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Nicknames of golfers, past & present

We all like a nickname, especially in sports. Here we take a look at some of the nicknames given to professional golfers over the years and do our best to provide some rationale on why they came about. 

Golfers' nicknames - past & present

The Golden Bear and the Black Knight continue to learn more about the game they love️⛳️ @jacknicklaus @garyplayer pic.twitter.com/E3LNMqL4BX — Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) September 25, 2020

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32 Best Golfer Nicknames

We look at out favourite nicknames and how some of golf's greatest players received their famous monikers

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Craig Stadler

A golfer's nickname can come in many forms. From the most straightforward, i.e., which way round they play the game, to the reverential and then to the amusing and pretty much scathing. Golf probably isn't the greatest of sports for nicknames, with a general lack of imagination, but there are plenty of crackers.

One player is referred to on Tour as 'Eleven-erife' as he always likes to go one better than his peers. Then there's 'Bomb Scare' who was known to empty rooms with his conversation.

We chart some of our favourites, which include pretty much all the greats who have ever teed it up.


This isn't the most imaginative of nicknames but it's certainly one of the most recognisable. Mickelson is naturally right-handed but learnt the game by mirroring his father's swing and he would go on to become just the third left-hander to win a Major, following Bob Charles and Mike Weir. He now has six of them and is only missing the US Open from the career Grand Slam.


Samuel Jackson Snead was a phenomenal ball striker and long hitter, hence the nickname. Gary Player would single him out as having the best swing of all time and his swing is still mirrored today. In 1949 he would win two of the three Majors and was tied second in the US Open, a Major that would elude him. Snead remains, along with Tiger Woods, as the most successful golfer on the PGA Tour with 82 victories.  


From Frank Urban Zoeller Jr we were given Fuzzy and a golfer who has always been known by just their nickname. Zoeller is on the tip of everyone's tongue when The Masters comes around as he remains the only modern-day player to win at Augusta on his debut in 1979 – he would only have one top 10 in 30 further visits – and he would follow that up with a US Open five years later.  


Supposedly Casper ate buffalo meat and organic vegetables to try and keep his weight down and, after moving to this diet, he would go on a big winning run. Casper, who would have 11 children, is generally regarded as one of the most underrated players of all time and one of the best putters. Come the end of his career he would sign off with three Majors and 51 PGA Tour victories, one shy of Byron Nelson.


It's often thought that Jimenez is called The Mechanic due to his love of fast cars and Ferraris which ties in with his penchant for the high life. The reality is slightly different as he explains here: "I did work in a garage before I played golf. People started to call me The Mechanic in 1999, probably because of the way I am on the course. I'm methodical, and that's why they call me The Mechanic."


Hogan picked up nicknames like he did Majors. He was known as The Hawk, Bantam Ben and The Wee Ice Mon. The last of these was picked up at Carnoustie in 1953, his only Open appearance, and is a reference to his nerveless display. Bantam Ben was given to him as, at 5ft 8in, he was short but aggressive, like a bantam. As for The Hawk this was based on his meticulous attention to detail in all areas of the game.


Carner was affectionately known as Big Mama due to her uncomplicated power. Bizarrely, for someone who won 49 times, she only turned professional at the age of 30 having captured five US Women's Amateur titles. Her greatest days came at the US Women's Open, which she won by seven in 1971 before a second victory in 1976. From the mid '70s to the mid '80s she was pretty much an ever-present in the top five of the Majors.


Despite seemingly fitting his demeanour in his later career, Crenshaw was actually given the moniker 'Gentle Ben' ironically due to his temper, which was feisty in his younger days. The American will always be associated with Augusta and his two Green Jackets of 1984 and 1995, the second of which came just days after burying his long-time mentor Harvey Penick. Crenshaw was so incredible on the greens that even his putter had a nickname, Little Ben. These days he is a renowned course architect. 


The Tiger in Tiger Woods comes from his father Earl's friend, the South Vietnamese Colonel and lost comrade Vuong Dang Phong who had also been known as Tiger. "I instinctively knew that my son was going to have fame. Someday my old friend would see him on television, read about him in a newspaper or magazine, and say, 'That must be Woody's kid,' and we'd find each other again." YearS later he would discover his grave in North Vietnam.


There are a few versions of how the Golden Bear was christened with one often-repeated story being when sportswriter Don Ward used it in a piece for Golf Digest in 1961. Ward was struck by Nicklaus' stout physique and blond hair. Another is that Nicklaus chose it after visiting Columbus Zoo where he saw a bear that was painted gold for an exhibit. In his early days he was labelled 'Ohio Fats' due to his portly frame.


Palmer was first labelled 'The King' in the 1960s and it very quickly stuck. The man who would bring The Open back to life, win four Masters in alternate years and light up any back nine, wore the crown very easily. Palmer would sign every autograph, decorate any magazine cover and would end up with 95 professional wins. Palmer, the last playing Ryder Cup captain, died in 2016 at the age of 87.


