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Nicknames Of The Game

Golf Digest's top-10 all-time nicknames, plus an expanded list of historical nicknames

Gene Sarazen at the 1932 British Open.

Gene Sarazen (aka The Squire) at the 1932 British Open.

October 2010

As we saw at the British Open in July, there are cute nicknames being coined for tour players these days -- Louis Oosthuizen, aka Shrek -- but they're short of being classic or timeless, like a Golden Bear. The great nicknames we've grown accustomed to from golf's past have been memorable and longstanding, derived by both player and caddie alike. Nicknames go beyond turning left-hander Phil Mickelson into Lefty or using the truncated form of a proper name, such as Robert Tyre Jones to Bobby. By and large, getting a nickname is a sign of endearment and can indicate a number of things: you're well-liked, you've "made it," and you have a place in golf history as a memorable figure, especially if mention of the nickname immediately brings the real name and face of the person to mind. The best monikers are inspired by a physical, attitudinal or behavioral trait; sometimes you grow into one, like Tiger; sometimes it's insulting, such as Porky; and sometimes you get someone else's name, such as Chi Chi Rodriguez, who stopped using Juan for the name of Chi Chi Flores, a favorite baseball player.

The editors of Golf Digest ranked their top-10 all-time nicknames, plus honorable mentions, which is followed by an expanded list of nicknames created over the last several decades.

Top 10

The Golden Bear: Jack Nicklaus
The Walrus: Craig Stadler
Boss of the Moss: Loren Roberts
Little Poison: Paul Runyan
The Big Easy: Ernie Els
Big Momma: Joanne Carner
Great White Shark: Greg Norman
Mr. X: Miller Barber
Champagne Tony: Tony Lema
The King: Arnold Palmer

Honorable Mention

The Squire: Gene Sarazen
The Hawk: Ben Hogan
The Silver Scot: Tommy Armour
Lord Byron: Byron Nelson
The Gilroy Cowboy: George Archer
Two Chip: T.C. Chen
Thunder: Tommy Bolt
Boom Boom: Fred Couples
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