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Golf: My Top Five Golf Rivalries

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The game of golf like every other sport has excellent rivalries. We know that golf is an individual sport so most of these will be player vs player. Recently you could say LIV vs PGA but that one will be over once the merger is done later this year or early next year. This will not be any kind of fight we are aware of. All be looking at five of the most intense golf rivalries. I’ll be looking at Brooks Koepka vs Bryson DeChambeau, Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods vs Sergio Garcia, Arnold Palmer vs Jack Nicklaus, and Greg Norman vs Nick Faldo.  

 

Arnold Palmer vs Jack Nicklaus

Many golf fans call this the most incredible golf rivalry. This rivalry started in the ’60s. Palmer is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Nicklaus is from Columbus, Ohio. They both had nicknames, Palmer “The King” and Nicklaus “The Golden Bear.” When they were at the top of their games many majors were won by one or the other. No matter what, they became friends and never let their rivalry ruin that. The fans of each of these players did not like the other player. Before Palmer passed away, they used to open “The Masters” together. I agree this was the best golf rivalry of all time.

 

Greg Norman vs Nick Faldo

At one time Norman held the number one ranking in the world for 331 weeks. Faldo on the other hand only held it for 97 weeks. Was this a rivalry at the 1996 Masters? Norman held a six-shot lead in the final round, but he choked, and Faldo won that Masters by five shots. Also, Faldo has six majors compared to just two for Norman. Just like with Palmer vs Nicklaus, these two played against each other. Faldo has been a golf analyst and Norman is now the CEO of the LIV Tour. 

 

Tiger Woods vs Sergio Garcia

Many will say that Nicklaus had more rivals than Woods. Nicklaus had Palmer, Player, and Watson. Woods may have never had a true rival. When it comes to Sergio Garcia, he was supposed to be just that. One of the times was during a TV event known as “The Battle of the Bighorn.” Garcia won and mocked Woods after the victory. Since that loss to Garcia, Woods beat Garcia every chance he got. Woods also disliked the comment that Garcia made at the 2013 European Tour Players’ Award Dinner about fried chicken. That was a comment made when Woods won the 1997 Masters by Fuzzy Zoeller. Zoeller was asked what he thought Woods would have for champions dinner at The Masters. 

 

Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson

Just like I said above, Woods was supposed to have a rival. Mickelson was also supposed to be that. If you look closely, Woods also beat Mickelson when he had the chance. Mickelson, like Garcia, beat Woods in a one-on-one TV tournament. Woods started his domination of the PGA Tour in the late ’90s and most of the 2000s. Mickelson would win from time to time but Woods, like with Garcia, won this rivalry. Woods also defeated Mickelson in a TV tournament in 2005.  

 

Brooks Koepka vs Bryson DeChambeau 

Now remember I said that none of these rivalries ever came to a fight. This one nearly did. It all started in 2019 at the Dubai Desert Classic. Koepka called out DeChambeau for his slow play. Both have taken jabs at each other in the tournament post-press conference. They met in “The Match” in 2021 and Koepka won. Both are on the LIV Tour. Their rivalry is not as hot as it was when they were on the PGA Tour. This is the most recent rivalry so let’s see when the tours merge if it continues. 

These are five among the many of the tour. I have seen four out of the five on TV. The only one that I have not is Nicklaus vs Palmer. I still think it’s one of the greatest rivals in sports. Most of them have also been one-sided. Some are going on with Jordan Spieth vs Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed vs Jordan Spieth. The Spieth vs Reed rivalry is not because Reed is playing on the LIV Tour. The Spieth vs Thomas rivalry is like the Nicklaus vs Palmer, a friendly one.

 

What is the greatest rivalry in golf? Leave a comment below.

For all your golf news log on to NGSCsports.com

For more follow me on Facebook: Bradley Louis Walker, on Twitter:bradwalker3083, and my weekly sports podcast: The Walker Report.

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