Press Pass Golfs Greatest Nicknames

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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