Gerrit van Rooyen
Steve's player picks
I asked Steve recently which golfers does he feel are at the top of their games or who he feels are great players for whatever reason. In this post, I’m going to explore some of Steve’s favourite golfers. Not only do these golfers have some seriously impressive records, but they are impressive people that we can learn a lot about golf from.
This young Wellingtonian golfer is one to watch. He has recently turned pro at the age of 21 and has qualified for the US Open through his performance at the Walton Heath, where he had placed eighth. He is truly dedicated to the game and had an impressive amateur career, placing in most of the 34 major events he has participated. He started playing at four years old and got competitive at eight. It was when he was just 17 that he started getting noticed for his performance in overseas events. It’s hard to imagine accomplishing so much at such a young age! While he himself is very competitive about the game, his advice to new golfers is to just enjoy the game and not to expect too much. Great advice from the young legend. Keep making Wellington proud Daniel!
Bubba Watson is an American PGA golfer with an impressive career. He won the Masters tournament in 2012 and 2014 and has won the Majors multiple times. His career was at its peak in 2015 when he was ranked second by the official world golf ranking. One of Watson’s many claims to fame is being one of the longest drivers on the PGA tour. He can hit the ball over 320 metres getting a speed of up to 312 km/hr! At five points in his career, he was the leader for driving distance. There is even a term coined by his unusual style of play combining power and surprising accuracy: Bubba Golf. What might be most surprising, is that Bubba learned to golf without lessons, which may help to explain his very different swing style. Maybe if he was more traditionally taught, he never would have developed with his own technique and been the star he is today. All this with his unusual fashion sense, goofy sense of humour, and huge social media presence, Bubba is a quirky and fun golfer to root for.
This young American Pro has taken the golf world by storm over the last five years. He’s the second-youngest golfer ever to win the Masters, behind Tiger Woods, of course. He is also the youngest winner of the US open since 1923. He’s won the majors three times and for one year was the best golfer in the world according to the official golf rankings. In 2015 he won the US open with a 5 under par. In 2015, he was the highest earner making $50 million that year only!
Time magazine said that Spieth "exemplifies everything that's great about sports," when he was listed as one of the 100th most influential people in 2016. He just appears to be a good guy with a wholesome image who gets along with all the golfers on tour. He is someone that values family strongly and even is still with his high school sweetheart. Just like Bubba Watson, Jordan’s swing isn’t conventional. Golf coaches would never suggest that you use his form, but it works for him! Seems like there is something to finding your own path instead of following others.
Like Bubba and Jordan, Rickie Fowler is another American Pro golfer that plays on the PGA. His biggest win was at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship which got him to his highest ranking on the official world golf ranking of fourth in 2016. He’s had five major wins since going pro, three in the PGA and twice on the European tour. This is following his very successful amateur career when Fowler was ranked first for several months between 2007 and 2008. On a more personal side, Fowler recently married Allison Stokke, a professional pole vaulter (what a power couple!) and plays a lot of golf with Michael Jordan. He is thought to be one of the best golfers to never win a Major. It makes me think of how Leonardo DeCaprio was probably one of the best actors to never get an Oscar, but he got there in the end! Hopefully, we will see Fowler’s first Major win in the coming years.
We’ll finish today’s list with a British Pro, Tommy Fleetwood who plays on the European Tour. After winning the English Amateur in 2010 he turned pro going on to be a five-time winner. What I found interesting was how he likes to keep his friends and family close to him. Not only is he married to his manager, meaning he doesn’t need to be away from his wife for long periods on tour, but his caddie was the best man at his wedding. I suppose that’s one way to find good work and life balance.
As you can see, there’s a lot we can learn from golfers about persistence, individuality, not taking things too seriously, and balancing life and work. I hope all five of these guys will continue to see great success so they can continue to be a good example for the fans out there.
Feel free to ask Steve all about his favourite golfers when on tour. He is always happy to have a chat about them!