Who’s the best professional golfer in the world in 2016? The immediate answer for many who follow golf closely would be Jason Day, who’s already won three times this year. But a Public Policy Polling poll of Americans who identify as golf fans put Jordan Spieth on top with 22% of the vote, not a surprising result given his stellar 2015 performance.
What’s much more surprising: Tiger Woods came in a very close second with 21%.
Woods hasn’t played competitively in many months; he’s dropped out of even the top 500 in the World Golf Rankings. But clearly that Tiger luster hasn’t entirely faded in the minds of fans. Jason Day came in third with 15%.
Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson came out on top as far as popularity goes with 38% of the “Who is your favorite golfer?” vote, leading Tiger Woods by 21 percentage points. The game’s millennial stars are mostly bunched together in this category, with Jordan Spieth slightly ahead at 9% and Rory McIlroy at 8%. Tiger Woods had the highest unfavorability rating of the pro golfers included in the poll. Thirty five percent of participants said they viewed him negatively — and that number rose to 44% for Republicans.