Revealed: Phil Mickelson faces the MOST online abuse in golf, 60% of comments are negative

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New data reveals the golfers currently suffering the most online abuse after Phil Mickelson was heckled at the US Open
Posted on
June 20, 2023
The Editorial Team in
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

New data from AceOdds can reveal the golfers currently suffering the most online abuse after Phil Mickelson was heckled at the US Open this weekend.

After the controversial deal between the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed PIF earlier this month, players have been under the spotlight, with a lot of players who defected to LIV Golf drawing online criticism. This spilled onto the golf course at the weekend in the first major since the deal was announced.

By measuring the social sentiment of tweets mentioning 25 of the biggest names playing at the US Open, AceOdds were able to conclude the players who suffer the most online abuse by fans at a time when opinion is polarized within golf.

New data reveals over HALF of tweets about Mickelson are negative, whilst US golfers 5% more likely to suffer abuse online

Name Nationality Positive sentiment Negative Sentiment
Phil Mickelson USA 40% 60%
Bryson DeChambeau USA 45% 55%
Patrick Reed USA 45% 55%
Rickie Fowlr USA 45% 55%
Brooks Koepka USA 55% 45%
Dustin Johnson USA 55% 45%
Jason Day AUS 55% 45%
Tyrell Hatton GB 55% 45%
Jordan Spieth USA 65% 35%
Shane Lowry IRE 65% 35%

Six-time major winner Phil Mickelson currently generates 60% negative sentiment when being mentioned in tweets. Mickelson has been a vocal supporter of LIV Golf since he agreed to join the breakaway tournament in 2022, which has led to traditional fans becoming angry.

Tweets criticizing Mickelson said he’s “a sellout and a hypocrite” with one saying: “I don’t respect him anymore”.

The study also found that the  players suffering the most online abuse were all American.

Behind Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau all generate 55% of negative sentiment. Although Fowler remains on the PGA Tour, Reed and DeChambeau also left for LIV Golf in 2022.

About Reed, one Twitter user said: “I don’t like his on course behavior”, whilst another said DeChambeau was a “bad role model for young golfers”.

Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka (both of LIV Golf) generate 45% negative sentiment on Twitter, the same as Australian Jason Day and Englishman Tyrell Hatton.

Data also revealed that US golfers were 5% more likely to receive negative comments than those from the rest of the world.

The American golfers analyzed suffer 32% of negative sentiment on average, compared with 27% for golfers across the rest of the globe.

Data highlights LIV golfers suffer over 50% more abuse online

The six LIV golfers who ranked in the top 50 of the US Open suffered an average of 46% negative sentiment, compared with an average of just 25% for the 19 highest ranked PGA Tour players.

Recently, the organizers of Roland Garros tennis tournament revealed they would use AI in order to protect players from online abuse during the French Open. Could we be set to see something similar implemented in golf soon?

The full table contain all 25 players can be found here:

Name Positive Negative
Phil Mickelson 40% 60%
Rickie Fowler 45% 55%
Patrick Reed 45% 55%
Bryson DeChambeau 45% 55%
Tyrell Hatton 55% 45%
Jason Day 55% 45%
Dustin Johnson 55% 45%
Brooks Koepka 55% 45%
Shane Lowry 65% 35%
Jordan Spieth 65% 35%
Tony Finau 70% 30%
Jon Rahm 75% 25%
Hideki Matsuyama 75% 25%
Patrick Cantlay 80% 20%
Matt Fitzpatrick 80% 20%
Justin Thomas 80% 20%
Cameron Young 80% 20%
Max Homa 82% 18%
Xander Schauffele 85% 15%
Viktor Hovland 85% 15%
Scottie Scheffler 85% 15%
Sam Burns 85% 15%
Rory McIlroy 85% 15%
Collin Morikawa 85% 15%
Cameron Smith 85% 15%


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