By Stefan Gestwicki
Star Contributing Writer
I love baseball. I have been obsessed with the sport virtually my entire life. As my mom’s family is from the Pittsburgh area, I became a Pirates fan at a young age. I’ve never rooted for another team (except for anyone playing the Yankees, of course). I have a Pirates tattoo on my arm. I have flags, mugs, hats, shirts, autographed baseballs, framed Roberto Clemente pictures, etc. littering my man cave.
I also love golf. Shocking, I know. The difference between the two sports is that while both playing and watching baseball bring me joy, I only ever play golf. If I see golf on TV, I just don’t care. I don’t look at golf rankings. I couldn’t tell you who won the last Masters. I’m just not into the PGA or any other professional golf circuit.
Certainly an underlying factor to this disconnect is that I don’t have a favorite golfer. If there was a guy (or woman – the LPGA is full of immensely talented and charismatic individuals) who I could really get behind, I’m sure I could get drawn into that side of the sport.
Knowing almost nothing about anyone, I’m setting off to do some research and try to find my new favorite golfer. Wish me luck.
TIGER WOODS — Long before I cared about golf at all, I played Tiger Woods video games on our old computer. Tiger was far and away the best golfer in those games (and in the world at the time), so you’d be a fool to play as anyone else. He was the face of the game. He was a celebrity on par with Michael Jordan. He was one of the most dominant athletes any sport had ever seen. To me, however, he always reminded me more of a Barry Bonds. Maybe it’s not fair, but he seemed distant and almost annoyed at fans and even other golfers. After years of injuries and…personal demons…he’s back and played well a few weeks ago. I wish him well and he’s good for the sport, but there’s no way he can be my favorite.
BUBBA WATSON — I’ll be honest, Watson has a lot going for him. He’s an American and a two-time Masters champion. While I don’t actually golf left-handed, I do a heckuva lot of things left-handed and certainly consider myself a lefty. The fact that Bubba is one of the few lefties on the PGA Tour is definitely a plus. He obliterates the ball off the tee as one of the longest hitters alive. He’s a Christian and extremely charitable. He’s even part owner of a Minor League Baseball team in Pensacola.
JORDAN SPIETH — Spieth is on the short list of guys that could be considered the best golfer in the world right now. He stormed onto the scene a few years ago and is a three-time Major winner and the 2015 FedEx Cup champion. Just this past week he and his foundation made a massive donation to a charity which helps children with special needs. As an uncle to a beautiful little girl with Down Syndrome, anyone who helps special needs kids is okay in my book. Like Watson, Spieth is an American, which is definitely a plus in such an internationally popular sport.
DUSTIN JOHNSON — Johnson is the current No. 1 golfer in the world. He’s a big man at 6’4” and can absolutely hammer the ball off the tee. He’s married to Wayne Gretzky’s daughter, which is a cool tidbit for a sports fan. Like all the other candidates before him, being an American certainly helps his case. He finally won the U.S. Open after a heart-breaking pair of second-place finishes in that event. He weirdly had to pull out of last year’s Masters after falling down some stairs and hurting his back. Obviously that injury didn’t hinder him too long, however, as he went on a tear to reach that No. 1 ranking.
While there are some nice options on this list, I don’t think any of them have exactly what I’m looking for. You know what that means. Part II of this search will be coming up next time.
Until then, golf is great. Go get some.