Tweets, beefs, and birdies: Ranking the PGA Tour's content kings
With the advent of the wraparound season on the PGA Tour, golf publications around the world gave a collective golf clap. There will be year-round high-level golf, decreed the powers that be—sacrificing an off-season to satisfy the greedy content gods. Yes, the move was done to line the tour’s pockets, but another result was lining golf websites with sweet, sweet unique visitors that keep editors’ hearts warm even during those dark winter nights. Still, there are slow days and even off-weeks (if you look closely enough) on the calendar. And in those gaps, it is the PGA Tour content kings who we count on to keep us nourished with engaging social media accounts, big announcements, and, yes, a bit of controversy. So who are these mythical figures?
First, some ground rules. This is not just a list of the biggest newsmakers in the game, although, stature and visibility certainly play a role in how much content a player is able to generate. For instance, if Scott Stallings (lovely guy, by the way) goes down for the season with a wrist injury, there will probably be a debate over whether our website should even write something about it. But if Tiger Woods changes the felt on his pool table, you better believe we’ll have a post up before you can say Jazz Janewattananond.
In addition, we’re keeping this to active PGA Tour players, so sorry to the always entertaining Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who recently said he and his fiancee are having "a baby (calf)," Steven Bowditch, whose humor admirably increased as his game and health deteriorated, and, of course, John Daly, who has withdrawn from tournaments and covered “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” more than any golfer in history. That also means no Jim Nantz (golf fans LOVE Jim Nantz) or Brandel Chamblee, who is a walking, talking lightning rod for debate. And it's not just based on this year or Matt Kuchar would top the list. Also. . . well, those are pretty much all the rules. With all apologies to Bryson DeChambeau (who factors in), this isn’t an exact science as evidenced by the fact that 23 players made the cut. So without further ado, here’s our rundown of the tour’s top content producers. These guys all deserve a Christmas card from us.
23.) Dustin Johnson & Brooks Koepka (tie)
Two World No. 1s, major champs, and buff golfers. But if we’re being completely honest, both are mainly here for one acronym: WAGs. Keep doing what you do, guys Paulina and Jena.
2018 Ryder Cup - Gala Dinner
VERSAILLES, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 26: Brooks Koepka\'s partner, Jena Sims, takes a selfie with Dustin Johnson\'s partner, Paulina Gretzky, before the Ryder Cup gala dinner at the Palace of Versailles ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup on September 26, 2018 in Versailles, France. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
22.) Rickie Fowler
Rickie sneaks on here because he’s easily one of the five most popular players on the PGA Tour. And yes, he also has a famous WAG.
Otherwise, his tweets/Instagrams are as barren as his collection of major championship trophies. Sorry, that was harsh. Love ya, Rick. And can you please provide plenty of pics from your upcoming wedding? Thanks.
21.) Jordan Spieth
You might expect us to crown the Golden Child higher, but like Rickie, his social media handles are pretty much a running ad for AT&T. Still, he deserves credit for quote-worthy press conference answers and a slew of highlights that involve either a tee shot off the map, an incredible birdie/par save, or both.
20.) Wesley Bryan
The trick-shot craze has kind of died down, but Wesley and his brother George were two of the best and most prolific in that category.
That slowed down when Wes had better things to do like play on the PGA Tour and his lone win was epic, producing both a near vomit-inducing trip to the booth with Jim Nantz and a victory meal at Taco Bell—which some might also find to be vomit-inducing.
19.) Jon Rahm
The Spaniard and his fiancee have given us some memorable moments on the gridiron.
But Rahm’s best attribute—as far as this list is concern—is his, um, fire on the course.
I mean, we do NOT condone that type of behavior. . . Sickening stuff. . .
18.) Sergio Garcia
Like his younger countryman, Sergio has never shied away from showing frustration on the course, something that peaked with his brutal attack of bunkers and greens in Saudi Arabia in 2019, the latter which got him disqualified.
