbell, Bill Haas, Kevin Na and Kenny Perry, to name a few!
The essential litmus test of the swaglessness of these individuals is this: If you were to encounter any one of these players off the golf course, would you ever say, "Ah, that guy has swag!"?
On the other hand, those on the "Most Swag" list could compel exactly the opposite response.
On to the swag impaired.
Arguably, Webb Simpson is the only human being who felt that switching from a Polo clothing sponsorship to an Izod sponsorship was a good idea or that wearing your grandmother's cardigan to a professional golf tournament is advisable.
The long-putter toting golfer's U.S. Open victory was so lame last year that the enduring image from the tournament is that of the Junglebird mercifully interrupting Simpson and the equally swag-deprived Bob Costas mid-interview.
Cink looks so profoundly uncomfortable in his new Taylormade duds that it makes me uneasy.
Taylormade-Adidas would do better to outfit him in Ashworth. The present situation is analogous to a mother trying to look hip by dressing like her daughter.
I remember watching from behind the 18th green as Stewart Cink putted to win the 2006 Bridgestone Invitational. It seemed that, as he stood over the ball, taking longer than usual, everyone seemed to know he'd miss the entirely makable putt.
Predictably, he made a pathetic stroke, missed the putt and lost to Tiger Woods in the resultant playoff.
It's not all Cink's fault, though. It's nearly impossible to have any serious amount of swag and be named Stewart.
The fact that he looks like a Who from How the Grinch Stole Christmas notwithstanding, Matt Kuchar seems to be a great guy.
The 1997 U.S. Amateur Champion appears to be a committed family man and a generally decent individual.
Unfortunately, he's utterly lacking in swag.
"Kuch" (which is certainly a swagless nickname) somehow always ends up looking hulking (he's 6'4''), awkward and lost in clothes that never seem to fit. He looks more like a high school math teacher than a tour golfer.
It's possible that you might think that a high-rolling playboy like Phil Mickelson is imbued with a decent amount of swag. After all, he wears Rolex watches and crocodile belts.
Jim Furyk is one of my favorite golfers, so it truly pains me to place him at the top spot on this list.
However, with the most hideous golf swing in the professional game and a bizarre affinity for bowling shirts on the golf course, Mr. Furyk has placed himself head and shoulders above the rest of the list.
A truly bizarre pitchman for Five Hour Energy, Furyk's commercial spots for the product are tough to watch.
A great guy? Yes. A hard-working, blue-collar golfer to be respected? Yes, indeed.
A golfer woefully devoid of any swagger? Unfortunately, yes to that as well.