Tips on judging a man's character

Chiefs LB Tamba Hali once left an 85 percent tip for a bill over $1,500. John Rieger/USA TODAY Sports

The word you hear at the NFL draft the most is "character." Is he a "character" guy? Can you count on his "character"? GMs pull hammies doing all kinds of interviews, tests and research in hopes of divining a player's "character."

But there's a simple way to judge a man's character.

Watch how he tips.

How you tip says everything about you. It reveals how big your ego is. How much you care about others. How lucky you think you are to be who you are.

It's true: The best way to judge a man's character is by how he treats those who can do absolutely nothing for him.

I've seen fabulously wealthy athletes give out ridiculous tips -- ridiculously high and ridiculously low.

Last season, Tamba Hali of the Chiefs left $1,300 on a $1,530 tab. No reason to do that, other than to say, "Hey, I got a little lucky being 6-foot-3, 275 pounds with speed like a new Tesla and an $11M income, so I'm sharing a little of it with some of you waiters and busboys who wound up 5-5 and 130. Enjoy."

Former Ravens LB Ray Lewis hands bellhops $100 bills as if his wallet's on fire. In 2012, Peyton Manning left a $200 tip on a $740 dinner tab that already had an 18 percent tip included. Charles Barkley recently told Conan O'Brien he left a blackjack dealer $25,000.

This past weekend, Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker won a small bank at the Kentucky Derby. He left with so many packs of $100s, he had to hold them with two hands. As he came down the VIP-room escalator, he started handing out $100s to perfect strangers.

(Remind me to stand at the bottom of that escalator next year.)

After Bubba Watson won the Masters in April, he went to Waffle House and left a $148 tip. Now, unless his bill was $1,000 -- and the mind fries thinking how you could order $1,000 worth of Waffle House -- that tip was bigger than a Bubba drive.

Phil Mickelson tips like he has no heirs. Anytime he sees kids holding a lemonade stand, he buys a 50-cent cup with a $100 bill and walks away. He routinely gives car valets a Benjamin just for bringing his car around.

When Mickelson read, not long ago, that the daughter of former NFL star Conrad Dobler was going to have to quit school because Dobler couldn't afford it anymore, he took over all her college bills, complete with cost of living increases each year.

My favorite Mickelson story, though, happened in the Augusta National parking lot the Sunday night of his first Masters win. There were three emotional club employees giving him long bear hugs. Turns out they were the lower locker room guys who were losing Mickelson and his fat $1,000 tips to the Champions locker room guys upstairs. They were nearly weeping.

And yet Tiger Woods gives out fewer tips than a mute stockbroker. I know a car valet in Los Angeles who has to casually block Woods from getting into the front seat of his car or he won't get tipped. He makes small talk until Tiger finally reaches. "The guy has stiffed me too many times," he says.

Woods is known from Maine to Muscle Beach as being cheaper than generic toilet paper. He was ranked No. 1 worst celebrity tipper by Miami New Times. If you go on sportscracklepop.com, you can read all the ways he has stiffed waiters, ignored bartenders and left drivers empty-palmed.

"My brother works as a limo driver in Hawaii," one poster wrote. "Mickelson and Woods both got off their planes at the same time. Mickelson was handing out $100 bills to everyone. Woods ignored everyone and went straight to his limo. My brother was unlucky enough to have to drive Woods. Needless to say my brother never got a penny."

Tiger's excuse? He doesn't carry any cash.

But this is a man who, according to Forbes, makes $78 million per year. The average American, according to the most recent census, makes $27,319. So a $100 tip to Tiger Woods is like a 4-cent tip for the average guy.

But, hey, he doesn't carry cash. It's a shame his pants don't come with pockets.

He's not the only skinflint. Former NBA star Scottie Pippen wouldn't give you a tip if you pulled him out of a burning house. There's a reason they called him No Tippin' Pippen ... This is a man who once signed a $67 million contract, and yet once left $25 on an $800 tab.

You hang around with athletes for 36 years, you see all kinds. Pete Rose opened his wallet only upon court order. Floyd Mayweather rarely closes his. Andre Agassi hands $20 bills to anybody who gets in his way.

We're about to christen the NFL class of 2014.

They've finally got the NFL part. Now let's hope they add the class part.