Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Mark Scheifele and more: A look at the NHL’s best golfers

With Capital One’s “The Match 2” providing some much needed live sports content for fans around the world, the spotlight will be on two amateur golfers from a very different sport — NFL legends Tom Brady and Peyton Manning — as they play along with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. 

Like football, hockey is another sport that features its fair share of part-time golfers. Many NHL athletes enjoy hitting the links in the offseason or whenever they get a day off. Some are better than others, but almost all of them enjoy getting out on the course when they can. 

With “The Match 2” underway, here’s a look at some of the most notable golfers from the hockey world:

Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin would be the first to admit golf is not his strongest sport, as evidenced by this footage from on the course.

However, the superstar forward became the envy of anyone who has ever picked up a golf club years ago when he made a hole-in-one in his first-ever round. Just to put the insane odds of that in perspective, some estimates have predicted that a low-handicap player who plays 25 rounds of golf each year for 40 years has about a 20 percent chance of making just one hole-in-one in their entire lifetime. For a player that seems barely capable of hitting the ball, that’s pretty darn impressive.

Sidney Crosby

The Penguins star doesn’t play as much as he used to, but he was still listed by Golf Digest as having a 12-handicap. The left-hander played just the other day with former teammate Phil Kessel, and also made it onto the course with Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon last summer.

Video contains NSFW language.

John Tavares

The Toronto Maple Leafs captain is listed as an 11-handicap by Golf Digest, down from his former mark of 19. Apparently, he ran into NBA superstar Stephen Curry at Sebonack Golf Club in Long Island a few years back. 

“I play golf mostly recreationally, but if I can go a little lower somehow, I’ll take it. I’m pretty competitive,” he told Newsday in 2013. “I played a lot early in the summer, which is when I’m usually not very good.”

Wayne Gretzky

He’s not a current NHLer, but “The Great One” is actually a pretty great golfer, as evidenced by his numerous appearances at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am over the years. He’s good friends with Mike Weir, arguably the most successful men’s golfer in Canadian history, and he is also the soon-to-be father-in-law of former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson through his daughter, Paulina. He even got his swing analyzed by famed commentator Peter Kostis on TV several years ago. 

T.J. Oshie

Listed as a 6.1 handicap by Golf Digest, the Capitals winger went viral a couple of years ago after draining a long putt at the American Century Championship while wearing a beer helmet. As in, a helmet strapped with two beer cans and a series of tubes to allow for hands-free drinking. The NHL veteran was truly living his best life

Nathan MacKinnon

The Avalanche star joined up with several other fellow pros at the Compuware Golf Outing a few years back.

Even though he claimed he’s “not very good,” Golf Digest listed him as a four-handicap earlier this year. Perhaps he’s been bitten by the golf bug recently?

Blake Wheeler/Mark Scheifele

Wheeler, the Winnipeg Jets captain, is supposedly one of the best golfers in the NHL and was offered a sponsor’s exemption to a PGA Tour Canada event in 2018. However, he ultimately couldn’t attend and was replaced by his teammate Mark Scheifele. Scheifele didn’t fare too well in his place, unfortunately, putting up a first-round score of 15-over-par 87. He also got caught on video hitting a stone-cold shank at his charity golf tournament in 2016.

Anthony Mantha

According to Golf Digest, Mantha is the best golfer in the NHL with a stunning +3.2 handicap. For non-golfers, that means that his average score is better than three strokes under par. Maybe if the whole hockey thing doesn’t work out, Mantha could have a future career teeing it up with the pros. On the other hand, he did put up 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) for the Red Wings this season, so maybe he should stick to his guns.

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