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Meanest and Nicest PGA Champions Tour Golfers

Meanest and Nicest PGA Champions Tour Golfers

Meanest and Nicest PGA Champions Tour Golfers

Mike Reid probably is tops. But the naughty list is naught, at least according to our writer and PGA club fitting veteran.

(Pictured above is one of the good ones, Craig Stadler.)

I’ve been dealing with, working alongside, and personally fitting PGA Tour players for more than 30 years. In that time ,I have come to know some of the players very well, while others I have met only in passing.

People ask me, “Who the really good guys are out there?” Since, I have worked more closely with players more my own age, I’ll talk about the Champions Tour.

There are so many nice guys out there that it will be hard for me to narrow it down for this short article. One of the best is Hall of Famer Nick Price. I have known Nick since he first came over to America from Zimbabwe to play the PGA Tour.

Winner of three majors, Nick has always been the consummate gentleman and he is genuinely interested in what you have to say on a topic.

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PGA and Nice Guys Hall of Famer Nick Price.

Another great gentleman is Larry Nelson. Being in the Hall of Fame and owner of three Majors could give you a big head. But not Larry. He always takes time to sign autographs and talk with the fans in his soft southern voice.

PGA Championship winner John Mahaffey (now an announcer on the Golf Channel) is an old friend who will go the extra mile for you.

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John Mahaffey after winning the PGA Championship in 1978.

Mark O’Meara is always happy to see you, and he has actually admonished me (He was kidding.) for not coming over to the ropes to say hello to him while he was playing in a tournament. That is something I would never do during a tournament round since I recognize that the player is at work.

He just wanted to be sure that I knew that I was always welcome to talk with him. Nice to know from a two-time Major winner.

Craig Stadler may have a reputation as a gruff person, but he is one of the best. He’s always ready to kid around and never takes himself (or others) too seriously even though he is a former Masters champion. I’ve had dinner with him and his family at his home and he is one of the most laid back guys you’ll ever meet.

Perhaps the nicest guy out there is the soft spoken Mike Reid. Winner of two Majors on the Champions Tour, Mike will listen intently to everything you have to say and only then offer his opinion on the matter. If you provide him with any type of equipment he takes the time to hand write a thank you note and send it to you for your work. This is generally unheard of from players who are used to getting lots of wonderful equipment from various companies out on Tour.

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Mike Reid after winning the Senior PGA Championship in 2005. And winner of our nicest guy on Champions Tour award.

The only other Tour player who has ever written me a letter of thanks was a man who you would think would not have the time or feel the need to do so. It was Arnold Palmer.

This man gets so much stuff given to him that he must be overwhelmed with the mountain of goods. Plus, he’s Arnold Palmer, for gosh sakes. How could he possibly take the time to send anyone a letter thanking them for an item? But he does. And it is not the first time I have witnessed this happening.

I could go on and on listing more great guys on the Champions Tour, but I’ll stop here.

Now, for the hard part. Do you want to know who the meanest guys are? Are you ready? Okay, here they are:

No one. That’s right. Nobody.

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Oh sure, there are few guys who are rather intense when the game is on. Perhaps a few who might get in a temporary mood when they have just lost a big tournament by a shot. But all in all they are pretty good folks.

I’ve met and dealt with a few professional baseball, football and basketball players — and they can’t hold a candle to pro golfers. I think it has a lot to do with game. In those other sports, you are supposed to push the rules (some would say cheat) by swearing you tagged the bag, or you didn’t hold a receiver, or you didn’t foul a guy in the lane.

I know. I played all these sports when I was younger. It’s just part of the game.

But golf. No way. You live by the rules, and if no one sees you run afoul of the rules, it is your duty to call the infraction on yourself. Big difference versus those other sports.

So when I see a guy on the golf Tour get a little hot, or fail to notice a kid asking for an autograph, I chalk it up to a fleeting miss-step by a really good guy.

Go ahead kid. Ask him for that autograph again. He’ll be glad to sign your hat now that the steam has dissipated.


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