The only thing better would be if there had been video of it all. But Garcia has created plenty of happy moments as well, especially during his 2017 green jacket tour, which was highlighted by him wearing the coveted coat to his own wedding reception. Well played, Sergio.
17.) Jason Dufner
The man once sat funny in a classroom of kids and it became a viral sensation. It’s been a long time since Dufnering was all the rage, but he’s still good for the occasional viral moment, although, sadly, these days it can involve him yipping a short putt. And who could forget him freaking out when his Cleveland Browns drafted Johnny Manziel?
16.) Tyrrell Hatton
Back to some of the more, um, expressive players on the course. Aren’t the British supposed to be civilized? In any event, we love a good Tyrell tirade. We also love his self-deprecating humor and his spontaneity, like when he bought a putter at a Golf Galaxy during a tournament, or when he gave this on-course interview:
15.) Billy Horschel
Put simply, Billy-Ho is NOT afraid to mix it up on Twitter. He’s also not afraid to share his feelings on things, especially bumpy greens at a U.S. Open, and express his frustration with the occasional club break:
Bonus points for some of the crazy pants he wears. Those posts play surprisingly well.
14.) Pat Perez
Another rabble-rouser, Perez is co-host of his own radio show, where he famously made some honest opinion of Tiger Woods’ golf game in 2017. And his quick wit made him the star of The Match when he served as an analyst for Turner Sports’ pregame show.
13.) Joel Dahmen
In another year, this dude will probably be in the top 10, especially if he continues to surface on leader boards. He first got the golf world’s attention for calling out a fellow player for cheating (Hello, page views!), but he’s stayed in the spotlight with a terrific Twitter account.
Of course, he also has the benefit of a hilarious and creative caddie, Geno Bonnalie, whose off-season video deserved an Academy Award.
These two make quite the pair.
12.) Justin Thomas
JT has climbed to the top of golf’s Official World Golf Ranking but he’s also No. 1 when it comes to feisty Twitter retorts. Be warned if you go after him or someone he likes, because he will absolutely roast you.
He's also one of the game's most explosive players who in the past few years has shot 59 in a regular PGA Tour event and a 63 in a U.S. Open, but who showed no fear of exploding himself when that false ballistic missile alarm happened in Hawaii in 2018. ”I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music," Thomas said at the time. “I was like, if it’s my time, it’s my time.” Fortunately, the only thing blowing up that day were posts about Justin Thomas.
11.) Kevin Na
This guy has given us a bit of everything through the years from heartfelt winning speeches to rants about the rough at the U.S. Open to classic exchanges with his caddie, Kenny Harms. He’s battled the yips, been ripped for slow play and even praised for fast play when he ran around the course as a solo at the Tour Championship. But above all, Na carries himself with incredible swagger. Like Dufner, he’s started his own movement that involves moving early when going after a putt. There have been countless imitators since (Jordan Spieth’s Na needs some work) but this moment with Tiger Woods at the 2019 Players tops them all:
10.) Max Homa
Arguably golf’s top Twitterer, Homa has the ability to start a thread that turns into a successful post just by relating a personal anecdote. He did so recently by admitting he doesn’t tell Uber drivers what he does for a living because he wants to keep the chit-chat to a minimum. It was honest, funny, and it drew fantastic responses from fellow tour pros. Here, let's randomly go check out what Max's latest tweet is at the time of this post. . .
Seriously, the man has a gift.
9.) Henrik Stenson
Perhaps golf’s funniest personality, the Swede has the ability to turn even nightmarish situations into light moments. Like the time his rental house was robbed during a British Open and he said the thieves were lucky he wasn’t home and that he'd be "out looking" for them or the time he hit a fan with an errant drive at the U.S. Open and laid down next to the guy for a selfie.
He also once drove down Magnolia Lane blasting Ice, Ice, Baby. The man is a treasure.
