Golf’s 10 Greatest Rivalries

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10. United States of America vs. Sergio Garcia It began in earnest at the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage, where Garcia's endless waggling and complaints about playing in the rain drew taunts of "Waggle Boy!" and "Whiner!" from the vociferous galleries. Garcia responded with a flip of his middle finger. Five years later he upset fans by spitting in the cup at Doral, and his woe-is-me press conferences at the 2007 and '08 British Opens didn't help matters, either. But Garcia has most irked American fans at the Ryder Cup.
2 of 10 Fred Vuich/GOLF Magazine
9. Pebble Beach vs. Augusta National Ask any golfer which two U.S. courses are first on his bucket list, and it's often the same response: Augusta and Pebble.
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8. Robert T. Jones Jr. vs. Rees Jones For pure vitriol, not many rivalries top the feud between Bobby and Rees Jones, the course designers who followed in their famous father's footsteps. In 2006, a former associate of Jones Sr. told the South Florida Sun- Sentinal: "It was their father's sincerest wish late in his life that his sons would resolve their differences." A tall order, Pops...
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7. Gene Sarazen vs. Walter Hagen When Sarazen met Hagen in a challenge match in October 1922, the contempt was palpable. Hagen, the reigning British Open champ, had skipped the PGA (ducking Sarazen, some said), which Sarazen won. Sarazen, then only 20, had also won the '22 U.S. Open. This was for No. 1 — and much more. As Sarazen put it: "I didn't like the way he kept calling me 'kid.' I was a champion and I wanted Hagen to respect me as a champion." The kid won 3 and 2.
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6. Greg Norman vs. Tim Finchem Norman and Finchem, the PGA Tour commissioner, first butted heads in 1994 after Norman announced plans for his World Golf Tour. Finchem quickly torpedoed the deal, lining up A-list players to denounce the idea. Three years later, Finchem started his own iteration of Norman's brainchild — the World Golf Championships — leading Norman to threaten to sue the Tour to force it to reveal its financials to its membership. "Never will I forgive Tim Finchem," Norman said in 2004, "even if he inducts me into a Hall of Fame once a week."
6 of 10 New ball: Schecter Lee, Old ball: Jeff Ellis
5. Tradition vs. Technology It's nearly as old as golf itself: the rift between preservationists committed to safeguarding the "sanctity" of the game and innovators determined to make the game easier.
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4. Jack Nicklaus vs. Tom Watson In the annals of the game, no battle was fiercer nor more spiritedly contested, all the while with mutual respect.
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3. Sam Snead vs. Ben Hogan Snead outgunned Hogan in all-time tournament wins, 82 to 61. Yet Hogan still overshadowed Snead, mostly because Hogan won the U.S. Open four times, while Snead was shut out. "The three things I fear most in golf," Snead once said, "are lightning, Ben Hogan and a downhill putt." If Hogan felt the same about Snead, he never said it.
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2. Arnold Palmer vs. Jack Nicklaus Palmer and Nicklaus were like matter and anti-matter. Palmer grew up working poor, Nicklaus was a country club kid. Palmer was a matinee idol, Nicklaus a chubby, ill-dressed, crew-cut kid with a squeaky voice. Nicklaus hit high cuts, Palmer low draws. They were perfect foils.
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1. Tiger Woods vs. Old Man Time Tiger Woods has won 14 majors, but he has a history of injuries and has endured confidence-shaking defeats on the course and humiliations off it. Can he pass Jack's record of 18 majors? Stay tuned.