The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour has seen a fair share of golfers who, for various reasons, have been disliked by fans and fellow players.
These players, while incredibly talented, have often been tagged as the most disliked due to their on-course behavior and off-course controversies.
I. Who is the most disliked golfer on the PGA tour?
Rory Sabbatini, a South African golfer, is notorious for his fiery demeanor and confrontational approach to the golf game. According to a survey conducted by Sports Illustrated, Sabbatini was named as the least favorite playing partner by 26% of the pros polled.
On multiple occasions, he lost his temper on the golf course, leading to several penalties issued by the PGA. His reputation took a further hit following the fallout from his divorce and subsequent revelations made by his ex-wife Amy about his conduct.
From criticizing Tiger Woods to clashing with Sean O’Hair, and even losing his cool with teenage volunteers, Sabbatini’s actions have been seen as offensive behavior. He’s often perceived as lacking sportsmanship, a trait that has not endeared him to fans, fellow players, or officials in the golfing world.
II. List of Top 10 most disliked golfers on the PGA Tour
While Rory Sabbatini may be the most disliked golfer on the PGA Tour, there are many other professionals who have garnered negative attention for their behavior.
#2. Tiger Woods – Controversy Legend
Tiger Woods, the most esteemed golfer in history, has profoundly impacted professional golf. He’s widely acknowledged as the greatest golfer ever, having revolutionized the sport and surpassed its limits. However, his remarkable achievements in the sport haven’t shielded him from criticism or disapproval.
Reasons why Tiger Woods is disliked
Tiger Woods has faced criticism due to personal controversies, including infidelity, driving under the influence of drugs, and reckless driving. His demeanor on the golf course and limited interaction with fans has also drawn disapproval.
Despite these issues, his relationship with fans has improved, and his personal life seems more stable. Yet, past controversies have led many, especially women, to view him negatively.
#3. Bubba Watson – Hot-Headed Golfer
Bubba Watson, an American professional golfer, has made a significant impact on the sport. He is a two-time Masters Tournament champion, having won in 2012 and 2014.
Watson is known for his exceptional driving distance, which has earned him several major titles and made him one of the most accomplished left-handed golfers in history.
Reasons why Bubba Watson is disliked
Despite his golfing achievements and charitable work, Bubba Watson has faced disapproval for several reasons. His unconventional playing style and refusal to participate in certain contests have upset fans.
His treatment of his caddie, Ted Scott, including complaining about various game aspects and making Scott tee up a ball in the rain, has drawn criticism.
#4. Bryson DeChambeau – The slow golfer
Bryson DeChambeau, an American professional golfer, has made a name for himself in the sport with his analytical approach to the game. He has claimed eight PGA Tour victories, including the prestigious U.S. Open in 2020, and won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2021.
Reasons why Bryson DeChambeau is disliked
However, despite his accomplishments, DeChambeau has faced criticism primarily due to his slow pace of play. He is one of the top slowest players on the PGA Tour. His methodical approach, while effective, often leads to prolonged games, which frustrates both spectators and playing partners.
This has earned him the nickname “The slow golfer.” His scientific approach to golf, though innovative, is also seen by some as overcomplicated and against the spirit of the game.
Furthermore, his occasional on-course outbursts and public disagreements with officials have contributed to his mixed reputation within the golfing community.
#5. Phil Mickelson – Reckless Player
Phil Mickelson is one of the most successful players in the sport. He has won 45 PGA Tour events, including six major championships, and is considered one of the greatest golfers in history.
However, despite his impressive career, Mickelson has faced criticism for his playing style.
Reasons why Phil Mickelson is disliked
Phil Mickelson, often termed as a “Reckless Player,” is known for his high-risk gameplay, which can lead to inconsistent performances, frustrating fans who appreciate strategic play.
Additionally, his involvement in off-course controversies, notably insider trading, has negatively impacted his reputation.
His outspokenness, perceived on-course whining, and seemingly forced positivity have further alienated some spectators.
While he displays commendable family commitment and kindness, these qualities often get overshadowed by negative behaviors, making it hard for some fans to connect with him.
