Welcome to the Devil Ball 100, our ranking of the 100 most important people in the history of golf. Over the next couple weeks, we'll be rolling them out, 10 at a time. Our list includes everyone from golfers to politicians to actors, and each one had a dramatic impact on the game as we know it today. Some names you'll recognize, some you won't. Some positions you'll agree with, and some will have you wondering if we've gone insane. Enjoy the rollout, and see where your favorites made the list!
50. Greg Norman: Greg Norman, nicknamed "The Shark," has had his share of success and failure during his career. Norman won two major championships and spent 331 weeks as the No. 1 golfer in the world. Even still, his 1996 Masters collapse is probably what he's best known for. After taking a six-shot lead into the final round, Norman crumbled down the stretch and blew the lead, losing to Nick Faldo by five shots. It's still considered to be one of the biggest chokes in sports history. While his on-course career has been a roller coaster ride, his success off the course has been unrivaled. His highly successful golf course design business and winery have made him one of golf's great entrepreneurs.
49. Patty Berg: Go ahead and name the female golfer with the most major championship wins. Most would probably say Annika Sorenstam or Babe Didrikson Zaharias, but the real answer to the question is Patty Berg. A founding member of the LPGA, Berg won 15 major championships during her career, which still stands as the all-time record for a female golfer. She also won 60 tour titles to go along with 29 amateur titles. She was also voted AP Woman Athlete of the Year in 1938, 1942 and 1955.
48. Charles Blair Macdonald: You can thank Macdonald for a number of things, but the biggest would have to be his contribution to golf course architecture in the United States. Macdonald built the first 18-hole golf course in the States (Chicago Golf Club) in 1893, and was instrumental in founding the United State Golf Association. A pupil of Old Tom Morris, Macdonald is considered to be one of the founding fathers of American golf course architecture.
47. Tommy Armour: Ever wonder why Tommy Armour golf clubs have the name "Silver Scot" emblazoned on the back of the club? This man is the reason. Armour, nicknamed "The Silver Scot," was a Scottish-American tour player who won three major championships from 1927-1931. After losing his sight during a mustard gas explosion during World War I, Armour eventually regained his sight and started playing golf. After successful golf career, Armour retired and began giving golf golfers; his most notable pupil was Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Armour's other claim to fame is holding the record for the highest score on one hole in PGA history, when he recorded a 23 on a par 5 -- 18-over par -- at the 1927 Shawnee Open.
46. Herbert Warren Wind: Apologies to some of the great golf writers out there today, but none of them hold a candle to the works of Herbert Warren Wind (even Busbee would agree with me on this one). Wind wrote about golf for The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated, on and off, between 1941 and 1990. He also coined the phrase ‘Amen Corner' in 1958 to describe the 11th, 12th, and 13th holes at Augusta National. Some of his better-known works are The Story of American Golf and The World Atlas of Golf.
45. Chi Chi Rodriguez: The first Puerto Rican ever inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Chi Chi Rodriguez was known more for his charisma on the course than his golf game. While Rodriguez went on to win eight times on tour during his career, most will remember him for his birdie dance, where he'd use his golf club as a "sword," slicing and dicing the conquered hole as if it were a bull.
44. Tim Finchem: The only number that really matters to the current PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is $200 million, as in the amount of money tour purses are up since he took over for Deane Beaman in 1994. As much as people like to complain about how the commish runs the tour, it's hard to argue with the money he's brought to the game. Much of that has to do with the Tiger Woods boom, but Finchem had to find a way to capitalize on the moneymaker. Did we mention he also sold sponsors on the FedEx Cup's $10 million first-place prize? Needless to say, he's done a lot for the sport.
43. Tom Watson: His swing is the envy of most recreational golfers, and yet Tom Watson never seems fully satisfied with his game, always striving to improve at the age of 61. With 39 PGA Tour wins, he ranks 10th all time on the list. An eight-time major winner, Watson's most memorable win came at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where Watson managed to chip in from the deep rough on the 17th hole to defeat Jack Nicklaus. The photo of Watson chipping in, club raised over his head, is one of game's most iconic images. He also came close to making history at the 2009 Open Championship, losing in a playoff to Stewart Cink.
42. John Daly: The game of golf has had a host of characters over the years, but with the exception of Arnold Palmer, none has brought the "Average Joe" to the game like Daly. Weighing over 300 pounds at one time in his career, Daly used his weight, grip-it-and-rip-it game, and his chain-smoking habit to connect with golf fans. As the ninth and final alternate at the PGA Championship, Daly won his first major and burst onto the scene with one of the most improbable wins in major championship history. From there, he went on to win the Open Championship at St. Andrews in 1995. After winning his second major championship in five years, alcoholism, gambling and martial issues quickly derailed his promising career. While his game has disappeared in recent years, he's still one of the biggest draws on the PGA Tour.
41. Mickey Wright: Ben Hogan called her swing the best he'd ever seen, and yet Mickey Wright is still an anonymous golfing great to the casual fan. After joining the LPGA in 1955, Wright went on to win 82 tour events, which ranks second all-time to Kathy Whitworth's 88. The most amazing part of Wright's career, however, was the fact that she only played full-time until the age of 34, because of foot problems. She also won 12 majors between 1958 and 1966, and was ranked as the ninth greatest golfer of all time by Golf Digest in 2000.