Golfers, like many other sports people, often have an interest in more than just their chosen game. Many of today’s top golfers have a real interest in other sports and in this article, we take a look at some of the world’s finest golfers and the different sports teams and individuals that they follow.
World Number 1 Rory McIlroy is obviously a keen Tennis fan and follows the on court successes of his current squeeze Danish Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki closely. Indeed, at a recent sponsors event in the US, McIlroy leapt onto the court to play a point for his girlfriend against Maria Sharapova. The Ulsterman is also a keen soccer fan, as many European based golfers are, and is an admitted fan of Manchester United Football Club, recently having been given a signed shirt by United and England star Wayne Rooney.
English golfer Lee Westwood, a native of Worksop, is well known for his support of his local soccer team Nottingham Forest. Few fans will know though that in a recent Twitter interview, Westwood was asked what his favourite Scottish soccer team was and eschewing the tradition of picking either of the Glasgow giants, Celtic or Rangers, he elected to select lower league side Queen of the South, the reason being that Westwood’s brother in law, Scottish golf star Andrew Coltart, is also believed to be a big fan of the Glasgow based minnows.
It is also widely known that Spanish golfing enigma Sergio Garcia is a big fan of Real Madrid, the most successful soccer team in the history of the Champions League. However, what is not quite so well known is that Sergio supports another smaller team in his home country. He is the president of Spanish fourth division team CF Borriol and has not only trained with the team, but also even featured as a substitute in one of the Spanish sides matches in September 2010. In August 2011, Garcia headed to Massachussetts to train with MLS soccer side New England Revolution ahead of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
German ace Martin Kaymer is one of a number of famous German stars, which includes former Tennis ace Boris Becker, who pledge their allegiance to Germany’s most powerful and successful soccer team FC Bayern Munich. The German also ruffled a few feathers at the June 2010 BMW International Open when he donned a German National Team soccer shirt on the final hole. This breach of ettiquette was forgiven considering the event was held in Germany and it was during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
The National Football League of America (or NFL) also draws huge support from many golfers. Tiger Woods is a fan of the Oakland Raiders ever since his time growing up in California, though Woods loyalty to his Basketball team may be in question, with him stating at different times he is a Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic fan. Phil Mickelson is a fan of south California’s biggest team the San Diego Chargers, famously calling out to one fan wearing a Chargers top at one tee “Nice sweatshirt man!”.
Hunter Mahan, a long time resident of Dallas, is a professed fan of the city’s famous Cowboys football team. Jack Nicklaus once even considered a career in football, until a family friend and legendary football coach Woody Hayes advised Jack’s father that “He’s got a real future in the game of golf… I’d keep him as far away from my game as I could.” Nicklaus however is an avid Miami Dolphins fan and has been a season ticket holder since 1966. Indeed, such is Nicklaus level of support for the ‘phins that he refuses to travel on weekends during the football season. His long time rival Arnold Palmer’s allegiance however is to the Pittsburgh Steelers, especially seeing as the golfer was a close friend of Steelers founder Art Rooney. Another famous pro golfing Steelers fan is long-time resident of Pennsylvania, Jim Furyk.
Other golfers who openly support NFL teams include Steve Stricker, who is a big fan of the Chicago Bears, despite being from Green Bay Packer country. Brad Faxon is a season ticket holder at Bill Belicheck’s New England Patriots, while Rory McIlroy admitted in a Twitter question that he loved the NFL and said that if he had to select a team to support, it would be the Rex Ryan’s New York Jets. The Philadelphia Eagles can count on the support of Sean O’Hare, while Tim Herron is a keen supporter of the Minnesota Vikings.
Other golfers have more esoteric hobbies. Luke Donald is a keen painter while Tiger Woods is known to enjoy spear fishing. Bubba Watson lists philanthropy as one of his hobbies and encourages other wealthy golfers to divert some of their wealth to those less fortunate. Women’s golfing legend Annika Sorenstam enjoys catering professionally in her spare time.
With the amount of time devoted to traveling, touring and preparation, it is more of a surprise that the modern day professional golfer has the time and energy to devote to following other sports, but it certainly seems that golfers interest extend way beyond hitting a small white ball into a hole.