#6. Vijay Singh – The Lone Wolf
Vijay Singh, a Fijian professional golfer, has had an illustrious career in golf, winning more than 30 events on the PGA Tour, including three major championships. His relentless practice routine and dedication to the sport have been key to his success.
However, Singh’s reputation has been marred by several controversies.
Reasons why Vijay Singh is disliked
In 2013, Vijay Singh admitted to using a banned substance, deer antler spray, causing public scrutiny and raising questions about performance enhancement in golf. His cold on-course demeanor, open dissatisfaction during games, and refusal to engage with media have strained his relations with fans and the press.
Furthermore, his unpopularity among caddies, due to constant complaints about his poor attitude, has negatively influenced his image, overshadowing his professional achievements.
#7. Sergio Garcia – The Racist Golfer
Sergio Garcia, renowned for his distinctive “laggy” swing and exceptional ball striking, is a celebrated figure in the golfing world.
He emerged as a professional golfer at the tender age of 16 and has since achieved significant success, notably in the Ryder Cup, where he holds the record for the most wins (25) and points (28.5) by a European player. However, Garcia’s reputation has been marred by controversies.
Reasons why Sergio Garcia is disliked
In 2013, Garcia was caught up in a public spat with Tiger Woods due to allegations of racial insults, causing unease among black golfers and attracting widespread criticism.
A prime example of his unprofessional behavior was his disqualification from the Saudi International in 2019 for intentionally damaging five greens, an act viewed as violent and immature.
During the same tournament, he was filmed lashing out at a bunker, an outburst unbecoming of a professional golfer.
#8. Ian Poulter – American’s Rival
Ian Poulter is a flashy and outspoken PGA Tour player known for his unique style and confident attitude. He has represented Europe in the prestigious Ryder Cup on four occasions and was part of the victorious British team at the 2016 Olympics.
Reasons why Ian Poulter is disliked
Poulter’s rivalry with American fans, especially due to his role in the European Ryder Cup team, has painted him as a villain to some. Also, his controversial behavior, such as publicly disliking certain golf courses, has been viewed as unsporting and tarnished his image.
Public feuds with fellow golfers like Tiger Woods have further contributed to a negative perception of him. Additionally, Poulter’s perceived arrogance has made him disliked among some golf fans, despite his skills and success.
#9. Brooks Koepka – Arrogant Ace
Brooks Koepka, a winner of 9 PGA Tour titles and former world number one, is known for his confident attitude. He holds a strong belief in his abilities as a player and has a reputation for being self-assured and considering himself the best on the PGA Tour.
Reasons why Brooks Koepka is disliked
Koepka’s public dispute with fellow golfer Bryson DeChambeau, beginning in 2019 over DeChambeau’s slow play, involved fans and media, negatively affecting Koepka’s reputation.
His perceived arrogance, due to his confidence and blunt remarks about players and golf, has made him unpopular with some fans. Koepka’s candid and controversial comments, such as finding golf boring, have also upset golf enthusiasts.
Additionally, his unsportsmanlike social media interactions, particularly with DeChambeau, have further tarnished his popularity.
#10. Patrick Reed – The Disputed Champion
Patrick Reed, known as “Captain America,” turned professional at the age of 20. He has achieved 9 wins on the PGA Tour and reached a career-high ranking of 6.
Reed’s notable accomplishments include winning the 2018 Masters and representing the United States in team competitions like the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. He is recognized as a top-performing player for Team USA.
Reasons why Patrick Reed is disliked
Patrick Reed has faced accusations of cheating that originated from his college days. These allegations involve cheating on the golf course during his time at the University of Georgia. Furthermore, Reed’s strained relationship with his family since 2012 has added to his negative image.
Instances of unsportsmanlike behavior, such as improving his lie in a bunker during the 2019 Hero World Challenge, have garnered criticism from golf fans.
While talent and skill are key to succeeding on the PGA Tour, a player’s reputation plays a significant role in how they are perceived by fans and fellow players.
The golfers listed here, despite their immense talent, have found themselves at odds with the wider golfing community due to their behavior both on and off the course. Thus, proving that in the world of professional golf, how you play the game matters just as much as the results you achieve.