Don't be surprised, even golf--a sport commonly associated with old men, golf carts, plush, blue-green fairways, and the tranquil whispers of TV announcers-- has its fair share of lunatics.
According to Dictionary.com, the term 'Headcase' is associated with words like 'unbalanced,' 'unpredictable,' or simply one who displays aggressive behavior.
On the golf course, that translates to not simply club-throwing, yelling at your golf ball just milliseconds after striking it, standing over the ball for minutes on end, thinking you can do the unthinkable--but more than anything, having the skills to compete at the highest level and being unable to capitalize.
Woods is the only player who deserves to be both on the Top 10 PGA Tour Headcases List, as well as the Top 10 Clutch PGA Tour Players List.
It's no secret--when the going gets tough, you don't doubt Tiger.
It's also no secret that Tiger can be horribly errant off the tee, an inconsistent putter, and an obsessive, mental case.
What distinguishes Tiger from the rest is that when he gets livid, you don't know what switch he will turn on--the ultra aggressive, intense, fuming Tiger that tries to pull off trick shots in tournament play, or the sound, yet bold, inspired Woods who will consistently prove that his talents beat the field.
He may be in the running to take over Tiger's No.1 World Rank, but Mickleson constantly makes the kind of mistakes that are not only costly, but warrant a spot on this list of headcases.
From Winged Foot in 2006 to his most recent last two rounds at the Crowne Plaza Invitational, Mickleson maintains his reputation as a sporadic golfer. His game is schizophrenic.
Though his short game is unparalleled on Tour, he has monumental collapses throughout his impressive career and though sometimes the risk is rewarding(this year at the Master's, the shot behind the tree), I'd rather see lefty be safe, then sorry.
Rarely do I feel like switching between the Golf Channel and something else.
Only when the cameras find Rory Sabbatini--on the tee or green, for an interview or on the range-- do I feel compelled to find an alternate form of entertainment. Why?
This guy repulses me.
Constantly scowling and disgruntled, I don't think Sabbatini knows how to smile. He appears to be in a perpetual state of fury, whether at himself for hitting a less then exceptional shot, or with his playing partner (Ben Crane may play slowly, but that in no way excuses what Rory Sabbatini did to him over the final two holes of the 2005 Booz Allen Classic).
Sabbatini is undeniably a talented golfer and sensational ball-striker, but he constantly beats himself up. I have seen him strike countless shots where just after the ball reaches its highest point in the air, Rory had already launched his club into the distance, thrown his hat on the ground, and was underway on a yelling rampage.
His quality of play is no excuse for his poor, childish attitude.
Get out your stopwatch, stand over a golf ball for twenty seconds and realize just how long that really is.
Now double that amount of time and you can imagine Sergio Garcia playing as fast as he possibly could.
This guy is probably more in his head than any player on tour. Though his swing is truly a thing of beauty--powerful and fluid all in one--from tee to green, Sergio has been struggling and has not shown any times of slowing up.
His real Achilles Heal--putting.
When Garcia stands over a putt, I cringe, cover my eyes, and pray. It's obvious--he's not confident with the flat stick. In the past, when the rest of his game has been on, his putting has held him back from hoisting the trophy on Sunday.
Until he revamps that crucial aspect of his game, he will continue to be considered a player that had a great deal of potential, but never reached his pinnacle.
I'm too young to have watched Daly win the PGA Championship in 1991 or the British Open in 1995, but I have been around for the last fifteen years of consistent inconsistency, screw-ups, rehabilitation, weight-gain, weight-loss--all for the love of the game.
Though Daly is in contention this week the Crowne Invitational, I can't quite get behind him because he hasn't proven anything substantial.
I have a vivid memory of John Daly at the American Express Championship at Harding Park Golf Course in 2005. In a two-hole playoff between Woods and Daly, all 'Long John' had left was a three-foot putt to extend the playoff
Daly quickly approached his ball and without even looking at the hole, he carelessly tapped the ball and completely missed.
Though it was just one putt, it was emblematic of his entire round that day and his on-course demeanor in general--he plays abruptly, recklessly, and without a sense of consequence.
Deep off the tee, solid ball-striking, and excellent touch on and around the greens--what has held back Adam Scott from breaking through on the PGA Tour?
You tell me.
Scott has had his swing compared to Tiger's, his overall game compared to his Australian mentor Greg Norman, but he has never quite lived up to the hype.
His erratic play over the last few years, especially throughout the 2009 season, has generated a sense of unpredictability whenever he steps on the golf course, which is simply upsetting considering he has an abundance of talent.
I don't think it's a fluke when a player wins the British Open.
But Ben Curtis makes me question that statement.
After winning at Royal St. George's in 2003 and making the epic leap from being ranked 396th to 35th, Curtis playing consistently stellar golf throughout 2003, earning him the Rookie of the Year award.
Has anyone seen him since?
What happened to Curtis after 2003? He has popped up in random tournaments, played well in a PGA Championship, but seriously--what happened to Curtis after that miraculous British Open?
Did you know that Chad Campbell was once in the top-ten of the Official World Golf Rankings? In fact, he has won the Tour Championship, finished runner-up in the Masters and PGA Championship, and has 20 wins as a professional.
My quandary--why isn't Campbell more of a threat on the PGA Tour?
When he steps onto a golf course, his level of unpredictability is too high. His rounds are often plagued by a multitude of fairways hit, with only few greens in regulation. Or his scorecard is highlighted by zero three-putts, but also zero one-putts.
Rarely, as his stats show, do the various components of his game mesh well. However, as his stats also show, when they do come together he is a force to be reckoned with.
On five separate occasions Colin Montgomerie has tragically placed second in a major.
However, I do not have sympathy for the big Scottsman.
As a player, he always seems distracted, dejected, and uncomfortable in his own shoes.
There was an air about him that simply emanated misery, which was enhanced by his sunken shoulders as he strolled in despair along the course.
But aside from his demeanor, Monty obviously had the skills to reign victorious multiple times on the PGA Tour.
It appears that his far too meticulous nature and inability to get beyond little mistakes and bumps in the road truly limited his ability to finish down the stretch.
Here's why this guy made the list--I watched an episode of 'Lessons from the Pros' on Golf Channel last year in which he said, with a straight face, that he refused to go on the driving range and practice without using a video-camera to watch his swing.
The truth is--Charles Howell III has one of the most fluid, textbook swings in all of golf. It is basically flawless.
But one major flaw is how Howell is way too mechanical in his approach to improving his golf game. Did Snead, Hogan, or Jones use a video-camera, let alone a coach, to enhance their games?
Howell, similar to Tiger right now, needs a 'back to basics,' simplified mentality about his golf game.