Top Links:

Get A Golf Handicap

UK Golf Guide

Golfshake Top 100s

Find Golf Travel Deals

Golf Competitions


Community Forum


Tee Times | Search | Reviews


Gear | Tour | Industry Insider


Video Library | Tuition Sections


Join | Log In | Help | Useful Links


Golfers Who Are Similar to Their World Cup Team

By: | Tue 29 May 2018

Article by Golf Journalist Joe Hughes

As an Englishman, I have the usual feelings of expectation and hope heading into a major tournament, but it’s slightly different this time. Gareth Southgate’s side seem to be a little different. Young, energetic and stress-free. So, why can’t we win it this time? We can always dream.

Anyway, I digress. The real reason I’m writing this piece is because I notice some striking similarities between certain golfers and their nations World Cup squads and I thought these would be worth sharing with you.

England – Matthew Fitzpatrick

It has been well documented that Southgate has selected England’s third youngest squad for a World Cup, however, the young guns who are lucky enough to be on the plane have bags of potential. Players such as Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Rueben Loftus-Cheek and Trent Alexander-Arnold all possess star-player qualities and as a team, surely a big win is a matter of when, not if.

This is where the link comes to 23-year-old, Matt Fitzpatrick from Sheffield. Fitzpatrick has shown that he has the ability to rub shoulders with the world’s best and has already won four times on the European Tour. The youngster is progressing season after season and it looks like being only a matter of time before he is challenging for major championships. To this point he has not quite been able to stake his claim in a major competition but does already has a top-10 finish under his belt in The Masters. I believe that there’s plenty more to come from Fitzpatrick as well as these England players in the coming years and major titles look like a realistic goal for both.

France – Alex Levy

To me, Alex Levy could be one of the most influential players in Europe’s Ryder Cup team, if he manages to make the side. In sport, we have seen time after time just how much playing in front of your home crowd can boost your performance and I believe this would be no different for Levy. Cast your minds back to the 2016 UEFA Euros competition where France were the hosts. Despite having some considerably talented players amongst their squad, they used the support of the French citizens to help propel the all the way to the final.

It is rare enough that a Tour event takes place in France, let alone something as huge as the Ryder Cup, so I think he has to be selected.

In terms of playing style, the 27-year-old does have some similarities with certain French footballers. Often described as an “aggressive” player, Levy does not have poor discipline but isn’t afraid to give each swing 100% and go straight for that pin. I’d Liken him to N’Golo Kanté and Blaise Matuidi, both of whom play with a strong, aggressive style but rarely overstep the mark. Kanté is likely to play a pivotal role in the French side and Levy could do just that himself come September in Paris.

Germany – Martin Kaymer

For me, the personification of the German National team in the form of Martin Kaymer is the strongest from this list. They both have achieved great things, winning major competitions and proving that they can stand the test of time whilst competing at the top level. Granted the former number one is struggling to find any sort of form at the moment, but he will be back. Kaymer’s game has always been one that displayed consistency, his swing has hardly changed over the years and he has seemed to always play his way around a golf course in the same sort of way. You don’t need me to tell you that the football team is also consistent, surely?

Well, if you do need me to, then here you go. They are very, very consistent. In fact, they have not gone out of a World Cup before the quarter-final stage in any of the last 9 tournaments and it’s 40 years since they last did. So, I hope that paints the picture for you.

I think the way we look at Kaymer in a golf field and Germany in an international competition aren’t that different. At least for me, it’s one of those situations in which you never quite rule them out, whether they are in-form or not.

Spain – Jon Rahm

Another strong comparison, is that of the European heavyweights, Jon Rahm and the Spanish national side. It seems that Spanish professional golf and football have undergone an almost identical transformation of late. One that has seen a string of young, fresh, determined players take over seamlessly from a classic, adored and successful generation. If you are to look back at the top-50 ranked golfers in June 2006, you’ll see the names of José Maria Olazabal, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Sergio Garcia all there, all of whom have become fan favourites in the world of golf.

Now, if you are to look back at some of the names in the 2006 Spanish World Cup squad, you will see name such as Xavi, Iker Casillas and Raul. With the exception of the seemingly ever-present Garcia, who I would describe as the Iniesta of golf, all of these sportsmen are no longer the forces that they once were and have acted as the role models for a new batch of superstars.

