Tiger Woods and the 15 Biggest Egos in Golf

John BurkeContributor IJuly 29, 2011

Tiger Woods and the 15 Biggest Egos in Golf

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    To be truly great at anything, a little ego is required.

    The same is true in golf. Unfortunately, some egos become a bit too large for anyone to want to deal with. 

    In the broadcast booth, the front office, or out on the course, some people allow their egos to become an enormous part of their personality. 

    Here are the 15 biggest egos in golf! Let me remind you that these are in no particular order, but rather just a list.

1. Tiger Woods

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    I really don't even know where to start with Tiger Woods

    The man received somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 million to play golf before ever hitting a ball as a professional. In golf, he has always been on a level above anyone else. 

    And when he was winning, it was excusable. 

    Now, he is suffering both professionally and personally and his ego seems to irritate people more everyday.

    In fact, ESPN's Rick Reilly just wrote in an article about Tiger, "Take some time with people. Phil Mickelson signs for 20 minutes after every round, Tuesday or Sunday, first place or 100th. On a good month, you do 20 minutes. Try it once. You might like it."

    Tiger doesn't sign because he feels he is above it. Tiger may want to knock down the ego a peg or 20; it may be his best shot at winning back some fans. 

2. Johnny Miller

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    To be honest, Johnny Miller is my least favorite golf announcer on television. And although I love Tiger Woods, it is not because he seems to take more than his fair share of shots at Tiger. 

    It is because he has this attitude that tells us he is God's gift to all of us. He makes it seem that we are all more intelligent beings for having listened to him ramble about how he used to play a shot or why today's tour players are soft.

    Well, Johnny, I really don't need to hear about how great you are for an entire broadcast. Yes, you were one of the world's best golfers for two years back in the 1970s. 

    The way Johnny talks you would think he is the best golfer in history. His ego in the broadcast booth is so large I am surprised they are able to fit more than one person in the studio.

3. Ian Poulter

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    Ian Poulter is one of golf's greatest characters. 

    Often outspoken, Poulter let his ego get the best of him a couple of years ago while talking about Tiger Woods.

    "Don't get me wrong, I really respect every professional golfer, but I know I haven't played to my full potential and when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger," Poulter said in 2008.

    We all know that isn't true. Poulter is no Woods, and even comparing yourself to the best golfer in history is extraordinarily arrogant. 

    The irony is that right now, if we only used world ranking, Poulter is even better than Woods.

4. Sir Nick Faldo

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    In Nick Faldo's eyes, there is only one person on earth. That person is Sir Nick himself. 

    If you have ever heard him speak, you are well aware that the world stops at his nose. His first, second, and last thought are all "me."

    When he accepted the position of Ryder Cup captain, it was an universal thought in golf that he did so out of self-promotion. 

    His ego may be summed best by Matthew Norman who wrote in the London Evening Standard, "When the Ryder Cup is over, Nick Faldo should check into a clinic for treatment for Mark Lawrenson syndrome, the disorder defined by my psychiatric dictionary as 'the delusion suffered by a legendary unamusing retired sportsman that he has the wit of Oscar Wilde."

5. Jack Nicklaus

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    If anyone on this list has an excuse for having an ego, it is Jack Nicklaus.

    He is in the argument for greatest golfer in history and currently holds the record for most major victories. 

    But when you hear him speak, he makes it clear that he is a great golfer. That is something we all know, we don't need constant reminders from him.

    Regardless, Nicklaus could still be a great champion without the ego. 

6. Bill Payne

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    William Porter Payne, also known as Billy, is the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club. The club is the most exclusive in the United States, and its members are a very select few.

    As such, it is probably no surprise that the man has an enormous ego. 

    When Tiger Woods announced his return to the game would take place at the Masters, Payne quickly agreed.

    Before Tiger teed it up in the tournament, however, Payne gave a speech saying neither he nor the club members supported his behavior. 

