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If Bubba Watson is overrated, this poll is underwhelming

May 07, 2015

Pro tip: Don't put too much stock in player polls. Those in the arena sometimes are the least observant.

Recall Rafael Palmeiro of the Texas Rangers, who won a Gold Glove for fielding excellence in 1999, a year in which he was overwhelmingly a designated hitter. He appeared in 158 games that year, only 28 as a first baseman.

Team coaches, who are at the ballpark every day and are paid to pay attention, do the voting.

We bring this up in light of a Sports Illustrated player poll that has made some news. Tour players anonymously were asked to identify the most overrated player.


Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter (Getty Images)

Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter each received 24 percent of the vote. Bubba Watson was third with 12 percent.

Let's start with Watson. He won three tournaments last year and has won two major championships in the last four years. For this argument, let's use the World Ranking. Watson is fourth. None of the six that follow — Jim Furyk, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia — has a commensurate record. By what criteria then would Watson be considered overrated?

Poulter is 30th in the World Ranking and has not won in 2 1/2 years. Who, at this point, objectively has been rating him higher and thus worthy of consideration in a poll on the overrated?

At least an argument might be made that Fowler is overrated. He's 13th on the World Ranking, one ahead of Patrick Reed, who in the last 21 months has four victories to Fowler's none. Observationally, however, Fowler probably hasn't been overrated for a few years, dating to a time when expectations were exceedingly high and he won only once, in 2012.

At any rate, take these polls for what they're worth. They're provocative, in the same way as giving a Gold Glove to a DH who had virtually no need even for a leather one.

Updated: Fowler and Poulter seemed to have fun with their overrated status in the poll in this Twitter exchange on Thursday.

.@IanJamesPoulter too bad we had to tie at 24%...wish one of us could have gotten 1 more vote to claim the title...I'd vote for you

— Rickie Fowler (@RickieFowlerPGA) May 7, 2015