The Top-30 Nice Guys of the PGA Tour

Who are the ‘good guys’ on the PGA Tour?

Golf Digest Middle East - - Contents - BY DAVE SHEDLOSKI

Play­ers were graded on mul­ti­ple cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing be­ing “nice when no one is look­ing.”

Un­fail­ingly po­lite and down-to-earth, Jor­dan Spi­eth tops our lat­est Good Guys sur­vey of pro­fes­sional golf. The two-time ma­jor win­ner ben­e­fited from an up­bring­ing that taught him to never lose that often-elu­sive qual­ity known as per­spec­tive.

As for his pro­fes­sional education—at 23, Spi­eth is al­ready in his fifth year on tour—he has had no short­age of role mod­els. They in­clude Ryan Palmer, Zach John­son, Webb Simp­son, Bill Haas and Rickie Fowler, whom Spi­eth de­scribes as “un­be­liev­ably gen­er­ous with his time and [hav­ing] more en­ergy than I can ever hope to have.”

But if there is one fig­ure who has made the big­gest im­pres­sion on Spi­eth, it’s the ami­able Steve Stricker, who won this honor the last time we sur­veyed play­ers four years ago. The two first bonded dur­ing the 2013 Pres­i­dents Cup at Muir­field Vil­lage in Dublin, Ohio.

“Mul­ti­ple play­ers from a few dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions have helped me,” says Spi­eth, who has a knack for ex­hibit­ing ma­tu­rity, “but the one per­son who stands out is Steve. What an in­cred­i­ble role model. He’s a Payne Ste­wart Award win­ner, he pre­vi­ously won this award, and it’s ob­vi­ously for the per­son he is. To build a re­la­tion­ship with some­one like that early in my ca­reer was big. He’s al­most taken on like a fa­ther role. He’ll hate that I said that, but I’ve been blessed.”

Play­ers, cad­dies, me­dia mem­bers, var­i­ous golf of­fi­cials and in­sid­ers par­tic­i­pated in our Good Guys vot­ing. We lim­ited the can­di­dates to play­ers un­der 50, which is why Stricker (who turned 50 this year) isn’t a fi­nal­ist this time. Tour mem­bers were graded on sev­eral cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing treat­ment of fans, be­ing a good role model, treat­ing the “lit­tle peo­ple” well on tour or sim­ply be­ing “nice when no one is look­ing.”

Ja­son Day added a wrin­kle to the scor­ing, some­thing we hadn’t con­sid­ered: “One way I look at it is, in the heat of com­pe­ti­tion, are they easy to play with?” The first player he men­tioned? Jor­dan Spi­eth.

Fin­ish­ing tied for sec­ond in our poll were Tony Finau, an­other young pro, and 2013 Mas­ters cham­pion Adam Scott of Aus­tralia. Ste­wart Cink, a long­time me­dia fa­vorite, was fourth, and Fowler rounded out the top five.

If Spi­eth has one pre­dom­i­nant qual­ity, it’s his hu­mil­ity. Once asked about this, he fa­mously replied, “My speak­ing about hu­mil­ity is very dif­fi­cult, be­cause that wouldn’t be hu­mil­ity.” Touché.

A per­son tends to ma­ture faster when con­fronted with life’s re­al­i­ties. In Spi­eth’s case, he grew up with a sib­ling with spe­cial needs. His sis­ter, El­lie, was born with a neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der. That will keep you grounded, even after win­ning nine PGA Tour ti­tles, the fastest to that fig­ure since Tiger Woods.

Not sur­pris­ingly, Spi­eth es­tab­lished a char­i­ta­ble trust at 20, and it has evolved into the Jor­dan Spi­eth Fam­ily Foun­da­tion, which sup­ports spe­cial-needs youth, ju­nior golf, mil­i­tary fam­i­lies and the fight against pe­di­atric can­cer. Also not sur­pris­ingly, he cred­its his man­ager, Jay Danzi, and his staff for the or­gan­i­sa­tional push to get his foun­da­tion off the ground.

“The thing that’s spe­cial is that we can help a lot of peo­ple while still try­ing to fig­ure out what we want this foun­da­tion to be­come,” says Spi­eth, who talked at length about his am­bi­tions for help­ing oth­ers. “It’s been en­joy­able and mean­ing­ful to des­ig­nate money to a lot of peo­ple who re­ally need it, but go­ing for­ward, our fu­ture is a lot brighter. When I look back on my life, what we ac­com­plish [with the foun­da­tion] will be more im­por­tant than any­thing I do in golf.”

edited by peter finch golfdi­gestme. com july/au­gust 2017

from left Rory McIl­roy (T-12 in our sur­vey), Brandt Snedeker (8), Adam Scott (T-2) and Justin Rose (9). Il­lus­tra­tions by Stan­ley Chow

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