    I guess when you are the head of the most snobby golf club in America, you feel you have a right to publicly berate those who have done wrong. 

7. Sean Foley

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    Only the most ardent of golf fans had heard the name Sean Foley before Tiger Woods selected him as his newest teacher. 

    No one told that to Foley.

    In his own eyes, Foley is a gift to golf instructors everywhere.

    Earlier this season, when Bubba Watson voiced his opinion that Woods was moving in the wrong direction, Foley was quick to say that Woods was far ahead of Watson in the tournament won category.

    A very good point under normal circumstances. When you realize, however, that Woods has won ZERO tournaments under Foley, it is not a good argument.

    Let me remind you once again, that Foley was not the swing doctor that led Woods to 14 majors. He may be the one to lead him past Nicklaus' record 18, but in the meantime, it is probably best if Foley kept his mouth shut.

8. Natalie Gulbis

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    Natalie Gulbis has the uncanny ability to sense the camera from a long par-5 away. She has the need to always be in the front and center.

    Remember when the rumors circulated that she and Dustin Johnson were an item?

    Well, it was Gulbis who made sure she received attention for that fling. 

9. Butch Harmon

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    Butch Harmon will never pass up the chance to sell a golf gadget or gizmo. A simple Google search will show you he has pushed more training tools than one should ever own.

    He also will always be among the first to give a quote or two about any happenings in golf. As he does so, he will make sure to drop the names of his top clients.

    He will also remind us that he was the first successful swing teacher Tiger Woods used and Phil Mickelson is also a member of his stable.

10. Gary Player

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    Gary Player is the former golfer who is most likely to offer his opinion about Tiger Woods or golf.

    He has the reputation among some writers as a the man who gives quotes just to hear himself talk. And while that may not be fair, as he was a great golfer, there is some truth to every rumor.

    When he is playing, he will be sure to mention one of his newest golf course designs where he recently shot his age.

    I guess all of his egotism is good from a charitable standpoint. Player has done as much as any other player to help under-privileged children. 

11. Tim Finchem

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    Tim Finchem has done some good things for the game. 

    Unfortunately, he has also let his insatiable ego and greed get in the way sometimes. 

    His first mistake was the FedEx Cup. While golf needed something to make the end of the season more excited, Finchem jumped at the chance to earn more cash through the cup. 

    In the end, the point system does not really work in golf and has been "fixed" a couple of times now.

    If Finchem would let his ego settle down a bit and think about the good of the game, many of his actions as PGA Tour commissioner would have been different. 

12. Camilo Villegas

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    Much like Gulbis, Villegas seems to jump into action when the cameras are around. When there is a lens nearby, he will not miss a chance to drop into his Spider-Man putting technique. 

    Villegas will also be the first in line to pose shirtless for a fitness magazine or the ESPN Body Issue. 

13. Peter Alliss

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    The so called "Voice of Golf" is a very entertaining broadcaster. I enjoy listening to him as he often is a nice change of pace from the others talking during golf tournaments.

    Being the Voice of Golf clearly requires an ego, though. 

    When recently asked if he had what it took to win the British Open during his playing days, Alliss immediately responded, "Oh, yes. It just never happened."

14. Phil Mickelson

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    Phil Mickelson is great for the game. He is willing to talk to the media and is always friendly with the fans.

    But when a player is as good as Mickelson, there is simply no way he doesn't have quite the large ego.

    His ever-present smile seems to tell me, "I'm better than all of you, and I know it." 

15. Steve Williams

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    We will not rehash the latest between Steve Williams and Tiger Woods here. Instead, I will just remind you of all Steve has done to show his ego is the largest amongst caddies. 

    Most memorably, there was the time in the bar back in 2008 when Williams said, "I wouldn't call Mickelson a great player, 'cause I hate the prick."

    Or the numerous times Williams has smashed cameras and yelled at fans. And while some of it may be in the job description, it is clear his ego provides some of the encouragement to act in this manner.