Ranking the 10 Most Likeable Players on the PGA Tour

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2014

Ranking the 10 Most Likeable Players on the PGA Tour

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    Before we get to the ranking of the 10 most likeable players on the PGA Tour, a disclaimer: Miguel Angel Jimenez wasn't considered for the list as doesn't play the majority of his golf in PGA Tour events. 

    Sorry. 

    The Most Interesting Golfer in the World is, however, an immensely likeable figure, and he sets the bar very high for the gentlemen in our ranking. 

    What's likeability, then? For our purposes, a likeable golfer is one who is pleasant, easy to root for and one whom you might like to join on the 19th hole for the beverage of your choice (No doubt the beverage of choice for the gentleman pictured above).

    Who are the 10 most likeable players on golf's premier circuit? Click through to see. 

Honorable Mention

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    What do we do with Tiger Woods in this ranking? The most high-profile golfer in the world, and the figure with the most appeal to the general sports fan, Woods was a moderately divisive figure before becoming embroiled in an infidelity scandal five years ago. 

    In the wake of the scandal, Woods is still an immensely popular golfer among most sports fans. That is, he's well liked, but he may not be all that likeable. Certainly his cursing and on-course tantrums haven't won him many fans.

    There are those who would like to see Tiger Woods at No. 1 on this list, and there are those who believe he ought to be well outside of it (perhaps positioned behind Rory Sabbatini, even).

    Whether you love him or hate him, Tiger Woods finds his way into this conversation as he has most PGA Tour-related conversations over the past two decades. Thus, he's an honorable mention. Think he should be higher or nowhere near the top 10? Duke it out in the comments. 

10. Phil Mickelson

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    Phil Mickelson is something of a divisive figure as well. Fans hold strong opinions on both sides of the "Do you like Lefty?" debate. 

    However, the tour veteran has a high-rolling playboy appeal that some fans find endearing as well as a goofy likability that Woods does not. 

    Of course, the opposite camp sees Mickelson as a whiney long-haired country club brat who pretends to be a man of the people while wearing a high-end alligator-skin belt

    We'll assume that the balance tips toward the former. The volume of Mickelson lovers earns him the 10th spot in our ranking. 

9. Jim Furyk

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    Jim Furyk may not be the most likeable PGA Tour player. This isn't to say he's unlikable; however, he's not a particularly charismatic personality. And watching him play a round of golf can be about as thrilling as watching paint dry. 

    Jim Furyk is, however, well respected for the way he goes about his business. Indeed, the 16-time tour winner is referred to as "the businessman." He's notched 172 top-10 finishes in his career and made 436 of 525 cuts. 

    So golf fans respect Furyk, yes, but he's also become a sympathetic figure in the last few seasons. From his near miss at the Olympic Club in the 2012 U.S. Open to his four second-place finishes last season, Furyk's career has been tinged with an element of tragedy, which has endeared him further to fans. 

    As there are fewer anti-Furykians than there are anti-Mickelsonians, the consummate grinder ekes out the No. 9 spot. 

8. Matt Kuchar

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    Matt Kuchar seems like the nice guy across the street in a subdivision you wave to as you walk down to pick up your newspaper in the morning. There's a very middle-class nice-guy appeal to Kuchar. And the all-American family-man element of his persona doesn't hurt. 

    He's one of the few "Aw shucks" players on tour that comes off as genuine. Nevermind the fact that he's a lifelong country-clubber whose wife excels in another patrician sport, tennis, Kuchar is a likeable dude. He looks more like he should be coaching his kid's soccer game than contending for PGA Tour titles on the weekend. And fans like that sort of thing. 

    With little dislike and a lot to be a fan of, Kuchar secures the eighth spot in our breakdown. 

7. Keegan Bradley

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    Keegan Bradley is golf's version of a dynamic young superstar. If nothing else, the Jordan brand bringing him on board as the first wearer of Jordan golf shoes is an indication. 

