Top 150 Athlete Golfers

November 2009

After many months of research, we've discovered that a huge number of active and retired athletes spend time on the golf course. Our ranking of the top 150 athlete-golfers is merely a sampling of those who play this great game. We also included a golfer or two from sports other than the big four of baseball, football, basketball and hockey. Rick Rhoden was our No. 1 when we ranked athlete-golfers in 2007, and there's no doubt he'd beat everyone on this list. But the former major-league pitcher is really a professional on the celebrity and senior circuit who belongs on another ranking. Unless there are some nassaus that have gotten out of hand, no one among this 150 earns a living playing golf.


1. Tony Romo plus-3.3 Cowboys QB won two tournaments and finished second in another during the off-season. Romo shot 71-69 to win the Will County Amateur in Crete, Ill., in April, and partnered with PGA pro Mark Walker to win the Northern Texas PGA Pro-Scratch Championship. In July, Romo finished second to Rick Rhoden at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe. Because Romo doesn't update his golf handicap, we took his tournament scores from 2008 and '09, plugged them into a handicap calculator and came up with plus-3.3. We're confident Romo is a deserving No. 1.
More photos and articles on Tony Romo
Swing sequence: Tony Romo
2. Craig Hentrich plus-2.8 Lots of NFL punters play golf, but this Tennessee Titan is too good to ignore.
3. Mark McGwire plus-2.2 Might eventually be a Hall of Famer. For now, a very good golfer at Shady Canyon G.C. in Irvine, Calif.
4. Mike Schmidt plus-1.1 Phillies Hall of Famer uses deep-sea fishing, not golf, to raise money for cystic-fibrosis research.
5. Jerry Rice plus-0.7 Plays a lot of golf in Northern California, often at Sharon Heights G.&C.C.
T-6. Mardy Fish 0.0 Three career ATP Tour wins and ranked 26th in men's tennis heading into the fall.
T-6. Livan Hernandez 0 Nationals starting pitcher has said he'll try golf as second career after baseball.
T-6. Brett Hull 0.0 Now a VP with the Dallas Stars after five NHL teams and two Stanley Cups.
T-6. Nate Roberts 0 World-champion moguls skier in 2005 is dreaming about playing on PGA Tour.
10. Pete Sampras 0.5 Bel-Air and Bighorn member hasn't posted a score in two years, but pros say his Index is accurate.
11. Marc Savard 0.6 Boston Bruins points leader missed qualifying for 2008 Canadian Open by one stroke and has a putting green in his Boston condo.
T-12. Jamie Langenbrunner 0.8 Devils captain set personal scoring records in '09; belongs to golf clubs in New Jersey and Minnesota.
T-12. John-Michael Liles 0.8 Top-scoring Avalanche defenseman and member of 2009 Team USA lettered in golf in high school.
14. John Elway 0.9 Broncos No. 7 still No. 1 in Denver.
Read: My Game: John Elway
Swing sequence: John Elway
15. Brett Favre 1 Eventually he'll retire for good. Until then, playing to a 1-handicap is a challenge.
16. Mario Lemieux 1.1 Penguins owner plays at Oakmont, Laurel Valley, Nevillewood and Allegheny.
Swing sequence: Mario Lemieux
T-17. Mike Modano 1.3 Dallas Stars center is highest scoring American-born player in NHL history.
19. John Smoltz 1.6 Joined Cardinals in August for pennant race and still plays plenty of golf but hasn't posted this year.
Read: Q&A with John Smoltz
T-20. Marc Bulger 1.9 Rams QB belongs to Oakmont and, closer to St. Louis, Boone Valley.
T-20. Dan Marino 1.9 Index is lowest ever.
T-22. Penny Hardaway 2.0 Retired from NBA; plays at Spring Creek Ranch near Memphis.
Swing sequence: Penny Hardaway
T-22. Ivan Lendl 2 Not even the best golfer in his family, with three potential pro daughters.
T-22. Erica McKenzie 2 U.S. Olympic hockey hopeful was a top junior golfer.
25. Walter Ray Williams Jr. 2.2 Winningest bowler plays at C.C. of Ocala in Florida.
T-26. Nick Punto 2.3 Versatile Twins infielder is team's best golfer.
T-26. Joe Sakic 2.3 Retired after 20 NHL seasons; plays golf at Bear Creek G.C. in Denver.
T-28. Johnny Bench 2.5 Hall of Fame catcher plays at Mission Hills.
Lighten your grip: Take a tip from Johnny Bench
T-28. Adam Wainwright 2.5 Cardinals pitcher played in 2009 Honda pro-am.
30. Tom Glavine 2.6 Free agent since June has time to work on game.
31. Clyde Drexler 2.7 NBA Hall of Famer plays at Lochinvar and Royal Oaks in Houston.
32. Derek Anderson 2.8 Browns QB shot a 78 in round with Ohio's Ben Curtis.
T-33. Dan Jansen 2.9 Olympic gold skater gets instruction from teaching-pro wife, Karen Palacios.
Read: My Game: Dan Jansen
T-33. Kyle Lohse 2.9 Cardinals RHP plays at Whisper Rock in Scottsdale.
T-35. Drew Brees 3 Saints QB hasn't updated handicap since 2008 but says he's better than his 4.8.
T-35. Michael Jordan 3 Shot 86 in U.S. Open conditions at Bethpage and rediscovered his confidence.
T-35. Derek Lowe 3 Low Braves pitcher with Smoltz and Glavine gone.
T-35. Ben Roethlisberger 3 Steelers QB amazed with an 81 in Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge at Bethpage.
More photos and articles on Ben Roethlisberger
T-35. Joe Saunders 3 Angels starting pitcher is team's best golfer.
T-35. Kelly Slater 3 Nine-time world champ told Surfer magazine: "Golf is the greatest game in the world."
41. Kyle Boller 3.2 Ex-Ravens QB, now with Rams, plays at Caves Valley in Maryland.
42. George Brett 3.3 His rant, in defense of Royals manager Trey Hillman, generated news at a May charity golf tournament.
43. Ronde Barber 3.4 Bucs CB plays at Old Memorial and Cypress Run.
44. Brenden Morrow 3.5 Dallas Stars captain plays with many other jocks at Vaquero.
T-45. Michael Cammalleri 3.6 Signed $30 million deal with Canadiens in July after big season with Calgary.
T-45. Mason Crosby 3.6 Packers kicker set records at the University of Colorado before joining NFL.
T-47. Cam Neely 3.7 Hall of Famer and ex-Bruins RW now team's VP.
T-47. Vinny Testaverde 3.7 After 21 NFL seasons with six teams, it's all golf now.
49. Matt Ryan 3.8 Falcons QB won an ESPY as Best Breakthrough Athlete of 2008.
T-50. Daniel Alfredsson 4 Ottawa captain is 14th in career goals among active NHL players.
T-50. Roger Clemens 4.0 Former pitcher's golf might be least controversial aspect of his life.
T-50. Marshall Faulk 4 Seven-time Pro Bowler and 2000 NFL MVP shifted his competitiveness to golf.
T-50. Ian Kinsler 4 Rangers 2B and leadoff hitter was among American League HR leaders.
T-50. Alex Kovalev 4 Needs six goals for 400 in NHL career; won Stanley Cup with Rangers in '94.
T-50. Pete Weber 4.0 Bowling legend keeps his handicap at courses in Missouri.
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