#Back9Philly: The Toughest Golfers

To follow up on our piece about the Rocky Steps, it’s only natural that we put together a list of the toughest golfers on the PGA Tour. The only question is whether any of them would be willing to get in the ring with Rocky for a few rounds.

Tiger Woods

There’s really no explanation needed here. Woods burst onto the scene in 1997 by winning the Masters by 12 strokes. He was a skinny 21-year-old kid back then, but he’s since bulked up quite a bit thanks to a weightlifting and running routine. His body explodes up from his relatively thin waist — Woods’ arms, chest and back are packed with muscle and he tips the scales at 185 pounds.

We assume that his fast swing speed would equate to quick reflexes as a boxer. Keep your gloves up; otherwise he’ll land a combination square on your nose.

Weight class: Cruiserweight

Gary Player

Why would we include a 77-year-old on this list, you ask? One of Player’s nicknames is “Mr. Fitness,” so we think it makes sense. Player, who stands at 5-foot-7 and weighs 150 pounds, was one of the first golfers to embrace good health and wellness as a way to play better golf. The South African owns numerous records, including playing in the Masters Tournament 52 times.

Player’s fit frame and endurance to keep playing well into his 70s make him a solid candidate to don a pair of boxing trunks.

Weight class: Super welterweight

Rory McIlroy

How does that old cliché go? Something about Irishmen being good fighters? McIlroy hails from Northern Ireland so boxing has to be in his blood (along with golf, which he’s pretty good at). McIlroy used to be a bit on the chubby side when he first started playing at the international level — that includes the 2011 U.S. Open, which he won.

Since then, McIlroy has bulked up. He’s got 160 pounds packed onto a 5-foot-10 frame and his body fat percentage has dropped. He’s got a feisty side as well, as evidenced by his tendency to respond to his critics with his words.

Weight class: Middleweight

Angel Cabrera

Cabrera’s PGATour.com profile says he’s 6-foot and 210 pounds, but we’re not buying that weight. With a build like that, he’s easily in the 215-220 range. We’re not sure he’s got the reach to have an effective jab, but his size alone is menacing. Can you imagine being on the receiving end of a right hook that has 200-plus pounds behind it?

If Cabrera gets some basic lessons on how to throw a punch, he’d be a mean opponent.

Weight class: Heavyweight

Tommy Gainey

Gainey is a former baseball player whose colleagues on the PGA Tour recently voted as having the worst swing on the circuit. He also wears two gloves at all times on the course. Listed at 190 pounds, Gainey doesn’t seem to have an overt amount of muscle on his 6-foot frame. But he’s not too pudgy either.

Call us crazy, but something about his ugly swing and the hand-eye coordination he acquired from playing baseball seems to be a good combination.

Weight class: Cruiserweight

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