    Bradley's intensity in the Ryder Cup (and strong play) won him a lot of fans. As a native New Englander, he's a big-time sports fan, which adds an "everyman" element to his appeal. 

    He recently tweeted that the most underrated part of being a tour pro is "being able to go out with friends and play money games." An interesting response from a cool and likeable dude.

    Since Bradley has a "cool factor" that Kuchar lacks, he's just ahead of him on this list. 

6. Billy Horschel

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    How can you not like a guy who wears octopus-patterned pants? Billy Horschel is a dynamo on the golf course, and he came into his own at the end of the 2013-14 season with a brilliant FedEx Cup run.

    Now that he's raised his profile in the eyes of golf fans with two consecutive wins and his capture of the FedEx Cup, expect the fiery Floridian to earn many more supporters. 

    You have to respect his passion, his dedication to fitness and the way he takes care of business. Horschel is an immensely likeable figure whose popularity is due to skyrocket. 

    While some of the golfers Horschel precedes in this ranking may have more fans, Horschel tops them in overall likeability and raw appeal. 

5. Graeme McDowell

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    Graeme McDowell, otherwise known as G-Mac, is one of the most likeable golfers on the PGA Tour. The Northern Irishman is the heir to the particular variety of cool that Darren Clarke most recently personified: charming, worldly, with an appreciation for the finer things in life.

    And Guinness, an appreciation for that too...

    G-Mac is also a bar owner. Proprietor of Nona Blue in Orlando, Florida, McDowell's passion for food, drink and good company gives him a unique likeability edge over Horschel and Bradley. Thus, G-Mac is our fifth entry. 

4. Jordan Spieth

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    Jordan Spieth is a promising young talent from Texas. At just 21 years of age, he's already won on tour and gone blow-for-blow with Bubba Watson down the stretch at the Masters. 

    With humility and maturity well beyond his years, Spieth has quickly become a fan favorite in just two seasons on the PGA Tour. 

    As his tenure lengthens and his profile rises, Spieth should challenge for the top spot in this ranking. He's only beaten out by players who have been around longer and whose profile is higher. 

3. Adam Scott

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    Jason Dufner famously quipped he was distracted by how good-looking Adam Scott is during their playoff showdown at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. 

    We can imagine that the Australian's rugged good looks aren't lost on those who appreciate handsome who aren't named Jason Dufner. Certainly, if we were to poll the Duf's fellow tour pros or fans in the gallery at a tour event, Scott would win the "most attractive" superlative in a landslide. 

    Beyond being easy on the eyes, Scott is a down-to-earth surfer-gentleman of the world. While it may seem a strange combination for a PGA Tour golfer, it works well for Scott, and he's been one of the most likeable and well-liked players on tour for more than a decade. 

2. Jason Dufner

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    Ah, the Duf. What can you really say about the man whose two most high-profile achievements are sitting against the wall looking dejected and grabbing his wife's behind? 

    Oh, and he's a major winner. But his 2013 PGA Championship win at the Atlanta Athletic Club didn't exactly have the viral range or lifespan of Dufnering. 

    He's also secured a total of three PGA Tour victories in his career with a sweet swing and totally detached demeanor: all components of his likeability. 

    And Jason Dufner is (and this is said in the nicest way possible) something of a dopey-looking fellow. Indeed, he looks something like Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This endears him to golf fans even more than, say, the dashing Mr. Scott. So it is that the Duf is ahead of Scotty here. 

1. Rory McIlroy

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    And at the top spot in our list: Boy Wonder, Rory McIlroy. 

    Even if you don't love him, you have to like him, right? And with 2.2 million followers on Twitter, it seems Mr. McIlroy is very well liked in the digital sphere. 

    The jilted Caroline Wozniacki may be the only individual on the planet who doesn't like Rory McIlroy (and rightfully so). That puts the amiable Ulsterman at the top of our list as he's liked, respected and admired in a way no other golfer on this list is, save for the Tiger Woods of extinguished myths.