8.) Ian Poulter
Everyone claims to be tired of this guy, but his antics draw plenty of clicks, from ripping fan decorum and course setups at the U.S. Open to trolling Team USA with Ryder Cup memorabilia like when he bought the actual police car used to rush Rory McIlroy to Medinah for Sunday singles in 2012.
7.) Patrick Reed
Another guy people love to hate. Reed may not have been the most popular Masters champ, but no one plays the role of PGA Tour villain better. Heck, not even just the PGA Tour as seen by his rant at a camera crew during a European Tour event in 2018. Captain America also managed to become a Ryder Cup villain within the U.S. after he threw his teammates, including Tiger Woods, and captain under the bus following Team USA's loss in Paris in 2018 (Talk about JUICY stuff). But his best moment came when he took a shot at the PGA tour for giving him bad tickets in the “line drive section” of Fenway Park.
If there was an “Unlike” button, that would hold the Golf Twitter record. But we loved it.
6.) Bubba Watson
One of the game’s most polarizing figures, Watson can be endearing when he cries almost as easily as Steve Stricker, but also prompts a #PrayForTedScott campaign every time he snaps at his caddie (another looper with a great sense of humor). Regardless, he’s a web traffic magnet from getting blocked by Tracy McGrady at the NBA All-Star celebrity game to a burrito diet during Masters week to, yes, the Golf Boys.
Bubba loves to say "Ur Welcome" after sharing stuff. And you know what? We really owe him a big "Thank you."
5.) Rory McIlroy
The current King of the Media Center, no one gives better, honest answers than Rory. His press conferences are so good it’s often tough to figure out what to focus on. He’s also the rare superstar behind his social accounts, often commenting on other people’s posts, including calling Drake “Two Gloves Audrey” after the entertainer posted awkward photos on the course.
4.) Eddie Pepperell
If moving the needle wasn’t a factor in this, Pepperell would be No. 1. In addition to his biting humor on social media, he’s a fantastic writer who keeps a blog and always finds the right words to describe his play—even if it’s shite as the Brits say. The guy is never shy about weighing in on topics and players, and he admitted to almost winning the Claret Jug while nursing a bad hangover. And with all due respect to Ashton Kutcher, if there's ever a Punk'd reboot, Eddie is the man for the job:
3.) Bryson DeChambeau
Golf’s mad scientist is a vortex of content. Aside from his cap and single-length irons (how many stories have been written about that?), he putts with the flagstick in and draws, sorry, stipples. Then there’s the use of big phrases and quirky methods (spraying his clubs with dew?).
And when things don’t go right, he provides some spectacular meltdowns. Pace yourself, Bryson. You've/we've got another couple decades (fingers crossed) of this.
2.) Tiger Woods
As mentioned before, Tiger is Tiger. We could find something to write about this guy every day. We’ve done stuff on his pet phrases, his hair, his shirt color. Heck, a post I wrote about his jeans a few years ago still does well. He doesn’t offer as much as these other guys on social media, but he’s getting there. And I really wasn’t joking about the pool table. That was our top-viewed post during the 2017 British Open—a MAJOR championship in which Woods wasn’t even participating!
When it comes to content, you can't milk this GOAT enough.
1.) Phil Mickelson
And then there’s someone who checks ALL the boxes. Popular? Check. Newsworthy? Check. Interesting? Exciting? Controversial? Check, check, check. And finally, social media savvy? Check. This last aspect only came about at the end of 2018, but man has Mickelson been great, offering fantastic takes (and daggers) while driving to the course, instructional videos in flip-flops, funny fitness tips, and now, a “Phireside with Phil” series.
Before all this, people couldn’t get enough of “Phil being Phil” and “What will Phil do next?” posts that involved everything from gambling to investing in frozen yogurt to promoting THE MATCH (talk about a goldmine of content for months) to in-depth conversations with caddies to wearing a freaking binder clip on his hat. But now there’s SO much more. At 49, Phil Mickelson remains the clear Content King of the PGA Tour. And frankly phrankly, we hope his reign is a long one.
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