From the “This can’t be right” files: Phil Mickelson is the world’s best known golfer. Not Tiger Woods. Not Rory McIlroy. Phil Mickelson, folks.
Even more mind-boggling, the ESPN survey in question named Mickelson the 5th most famous athlete not only in the U.S., but in the world. How can this be? Even the biggest Lefty fan couldn’t think Mickelson is more famous than, say, Neymar or Usain Bolt (which the survey found him to be).
With Tiger Woods’ absence from the global golf stage, it’s still shocking any survey would find Phil more globally popular than Tiger. ESPN’s ranking was based on the combination of endorsement dollars, social media following, and Google search popularity.
This doesn’t make things any clearer. Sure, Mickelson makes endorsement bank from big pharma and the finance sector, but he’s not even on social media. When you look at the ranking, it says that he has $50M in endorsements and NA for all other categories. How can someone with no Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter followers even qualify, let alone top the list? And really? Are eager fingers tapping away Phil Mickelson-related search terms all over the world?
According to ESPN’s director of analytics, Ben Alamar, the survey also took into account information from ESPN journalists in Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Apparently, there are many Phil Mickelson fans among them.
If you’re wondering where the other big-name golfers landed, here you go: Tiger Woods (10), Rory McIlroy (14), Jordan Spieth (17), Dustin Johnson (43), Sergio Garcia (58), Rickie Fowler (62), Justin Rose (73), Jason Day (84), Bubba Watson (94) and Adam Scott (98). For Phil to come before Rory, who just made two of the biggest deals in golf history, makes little sense. The survey must have been taken by 50-year-olds only or there was some flaw in their process.
But there you have it, folks, more weirdness from ESPN during the same week as their bizarre attempt to improve Tiger Woods’ image, literally, in the form of this photoshopping of his mugshot.
As you can see, this version of Woods’ mugshot has more hair and is set against a different (i.e. non-prison) background. ESPN is a respected source in the sporting world, so the photoshopped image of Tiger makes sense. Phil Mickelson coming before Tiger Woods on their World 100 list, does not.