Press Pass Golfs Greatest Nicknames

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
 
Hot Topic
Ryuji Imada and several others couldn't get it done this past week at the AT&T Classic. Is winning your first PGA TOUR event the toughest thing to do in golf?
 
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
Actually, I think it might be the third toughest behind winning your first major (ask Phil Mickelson) and getting your TOUR card (ask Chad Campbell). The hard part for any of these challenges is the longer it drags on the more the pressure builds (ask Colin Montgomerie). For that matter, the longer the U.S. goes without winning the Ryder Cup back, the harder that will get (ask Paul Azinger).
 
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
Winning for the first time on TOUR is extremely difficult, but I'd say winning a major championship is the most difficult accomplishment in golf.
 
Kraig Kann Kraig Kann - Host, GOLF CHANNEL:
You're asking me? It seems like it would be. But compared to what? Making a hole-in-one on a par-5 is pretty tough, too. Put it this way, talented players like Harrison Frazier and Briny Baird and Brian Gay have come close but haven't won a tournament. Camilo Villegas hasn't won yet. Jay Delsing was on the PGA TOUR for years and never won. Getting on the PGA TOUR is tough enough; winning must be even more difficult - if you aren't a super talent.
 
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
No, definitely not. There have been a number of players that have won their first PGA TOUR event and never won another. The most difficult thing in golf is to win all four mens major championships in a calendar year.
 
Steve Duemig Steve Duemig - Panelist, Grey Goose 19th Hole:
Personally, I think that coming off the pace on Sunday to win a major is the toughest thing to do in golf. The course is not set up to make birdies, and depending on the leader, if he doesn't make mistakes, it is virtually impossible to catch him.
 
Hot Topic
With the Senior PGA Championship this week, is the Champions Tour in its best shape ever?
 
Hewitt:
The Champions Tour is what it is. And I mean that in the best sense. Its efficiently organized and run. It knows its audience. It doesn't try to be something it isn't. And its players appreciate the opportunities this tour has given them.
 
Sands:
I think the Champions Tour is in good shape right now with a high level of play, but Jack, Arnie, Chi-Chi and Trevino competing for titles each week is tough to beat.
 
Kann:
I would say no. It's zenith was during the time when Trevino, Rodriguez, Palmer and Player and Nicklaus and Floyd played with regularity and consistency. Today, the big stars (Greg Norman, for example) shy away from a full schedule. If they did play more often it would be better - but we also need guys like Crenshaw and Zoeller be winners. The fact that a two-time Masters champ in Ben Crenshaw hasn't won surprises me. It speaks to how hard it is to win out there. But from a fan's standpoint it doesn't do the Champions Tour much good.
 
Rolfing:
I dont think its in the best shape, but its in good shape. The Champions Tour still needs drawing power from star players. Its unfortunate that Greg Norman withdrew from the Sr. PGA, but hes exactly the kind of star the Champions Tour needs to see, at least occasionally.
 
Duemig:
I'm not so sure about this question. With most of the big names fading off into the sunset, it will be interesting to see if the new crop that is added every year will continue to draw the crowds.
 
Hot Topic
Do you agree with Padraig Harrington that the European Tour needs to join with all other international tours to evolve into a 'World Tour?'
 
Hewitt:
The World Tour concept has never lit up my board. I kind of like the mix we have now. The Europeans have their tour and they have their choices on how often they can and should play in the States while staying loyal to their own tour.
 
Sands:
I think the three individual World Golf Championships events all being played in the United States proves how challenging it is for tournaments around the globe to attract the best field and sponsors. I'm not sure the top players would consistantly play in different countries around the world from week to week. I love the idea of a world tour but it might be too difficult to actually see it come to fruition.
 
Kann:
It wouldn't hurt. Europe has great players. They need more. And the European Tour needs a stronger identity. They'd be better off finding a way to keep their biggest stars at home more often.
 
