There is no doubt golf is a deeply frustrating game. Every golfer at every level has experienced the little agonies and deep wounds the game can inflict. Golf has a unique power to make men see red. Anyone doubting this doesn't have to look to far into the recent past for a great example—consider Mr. McIlroy's abrupt departure from the Honda Classic.
It was the British monarch King George V who said, "Golf always makes me so damned angry."
Of course, he also said, "Always go to the bathroom when you have a chance."
A wise ruler, indeed.
In a fitting follow-up to my last article, "The 8 Best Club Throws in Golf History," Tiger, Sergio and friends are back with their club tossing and cursing ways.
Here are the top 10 golfers on the PGA Tour who have had great difficulty restraining the anger His Majesty spoke of.
The 2006 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am champion had a reputation for being a bit of a hothead in his early years on tour, but he has mellowed somewhat with age. However, if you think he's entirely toned things down, follow the San Jose State alum on Twitter for a few days.
John Strege's 2005 piece in Golf World summarizes a classic Oberholser-ian outburst:
Eighteenth hole, Poppy Hills, first round of the 2005 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. A bad swing and a buried lie behind a cardboard trash receptacle attached to a post holding a gallery rope ("Who's idea was that?") set off a chain reaction that loosely resembled Oberholser's persona in microcosm. "The only rough on the course and I find it," he said. He jerked the post from the ground, flung it aside, kicked it, cursed it, swore at himself, at his misfortune.
The No. 9 entry on our list, Kevin Stadler, has certainly inherited his father's short fuse. There are plenty of anecdotes about Stadler the Younger's temper, but this one, from GolfWRX forum member Lefty94, relayed at last year's AT&T National, is an excellent illustration:
I'm here at the AT&T National on 6 green. Par 5. Group is on the green putting. Stadler's group behind. Stadler hits into them like 50 yards short of green while they're putting. Walks ahead of his group. As soon as the group in front of him is walking off the green he putts up from like 50 yards of the green and isn't even close. Walks on the the green and just starts putting. 3 putts without caring or lining up and walks off the green. His playing partners are still in the fairway. He storms off the green and walks right next to 7...Problem was other group was still teeing off.
The deep-sea fishing enthusiast (so says his official PGA Tour bio), in a display of He-Man strength, famously broke his club in half in the middle of the fairway at the 2011 US Open. In all fairness, the club was likely poised to break already, judging from the relative lack of ferocity with which Stenson pounded it into the ground, but it was an episode of the Swede's temper nonetheless.
"I've got a temper," Stenson said last year.
Kevin Na, with his characteristic slow play and bizarre inability to pull the trigger (if you're not familiar, check out this video), has the distinction of being both a player with a bad temper and one who could easily inspire others to lose theirs.
He's launched into on-course tantrums aplenty, and although he is widely regarded as one of the slowest players on the PGA Tour, he routinely becomes temperamental when put on the clock for slow play. The most recent example of Na letting hapless officials have it for rightfully instructing him to pick up the pace was at Colonial last year.
All this taken together explains why there was very little in the way of sympathy when Na carded an outrageous 16 at the Valero Texas Open in 2011.
There's a lot you can say about fifth-place Woody Austin's temper.
However, it would take a far better writer than myself to illustrate the point more poetically than this episode at the 1997 Verizon Heritage does.
There used to be this narrative that Tiger Woods was only a quasi-jerk. That Tiger, with his penchant for blowing snot rockets, spitting, swearing, throwing clubs and giving tremendously curt replies in press conferences, wasn't really a bad guy.
Instead, the story was that he was simply an immensely guarded and private man, burned by the media in the past, taught to be the ideal corporate athlete by Michael Jordan, with an ever-smoldering, eternally unwavering desire to lay anything and everything on the slaughter bench of being the greatest golfer ever.
This has been largely refuted in the past few years by a series of obvious examples I won't waste your time rehashing. If you want to see a few, though, have a look at my last article.
It takes real innovation in the temper tantrum department to surpass Tiger Woods on this list. Fortunately, Sergio Garcia and the remaining three golfers have that quality in spades.
The oft-irritated Spaniard has done a lot of things on the course that ought to have earned him a lengthy timeout. A few examples: his inexplicable decision to spit in the cup after retrieving his ball, this famous club throw and this bunker abuse.
Most absurdly (and in a golfing first, I believe), El Niño tossed his shoe into the crowd at the 1999 Players Championship and then gave it a compelling left-footed boot for good measure.
In the immortal words of Austin Powers, "Who throws a shoe?"
John Daly has long been one of the more colorful and divisive personalities on golf's professional circuit. He's literally one of the more colorful golfers, strolling the fairways of the PGA Tour with his trademark Loudmouth Golf pants.
Long John once took a spectator's camera and smashed it against a tree. Additionally, the Arkansas resident famously hit seven balls into the water and walked off the course at the Australian Open in 2011, reprising his 1993 early exit at Kapalua.
It's the Only Professional Golfer with a Mullet's predilection for walking off the course that earns him the third spot.
Narrowly missing out on top billing on the list is fan least-favorite Rory Sabbatini.
It's likely that you'll be hearing a lot more about the distinguished Sabo in the near future; the South African's recently divorced wife seems to have every intention of putting her ex on blast.
Rather than throwing clubs, Sabo prefers to hurl insults. Generally, his verbal missiles are aimed at fellow players, but he occasionally lashes at at other threatening targets...like volunteers trying to be helpful.
A few years ago, Sabbatini flipped his silly cowboy hat when a ShotLink volunteer marked the location where his ball had landed in the rough with a beverage container. He apparently became so enraged that he removed his belt and hurled it to the ground.
What's the worst that has happened at a golf tournament as a result of the tempers of the other players on this list?
Furrowed eyebrows? Fines? Disapproving looks? A drowned wedge? A bunker in pain? The unquantifiable "damage to the reputation of the game?"
Pat Perez's temper has produced something worse than all of the above: The golfer made children cry at the 2011 Reno Tahoe Open.
Blowing off autograph-seeking kids while storming away from the golf course in a rage earns Double P the top spot on this list.