Phil Mickelson and the Top 11 Nice Guys in Golf

John BurkeContributor IJune 7, 2011

Phil Mickelson and the Top 11 Nice Guys in Golf

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    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 06:  Phil Mickelson signs autographs for fans during the Par 3 Contest prior to the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 6, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    When people think of golf, some think of angry men who hit a little white ball. And while some golfers fall into that stereotype, many don't.

    The PGA Tour is filled with great guys. Sure, there are some bad apples out there but as a whole PGA Tour players have a great reputation. 

    Golf is really the only sport where the fans interact with the athletes constantly. In golf, the players hear the whispers. They know what fans think.

    The fans can easily tell when a player is angry or depressed. Not many other sports offer that chance. 

    The fans can also tell the nice guys from the guys just there to make money. 

    Here are the 11 nicest guys on tour. 

Steve Stricker

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    DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 05:  Steve Stricker waves to the gallery on the 17th green during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 5, 2011 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    There is something about Steve Stricker that yells he is a nice guy. 

    He cries when he wins, a nice change of pace from most of the robots on tour. He hits ball out of a heated trailer during the Wisconsin winters, just to stay by his family.

    Stricker always gives people the recognition they deserve and never fails to wave or sign for the fans. 

Boo Weekley

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    LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 21:  Boo Weekley of the USA team celebrates with a fan after his 4 & 2 victory during the singles matches on the final day of the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club on September 21, 2008 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by And
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Boo Weekley seems like a buddy from high school. 

    Remember back to the 2008 Ryder Cup. That was Boo Weekley riding his driver like a horse off of the first tee. And that was Boo Weekley sharing champagne with fans after the U.S. team won the Cup. 

    And Boo loves his fans. Back at the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine, Boo spent about 15 minutes talking to myself and a few friends.

    All we wanted was a quick signature, Boo was gracious enough to give us his time. 

Padraig Harrington

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    CROMWELL, CT - JUNE 24:  Padraig Harrington of Ireland waves to fans during the first round of the Travelers Championship held at TPC River Highlands on June 24, 2010 in Cromwell, Connecticut.  (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
    Michael Cohen/Getty Images

    When Padraig Harrington was having all of his success, it was great to see.

    The reason: people love the guy!

    His fellow players enjoy spending time with him. Need proof? Check to see if Harrington ever plays practice rounds alone. 

    The fans love him. Whether it is his accent or his good nature, those who love golf, love Harrington.

    You'll never see Harrington throw a club or avoid signing autographs.

    Instead, you'll see a nice guy who loves what he does. 

Stewart Cink

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    LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 19: Stewart Cink and Ben Curtis of the USA team celebrates with fans on the 17th hole during the afternoon four-ball matches on day one of the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club on September 19, 2008 in Louisville, Kentucky.
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Stewart Cink uses the social networking giant Twitter like it is going out of style. 

    Not that I am complaining. After all, Cink is a genuinely nice guy.

    Cink never seems to be in a bad mood on the course. Even when Cink had a reputation as guy who was unable to close out a big tournament, he always walked around with a smile on his face. 

    More importantly, Cink goes above and beyond many of his fellow players. He makes times for the fans. The few times I have seen him live, Cink is always willing to stay late to sign a few more autographs. 

Phil Mickelson

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 05:  Phil Mickelson signs autographs for fans during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship at the Quail Hollow Club on May 5, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Lefty probably has the biggest smile on tour. 

    Good shot or bad, you know that grin is going to be back on his face soon. 

    Mickelson loves the fans and the fans love him back. He is more than willing to interact with them and sign autographs until his hand is numb. 

    Also endearing is the way Mickelson wears his emotions on his sleeve. He'll tell you how much he loves his family, which reminds us all what life is really all about. 

Paul Casey

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    SOUTHPORT, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 15:  Paul Casey of England signs autographs for fans during the second practice round of the 137th Open Championship on July 15, 2008 at Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport, England.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
    Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    One of the knocks against Casey is that he is too nice

    Don't believe me? Check this out.

    That piece highlight's the fact that Casey may have performed better in last year's British Open if he was not so friendly with playing partner Louis Oothuizen. 

    You know when the press criticizes you for being nice, you are a nice guy. 

    On a more personal note, at the 2009 PGA Championship, Casey was on his way down to the range when he spotted my group of friends and told them "I'll come hang out with you guys for a bit when I am done."

    Upon finishing, Casey did just that. He chatted with us for about 10 minutes, and signed autographs for us. Not all the pros were that kind, nor do they have to be. Casey just chooses to be better than the rest. 

Kenny Perry

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    ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 24:  Kenny Perry catches a ball prior to the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 24, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Kenny Perry seems like a great guy. 

    Even after his crushing defeat at the 2009 Masters, Perry relished in the opportunity of almost winning. He did not sulk in the loss. 

    Perry was thrilled his family was there to see him play. So thrilled in fact, that a short time later Perry made his son,  Justin, his permanent caddy. 

Jason Bohn

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    ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 25:  Jason Bohn tees off at the 16th hole during the second round of the 2011 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at the Bay Hill Lodge and Country Club on March 25, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by David Cannon/Gett
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    While all of the guys featured in this slideshow are nice guys, Bohn may be the nicest of them all.

    A favorite among the press, Bohn is always a professional. He will answer questions for days and answer them truthfully. And if there is anything the press love it is a guy who will give them his honest opinion.

    From a fan's standpoint, Bohn is a fantastic guy. When he first played at the Masters, he was just happy to be there. 

    And in a sport filled with ego, Bohn's down-to-earth attitude is a refreshing change of pace. 

Ryuji Imada

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    PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 04:  Ryuji Imada hits a shot during the second round of The Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa on March 4, 2011 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Ryuji Imada was born in Japan. At the age of 14, he moved to the United States to focus on golf. He eventually played at the University of Georgia. 

    It would be easy for Imada to forget his past. 

    Imada, however, refused to leave Japan hopeless.

    When the disastrous earthquake struck Japan, Imada decided to donate $1,000 per birdie towards relief efforts. He then presented a hand-written letter to his fellow pros asking them to join him.

Rocco Mediate

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    MADISON, MS - OCTOBER 29:  Rocco Mediate talks with fans after first round play was postponed in the Viking Classic at the Annandale Golf Club on October 29, 2009 in  Madison, Mississippi.  (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)
    Dave Martin/Getty Images

    Rocco Mediate is most famous for the tournament he didn't win. In 2008, all that stood between him and a U.S. Open victory was a one-legged Tiger Woods

    It was at that tournament that many golf fans first fell in love with Rocco.

    The reason: he is a nice guy.

    Rocco has a great personality. He jokes around in the press tent and on the course. 

    He isn't afraid to smile and he isn't afraid to admit his faults.

    In essence, Rocco is exactly like me and you. We just wish we had his golfing ability. 

Brad Faxon

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    Brad Faxon is one of the best pure putters in PGA Tour history. He is also one of the greatest guys in the tour's history.

    Since 2005, Brad Faxon Charities for Children, Inc. has donated over $3 million to needy children in the New England area.

    Pairing up with Billy Andrade, Faxon has established himself as one of the most charitable guys on tour. 

    Faxon does not just put his name on an organization. He actually plays a role in the direction of the charity. He actually cares.