The PGA Tour opens 2018 this weekend with the Tournament of Champions, honoring those that were winners in 2017. To appreciate excellence in both the NBA and PGA, let’s look at a few comparable athletes.
Stephen Curry ~ Jordan Spieth
Curry and Spieth command their profession in their abilities to be absolute marksmen when it comes to dropping the ball in.
Though neither would be considered big in stature compared to the behemoths (more on that in a second) in their sport, they guys are money when it comes time for scoring.
Curry, he of 402 three pointers in a single season, is arguably the greatest shooter from 23′ 9″ in the history of his sport. Jordan is similarly money from 20-25 feet, finishing fourth (2017) and third (2016), after leading the PGA in make % from that range in 2015.
The magnificent abilities of both these individuals has led to a great deal of personal success as well. Since joining the tour in 2013, Spieth has been busy racking up 11 career wins, with 3 majors sprinkled in. Spieth exploded onto the scene in 2015, winning his first Green Jacket and his first US Open, en route to a Player of the Year award.
Sound familiar? Curry won the first of 2 MVPS and 2 NBA Titles in 2015. Lastly, Curry and Spieth share ice in their veins. Capable of fireworks from anywhere, Jordan isn’t fazed by a silly sand trap on his way to victory:
Much like Curry isn’t fazed by his proximity to the hoop:
BANG! Curry has dabbled in Spieth’s professional golf ranks as well, playing in a Web.com tour event (PGA equivalent of G-League) and shooting an impressive 74-74. It doesn’t hurt that they’re both sponsored by Under Armour…
Lebron James ~ Dustin Johnson
With an incredible combination of brute strength, absurd athleticism, and top notch skill – DJ and Lebron are the very best at what they do. Each of these 33 year old mammoths accomplish feats that none in their field can compare with.
Dj has finished in the top two in driving distance on the PGA Tour each of the last 4 seasons. In 2015, Johnson led the tour with at 317.7 yrds per drive. For those unfamiliar with golf, that’s incredible. On June 19, 2016 while Johnson was mashing moonshots en route to a title :
His NBA counterpart was pulling off simlarly stunning displays of overwhelming athleticism en route to a title:
That’s probably enough said about what King James can accomplish on a basketball court.
At 6’4″ Dj’s combination of 300+ off the tee with pinpoint iron shots routinely puts him amongst the league leaders in scoring average and current #1 in the World Golf Rankings. In a similar realm, James continues to dominate in virtually all facets of the game.
Eric Gordon ~ Brooks Koepka
Neither Koepka nor Gordon are afraid of a little rocket launching.
Koepka’s missiles travel 7th farthest (311.1) on Tour , while Gordon’s are a direct hit the 4th most (112 3PM) in the NBA this season. In a marvelous 2017 season, the mighty Brooks captured his first major title at the US Open. Koepka took advantage of momentum swinging birdies, averaging 4.2 birdies per round – good for fifth in the PGA.
Gordon has a similar affinity for momentum swingers, his usually coming home from way downtown and giving the Rockets three points. Like his PGA counterpart, Gordon took home some hardware of himself in 2017, winning the NBA’s sixth man of the year award.
Russell Westbrook ~ Justin Thomas
Few in the NBA or the PGA could have enjoyed 2017 as much as Russ and JT.
JT excelled in many areas during a 5 win 2017, leading the tour in driving efficiency, approaches from 100-125 (short to mid range), and finishing fifth in putting. He even mastered controlling the ball with his mind:
While Russell’s driving efficiency wasn’t exactly on Justin’s league leading level, Westbrook did do his share of domination. Westbrook averaged a triple double in 2017 of 31.6ppg/ 10.7 rpg / 10.4 apg, similarly excelling in many areas of the game. Whether Russ was knocking down clutch daggers from deep, stop on a dime pull ups, or finishing violently at the rim – Russ was stellar.
At 5’10” many fans wonder how Justin Thomas can mash the ball (8th in distance) with such power and ferocity that it reminds viewers of watching Russ destroy 7 footers.
Both Justin Thomas and Russell Westbrook hope that their excellent 2017 performances can lead to similar success in ’18.
Going into the Final day in sunny Maui, be sure to keep an eye out on leader Dustin Johnson (-16). Looming behind DJ could be a barrage of three’s from Speith (-8) who sits 9th. Live Leaderboard.
While not everyone can appreciate golf as a sport, hopefully all can appreciate the tremendous ability of each of these 8 individuals.
Stephen Curry, Lebron James, Eric Gordon, Russell Westbrook
Jordan Speith, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas