#AskAlan: The most overrated & under-appreciated players on Tour

January 24, 2017

Welcome to the first #AskAlan of the rest of our lives. These are now going to be a weekly thing. (Consider yourself warned.) I want the Knockdown to be an ongoing conversation between me and you, the lunatic fringe of golf fans. Please keep the thoughtful questions coming…

“Give me your top 5 most overrated players of the last 15 years. Same question for under appreciated.” –Brad (@bachy333)


1.    Rickie Fowler
2.    Hunter Mahan
3.    Camilo Villegas
4.    Webb Simpson
5.    Jim Furyk


1.    Tim Clark
2.    Brian Gay
3.    K.J. Choi
4.    Miguel Angel Jimenez
5.    Kevin Na

“The perfect golfer: i.e. Driver… irons… 100 yard-wedges… short game… putter…” –Rob (@Roblawless)

If you’re talking about right now, I’d take Dustin’s driver, Stenson’s irons, Zach Johnson’s wedge game, Luke Donald around the greens and Spieth’s putter. All-time? Nicklaus’s driver, Hogan’s irons, Tom Kite’s wedge game, Seve around the greens, Tiger’s putter.

“If Bubba is the most, um, unpopular golfer…who’s the golfer everyone loves?” –John (@jscaruth)

Adam Scott. Tied for second would be Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, Stenson, and Fowler.

“What’s it like writing a Sunday post-tournament article? Always/never on deadline?” –Anna (@AnnaH247)

It’s the best part of the job, and the hardest. I love the adrenaline of it all – I don’t drink coffee but have no problem staying up all night typing, if necessary. It’s always on deadline. If I’m writing for GOLF.com, it’s a mad dash, because it’s paramount to get a good story up before all the other jabronis in the press room file theirs. Writing a gamer for SI is more like running the 400 meters – a controlled sprint, where endurance is as important as speed. But the key to both stories is crisp, clean writing; a strong theme; and fresh material and original reporting that makes the story different and unique. If you want to take a deep dive on this subject, elsewhere on the Knockdown, I have a thousand-word story-behind-the-story on my 2008 U.S. Open gamer, probably the most challenging night of my life as an SI writer. 

“Which player with zero or 1 majors has the best chance to win 5 or more?” –Brett (@CoburnBrett)

It has to be Jason Day or Dustin Johnson, right? Day is 3.5 years younger but a lot more brittle, so it’s kind of a wash as to who has more great golf left in him. Both have a game that travels, although I like DJ’s ball-flight a lot more in the wind. I’m gonna take Dustin, by a whisker.

“When Jay Monahan retires, what will his PGA Tour legacy be and what impact on the game will he leave?” –David (@Dkateeb)

To use one of his predecessor’s favorite words, it’s hard to image Monahan will be nearly as impactful as Tim Finchem. Of course, Monahan isn’t going to have another Tiger Woods land in his lap, either. Monahan seems to understand that 72 holes of stroke play week after week after week can be a slog and he’s open to new kinds of events, such as the mixed team coupling with LPGA players, that I think will be a home run. If he could sprinkle in three or four other new formats (Stableford, two-man team, scramble, etc.) that would be a significant upgrade on the product, as would shrinking the schedule to eliminate some B-list events and give the sport the off-season it desperately needs. But this is change only on the margins. The biggest challenge facing the new Commish is the shifting media landscape. What he does with the upcoming TV negotiations will go a long way toward defining Monahan’s impact. Will the Tour leave the Golf Channel and create its own network? How does it reach fans in an era when the golf media has shrunk substantially? Monahan is still a bit of a cipher. It will be fascinating to see how he carves out his own identity and if he can continue the momentum of a Tour that has relentlessly evolved over the last quarter-century under Finchem.

SHIPNUCK: Pat Perez is winning again and sticking it to his haters

“Being new equipment season, how often do players put new stuff in play because it’s better, and how often for contract reasons?” –Kris (@oiler3535)

This has been an interesting moment in the post-Nike world where a lot of players have felt liberated to test new stuff in plain sight, or go back to old favorites. How about Tiger? He has all the money in the world and has always supposedly been about nothing but excellence, and now he’s running back to his beloved Scotty after basically admitting he was being held hostage by Nike and forced to use an inferior putter? That tells you that business considerations almost always trump everything else. Within a brand, players have some latitude to keep using older sticks, but the pressure is subtle and constant to always play the latest gear. That’s the tradeoff for guaranteed money in a sport where players otherwise have to kill what they eat.

“Could you pull off wearing a logo of yourself like Phil? What would the logo look like?” –Ryan (@therealsneek1)

Well, I’d like to think I could. It would look a little bit like a tripod, if you know what I mean. And would have enough to hair to make both Brandel and Robert Rock jealous.