10 of the Best Nicknames in Golf
IF YOU are a darts player it is compulsory that you have a nickname. Barney, Mighty Mike, The Chin, Voltage, The Flying Scotsman (guess where he is from), The Wizard of Oz (ditto). It’s the same with football and rugby, although their nicknames tend to be a little less imaginative – we give you Becks, Scholesy, Wrighty. You may not be aware that many golfers also have pseudonyms – here we give you 10 of the best.
No prizes for guessing why Craig Stadler became universally known as The Walrus, but we will give you a few clues anyway. A walrus tends to be somewhat, erm, overweight, slow and bad-tempered. Stadler was a mighty fine golfer who won a lot of tournaments, including The Masters, but a gym rat he wasn’t. He was at least four stones overweight and used to suffer horribly in hot weather. And the thing is that most weeks, tour professionals play in hot weather. He also had a notoriously short fuse, regularly slamming his clubs into the ground after a less than perfect shot. And The Walrus look was finished off with a giant bushy moustache.
If Stadler Sr was The Walrus, there was never going to be any moniker for his son other than The Smallrus. But let’s keep things in perspective. There was and is nothing small about Kevin Stadler, who tips the scales at around 18 stones. Like father like son in every respect – except for the fact that Stadler Jr was rather more able to cope with adversity than his father ever was. It also has to be said that he has never achieved anything like the success that Big Daddy managed.
The Big Easy
Els is the complete antithesis of Craig Stadler. In his prime, there wasn’t an ounce of spare flesh on his giant frame. He would amble along the world’s fairways, looking like he didn’t have a care in the world. He actually did have one particular care in the world – a guy named Tiger Woods, who deprived him of several majors. The South African has a wonderful temperament, taking everything in his stride. He has also always had a beautiful, fluid swing that produces effortless power. And so he became known as…The Big Easy.
El Pato (The Duck)
If you have ever seen former Masters and US Open champion Angel Cabrera up close and watched his gait, we defy you to conjure up any image other than that of a duck. His feet are splayed and he just waddles along. Cabrera is aware of the nickname and embraces it. In saying all of that, not too many ducks have won majors or generate the sort of power that the golfer from Argentina does.
The Boss of the Moss
For many years, Loren Roberts was one of the best putters in the game. A bit like Brad Faxon, he became more famous for his ability with the short stick than for anything he ever actually achieved in the professional game. He won eight times on the PGA Tour, which amounted to a pretty decent career. All of his victories came as a result of his incredible putting and in 1985 a fellow Tour player called David Ogrin came up with ‘the Boss of the Moss” for Roberts. It seemed entirely appropriate.
You may be surprised to know that Miguel Angel Jimenez’s nickname has nothing at all to do with the fact that he looks more like a mechanic than a professional golfer. He actually spent some time working as a mechanic and retains a penchant for fast cars. Very fast cars. He also built a reputation for being one of golf’s best tacticians and strategists. Somehow, we think that The Beach Bum might be more appropriate.
The Pink Panther
It has to be said that this is not the most original moniker of all time. For a time, Paula Creamer was a sensation on the LPGA Tour – and a marketing man’s dream. She is beautiful, athletic and is also extremely articulate. And she was also a winner. So sponsors queued up to get on board. And even more of them were enticed by the fact that Creamer loved to dress in pink. Not only, but she favoured pink golf balls, pink head covers, pink shoes, a pink glove and pink clubs. Yup, as the money rolled in, Creamer was in the pink, and The Pink Panther was the obvious nickname.
If you have ever listened to Bryson DeChambeau talking about his golf swing and trying to explain why the shafts on his irons are all the same length, you will understand straight away why he has been dubbed The Scientist. He has something else in common with real scientists – when he is in full verbal flow, it is almost impossible to understand what on earth he is on about. Even his on-course discussions with his caddie are like no conversation you will hear from any other golfer on the planet. Perhaps The Mad Scientist might be more appropriate when describing DeChambeau
The Towering Inferno
Never was there a more apt nickname for a golfer than The Towering Inferno, used to describe Tom Weiskopf, one of the leading American professionals during the 1970s and a former winner of The Open Championship. Weiskopf is 6ft 3in at a time when there were very few tour professionals over 6ft in stature. And boy did he have a temper. He won 16 PGA Tour titles and, by his own admission, would have won many, many more had he been able to cap the volcano that was his temper. He once admitted: "The most persistent feelings I have about my career are guilt and remorse. Sometimes they almost overwhelm me. I'm proud I won 16 times on tour and the 1973 Open. I should have won twice that many, easy. I wasted my potential. I didn't utilize the talent God gave me."
Champagne Tony Lema
On the eve of the final round of the Orange County Open Invitational, Lema was in good shape and told journalists covering the tournament that if he went on to win the following day he would ensure that they all had champagne. He won and duly had the champers delivered to the media centre and immediately became known as Champagne Tony. Lema won 12 times between 1962 and 1966, including The Open in 1964. He was a fabulous American golfer, destined for huge things. Tragically, in 1966 the small plane carrying him and his wife to an exhibition tournament in Illinois crashed onto a golf course and everybody on board was killed.
Chucky Three Sticks
If you don’t know who is labelled Chucky Three Sticks, we don’t think you will ever guess it in a million years. We think you will agree it is a nickname that conjures images of a horror movie creation. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the moniker attached to one of the most strait-laced players on the PGA Tour, a man who knows the history and tradition of the game inside out, and has earned tens of millions of dollars in prize money through his incredible consistency. Chuck Three Sticks is actually Charles Howell III. The nickname was coined by golfer announcer Charlie Rymer in 2000. "Rymer started it and it stuck. Hey, you could always be called something worse,” Howell said. Such as what?
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