In golf, Jon Rahm and Rafael Cabrera-Bello are the two others who have joined Garcia in the world’s top-50 with ‘Rahmbo’ being the standout performer. We have seen him develop over the past year on tour and he has undoubtedly become one of the most prolific golfers on the planet. Sporting trendy sideburns and rubbing shoulders with more established golfers, the Spaniard has won the heart of the golfing public with his honest, all or nothing style and there is much more progression still to come from the world number 4.

In a similar way, players such as David De Gea, Koke and Marco Asensio have broken into Spain’s 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup, with some of ‘the greats’ bowing out of the international game. These developments mean that Spanish sport is still in good hands and I’m sure that they will be major participants for years to come in both fields.

Australia – Minjee Lee

Australia may be one of the outsiders in this year’s tournament but they are by no mean a poor side. More than capable of holding their own against more established teams, the Socceroos proved this last year when playing in the Confederations Cup and they were only narrowly beaten, 2-3 by a strong German side.

I’d liken the Australians to female ace, Minjee Lee. The world number 15 is just 21-years-old and is providing solid evidence that the future is bright for the women’s game. Having played just over 50 professional events, her record is strong with 5 wins and it doesn’t look like that will be the end of it, her performances are progressing nicely and she has much more to offer. The way that she has stood toe-to-toe with the sports best and held her own shows that she has many attributes which are similar to those of Mile Jedinak and co. in the Socceroo side.

Sweden – Robert Karlsson

It is likely that anyone who has even the slightest interest in football would know that Sweden’s Talisman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has retired from the international stage and will not be playing at the world’s biggest tournament this summer. Having carried Sweden’s hopes on his shoulders for a number of years, it was the right time for him to take a seat and let the next generation take control, as they will look to do next month. In a similar way, Robert Karlsson was once THE name in Swedish golf. However, as his life has moved on, he has paved the way for some seriously strong young talent to step up and keep the Scandinavian nation’s flag on leader boards around the world.

Yes, this one is perhaps a likeness between Karlsson and Ibrahimovic more than Sweden and Karlsson. However, I feel that this is accurate and with the likes of Alex Noren and Henrik Stenson starring on the world’s stages, there’s no reason why players such as Pontus Jansson, John Guidetti and Emil Forsberg can’t excel this year in Russia. Although, they must beat either Germany, Mexico or South Korea to one of the top two spots in their group if they are to succeed. I think they have the ability, but only time will tell.

Belgium – Thomas Pieters

Thomas Pieters has been touted by many of one of the top prospects on tour, with a big future ahead. Despite being in a tricky vein of form at present, the tall Belgian has shown that he has the makings of a future star on the European and perhaps the PGA Tour. His performances so far in the World Golf Championship events and the 2017 Masters show that he has the skills to finish in the top ten when playing with the best in the business. He is still young and has heaps of potential and this is where he links to the Belgian football side.

Packed full of talent, Roberto Martinez’s men have been expected to go well in major tournaments for a few years now, but it’s not really come together for them, yet. Exiting at the quarter-finals of the 2016 Euros and 2014 World Cup, they will be determined to reach the latter stages of this year’s tournament. Similarly to Pieters, they have shown that they can produce the goods all over the world, with their squad being made up of players who have excelled in a range domestic leagues. Undoubtedly, the world number 65 will be fully behind his Belgian counterparts and he could take some inspiration from their campaign if it is a strong one.

Argentina – Emiliano Grillo

Finally, comes the Argentinian football team and Emiliano Grillo. Two sporting participants that seem to be almost there in terms of being the complete package. The team have almost all the components needed to be the world’s best team; a lethal attack featuring the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero; an efficient midfield featuring start such as Javier Mascherano and Ever Banega but they have struggled in the recent years with some defensive frailties. This year may be different, but they have fallen at the feet of those who have exposed their defensive issues in previous tournaments.

Looking at Grillo, he has shown this season just how close he is to being a top, top player and this is reflected in his PGA Tour stats. Here is a summary of some of those stats.

Off the tee: 25th on tour.

Approach to the green: 23rd on tour.

Around the greens: 129th on tour.

Putting: 38th on tour.

Tee to green: 24th on tour.

It is clear to see that Grillo is a solid all round player who works on all aspects of his game, however, just like the football team, it seems to be one area that is weaker than the others. For the 25-year-old, his play around the greens is not as much as an asset as it is for others on tour, but the rest of his game is very much above average. If both parties can level out their strengths then there is no doubt that success will come.

So, these are our thoughts on which golfers would can be likened to their World Cup teams, who would you pick? Let us know!

Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at Golfbreaks.com.

What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

Tags: PGA Tour european tour

Scroll to top