Rolfing:
Yes. Its still unclear to me what kind of effect the FedExCup will have on the European Tour. But certainly it will have a large one in the months of August and September. The European Tour already plays in Dubai, China and Thailand. The Australasian Tour could use Europes help.
 
Duemig:
No, I do not. I think each individual tour should be left as is. They are each in their own way a great spawning ground for future PGA TOUR players that may need a chance to develop their games elsewhere. It gives them more opportunities to do so.
 
Hot Topic
Tim 'Lumpy' Herron is defending this week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. What are the best nicknames in golf?
 
Hewitt:
My favorite nickname in all of sports, all time, is baseball player Steve 'The Tree' Christmas. A few golf nicknames that stand out: Jug McSpaden, Porky Oliver, Old Tom Morris, Young Tom Morris, Babe Zaharias, Chi Chi Rodriguez (his real name is Juan), Philly Mick, The Shark, The Walrus, The Bear, The King, Tiger, Duffy, The Little Jockey (Pavin), The Big Easy, TA III (Tommy Armour III), The Silver Scot (Tommy Armour I), The Hawk (Hogan), The Squire (Sarazen), Bubba, Boo. ... I could go on and on. My favorite golf nickname of all time? Legendary hustler Titanic Thompson.
 
Sands:
The King. Lumpy. The Black Knight. The Merry Mex. The Big Easy. Tommy 2 Gloves.
 
Kann:
Mark 'Jumpy' Lye. Gotta give it to my longtime GOLF CHANNEL buddy.
 
Rolfing:
Back to Greg Norman ' I think The Great White Shark describes him as well as any nickname in golf. My personal favorite, though, is Brad Bryants Dr. Dirt. Just look at a picture of him 20 years ago on the PGA TOUR, it was perfect then not so much now.
 
Duemig:
I am not that big into nicknames, but I would have to say that the all-time best for me would be 'Champagne' Tony Lema. The name just drips with class and that was the best way to describe Tony Lema. Does the name of 'Tiger' qualify as a nickname?
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Crowne Plaza Invitational
  • Full Coverage - AT&T Classic
  • Getty Images

    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

    Getty Images

    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

    Getty Images

    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry

    Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC

    Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile

    By Nick MentaJanuary 21, 2018, 8:44 pm

    Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola leads the Latin America Amateur Championship at 5 under par following a round of 3-under 68 Saturday in Chile.

    The former Georgia Bulldog is now 36 holes from what would be a return trip to Augusta National but his first Masters.

    "The truth is that I crossed off on my bucket list playing Augusta [National], because I happened to play there," Rivarola said. "I've played every year with my university. But playing in the Masters is a completely different thing. I have been to the Masters, and I've watched the players play during the practice rounds. But [competing would be] a completely different thing."

    He is followed on the leaderboard by the three players who competed in the playoff that decided last year’s LAAC in Panama: Joaquin Niemann (-4), Toto Gana (-4), and Alvaro Ortiz (-3).


    Click here for full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship


    Chile’s Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who currently holds conditional status on the Web.com Tour and is poised to begin his career as a professional, unless of course he takes the title this week. After a disappointing 74 in Round 1, Niemann was 10 shots better in Round 2, rocketing up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64.

    “Today, I had a completely different mentality, and that's usually what happens in my case," Niemann said. "When I shoot a bad round, the following day I have extra motivation. I realize and I feel that I have to play my best golf. The key to being a good golfer is to find those thoughts and to transfer them into good golf."

    Niemann’s fellow Chilean and best friend Gana is the defending champion who missed the cut at the Masters last year and is now a freshman at Lynn University. His second-round 70 was a roller coaster, complete with six birdies, three eagles and a double.

    Mexico’s Ortiz, the brother of three-time Web.com Tour winner Carlos, was 6 under for the week before three back-nine bogeys dropped him off the pace.

    Two past champions, Matias Dominguez and Paul Chaplet, sit 5 over and 7 over, respectively.

    The winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship earns an invite to this year’s Masters. He is also exempt into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open sectional qualifying, and Open Championship final qualifying.