You want colorful golfers? Come to the Sanford International

Meet a few golfers who are famous beyond their playing proficiency

John Daly swings for a crowd at the Sanford International golf tournament. He's wearing white pants patterned with blue folded flags.
John Daly swings for a crowd at the Sanford International golf tournament. He's wearing white pants patterned with blue folded flags.

The term “colorful” has several meanings as it applies to the PGA Tour Champions golfers who will be competing next week in the Sanford International presented by Cambria at Minnehaha Country Club in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The 2020 tournament will include spectators — the first such PGA Tour Champions event to welcome fans since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also include several golfers often referred to by only their first names by golf fans over the years. Ernie (Els), Freddy (Couples) and Bernhard (Langer) are all in the field and have been fan favorites for decades.

The list of competitors also includes several who have made their mark with fans via their personalities as much as their excellence as golfers.

Using the term “colorful” in a literal sense, John Daly, who most days could spill buckets of paint on his pants and no one would notice, is among the most colorful athletes in history.

He set the bar so high, it’s not really a competition unless one includes professional wrestlers in the conversation. The internet is full of lists ranking his most outrageous outfits. It is as much part of the Daly brand these days as his “grip it and rip it” mantra that started it all, after he won the PGA Tour Championship in 1991 as a 25-year-old.

Colorful, and not just the pants

The beauty of Daly’s presence at the Sanford International is that he measures up by other definitions of “colorful” as well. He would be known as such if he wore nothing but gray.

In that regard he will have company at Minnehaha Country Club. Several of his colleagues have their own histories as fan favorites.

As evidence, on a recent list of the top 10 most colorful golfers by Golfchannel.com, four of those listed are playing in the Sanford International this coming week.

Third on that list — Daly was second behind Phil Mickelson — was Miguel Angel Jimenez, known for his ponytail and his cigar in addition to being a fine player on the Champions Tour. He is known as “the most interesting man in golf” via his love of fine wine, his Ferrari collection, an odd pre-round stretching routine and a distinctive view of the world.

“I love golf like I love life,” he told Golf.com. “I enjoy a good meal. A good bottle of wine. Being in the company of my friends and my family. All that is critical. That’s what gives life meaning. Life is not being born and dying — it’s about what happens in between.”

‘Spaceman’

Jesper Parnevik has won 15 pro tournaments, so in order to be famous for something other than being really good at golf, you’re going to have to work at it.

He is listed at No. 4 on Golfchannel.com’s list and is perhaps best known for being the Swedish golfer who wears a baseball-style cap with an upturned bill. He also had a stage where he regularly wore a necktie while playing in tournaments. In addition, the Swede is a proponent of the health benefits of eating volcanic dust.

His nickname on tour is listed, not so surprisingly, as “Spaceman.”

Among the most interesting quotes attributed to Parnevik: “I once let a magician saw my head off.”

‘Monty’

Colin Montgomerie, who is returning to the Sanford International for the third consecutive year, was listed as the 10th-most colorful golfer in the world on that list. The Scotsman, a five-time European player of the year who finished in a tie for second at the International last year, was once known for his frosty relationship with American golf fans.

“Monty” is now one of the most popular players on the Champions Tour, however, with Sanford International fans witness to it two years ago.

When one of the pro-ams was rained out in 2018, Montgomerie regaled a large group of would-be golfers with Ryder Cup stories at the Minnehaha Country Club for more than an hour.

‘Dear Lumpy’

Tim Herron is in his first year on the Champions Tour but leaves behind a reputation for not taking himself too seriously during his tenure on the PGA Tour. Known as “Lumpy” since he was a teenager growing up in Minnesota, he has quickly established himself as a colorful crowd favorite on the Champions Tour, though he’s only in his first season.

His website, Lumpco.com, includes an area where he answers submitted questions. Some of these exchanges provide solid humor.

Consider:

Dear Lumpy: I desperately need a pre-shot routine.

Dear Kyle: Next time you see me on TV, watch closely and you’ll notice I’m whispering to myself, the letters: V-B-A-A-G-B-W-B-A-T-D-R-C-F-T-A-F. It’s this acronym that reminds me to Visualize, Breathe, Address, Aim, Grip, Balance, Waggle, Breathe Again, Takeaway, Downswing, Release, Contact, Follow Through And Finish.

And this:

Dear Lumpy: My dad golfs. Anyway, I’m a seventh grader at Cedar Creek Middle School. There’s a super cute boy named Josh in my science class that I like, but I don’t even think he knows I exist. What should I do?

Dear Beakers & Boys: Take him to Arby’s and make him a Justin Bieber mix. My World and Believe; JB’s strongest records, display his vocal range and passion for going steady, while 2010’s, My World 2.0 left me feeling empty inside.

‘How did you sleep last night?’

Paul Goydos, also making his third appearance at the Sanford International, earned a reputation on both tours for his entertaining press conferences. The five-time winner on the Champions Tour has developed a knack for delivering humility with his humor.

His comedic resume includes this exchange with NBC’s Bob Costas:

Costas: Why do you wear your shirts buttoned to the top on a 90-degrees day?

Goydos: I have no shoulders, and that’s the only way the shirt stays on.

Costas: Have you ever held the 54-hole lead?

Goydos: No, but I’ve only been out on tour for 16 years.

Costas: (on Sunday morning): How did you sleep last night?

Goydos: On my back.

The sport is not exactly known for its irreverence — not intentionally, anyway — but it has a supply of players who are looking for ways to make people smile. In this case, players will be able to see those smiles.

“One thing everyone really has to understand about the players who play this sport is that they love showing off,” said Andy North, the two-time U.S. Open winner who serves as the Sanford International host. “And it’s not fun showing off if no one’s there.”

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Posted In Golf, Innovations, Sanford International

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