Mildred Ella 'Babe' Didrikson Zaharias was quite remarkable. She won two golds and a silver in track and field at the 1932 Summer Olympics, excelled in basketball and baseball, and then turned her hand to golf and won 10 Majors. She claims to have been called 'Babe' after hitting five home runs in a childhood baseball game though her Norwegian mother had called her 'Bebe' from her early days.


This is one of the great nicknames and was coined by ESPN's Charlie Rymer in Howell's very early days on Tour due to his three Roman numeral IIIs. The Augusta native was thought to be the next big thing, with a swing and shoulder turn to die for, but it never really materialised. Chucky would have three PGA Tour wins to his name when he signed with LIV Golf in the middle of 2022.


One look at Els' effortless move through the ball and it's very easy (pun intended) to see where his moniker comes from. The 6ft 3in South African has four Majors to his name and, in another era, he might well have doubled that. Behind Greg Norman, he's maybe the next unluckiest golfer not to have won The Masters. Els has many business interests including his wine range, which includes the Big Easy offerings.


Supposedly Ernie Els sung Wie's praises in her early days and the 'Big Wiesy' was a play on words on the South African's nickname. For talent, and hype, the one-time Major winner was out on her own but things never quite played out. She would make the cut in eight Majors as an amateur and then finish inside the top three in her first three pro Majors before stepping away from the game in 2022.


It's unclear where 'Jesse' comes from given there's no likeness and, as far as we know, the Yorkshireman has no history of being a gun-toting outlaw. More likely is that it just fits nicely with his surname and he's carried it well over the past few decades. James would skipper the European team at Brookline in 1999 and led his side to a four-point lead before the Americans, and those shirts, turned the match on its head. 


If you've ever watched Lawrie around the greens then you'll quickly understand where 'Chippie' comes from. The Scot, an absolute wizard with his wedges, is obviously best known for his Open win at Carnoustie in 1999 but his work to develop the game is unstinting. In 2021 the St Andrews Brewing Company launched a new Chippie range of beers, brewed on his behalf, with proceeds going towards the development of the game in Scotland.


The moustache and Stadler's bulky frame lend themselves easily to the 'Walrus' moniker. Things moved on in recent years with the arrival of his son, Kevin Stadler, who quickly picked up the nickname of 'Smallrus'. They were the first father and son combo to play in The Masters, a place where Dad was victorious in 1982. Otherwise Stadler Sr is well known for his part in the movie Tin Cup where he appeared as himself.


Sutton has three ex-wives, hence this one. The 2004 Ryder Cup skipper had two distinct parts to his playing career; he'd won a Major, the 1983 PGA, two years after turning pro and he seemed the natural successor to Jack Nicklaus. There followed some bleaker times before he returned and landed a second Players crown when he saw off Tiger Woods in 2000. And with it one of the greatest sayings... 'Be the right club, today.'


Hoch had a two-foot putt to win The Masters in 1989 but then saw it slip by the hole on Augusta's 10th green. Minutes later Nick Faldo rolled in a putt across the 11th green and Hoch was left with one of the most unwanted nicknames in the game. He had already missed a four-footer at the 71st hole. “I’m glad I don’t carry a gun with me,” said Hoch after the play-off.


Late in the 1962 season Lema would turn his career around when he won three times. At the Orange County Open Invitational he told the media that he would serve them champagne if he won. And there was born one of the great nicknames. He would win The Open at St Andrews by five shots in 1964 but, at the age of 32 and just two years later, he would be killed in a plane crash.


Back in the day Couples' driving was sensationally good and very long, hence the nickname. In 1981, his first year on the PGA Tour, he would average a whopping 277 yards off the tee with his languid and rhythmic move through the ball. The American likely deserved more than his one Major and he certainly deserved a crack at the Ryder Cup captaincy having led the Presidents Cup side to three straight wins.


Trevino was actually born in Texas, into a family of Mexican ancestry. If you're looking for a few on-course funnies then the six-time Major winner would be top of most people's list – on one occasion Tony Jacklin would comment that he didn't want to engage in any chat. To which Trevino replied: "I don't want you to talk. I just want you to listen." Trevino remains one of the greatest swingers of all time. 


The stories of Daly's excesses have all been well told, with decades of drinking, betting and four ex-wives. Few have seemingly burst onto the scene in more dramatic fashion than when he gripped and ripped his way to a PGA victory in 1991 . Four years later he would add The Open. He regularly topped the driving distance stats yet still had a magical touch around the greens. What we would have given for at least one Ryder Cup appearance.


Supposedly Norman got his nickname in the early 80s from his fishing antics – "It takes a while to pull the fish up and when you do, the sharks have had them. You get frustrated. So I shot the sharks around my boat." Helped by his jet-blond hair and aggressive style of play the shark logo is emblazoned across many of the Aussie's business ventures. Indeed his website can be found at www.shark.com.


This seemed to be the done thing at the time. In 2008 Richard Finch fell in the water at the Irish Open, en route to his victory. At the previous year's Presidents Cup Austin went head first while attempting a recovery from beside the 14th green in Montreal. He and David Toms would lose the hole but three birdies coming home halved the match. In the singles against Angel Cabrera he would wear a pair of swimming goggles.


US tour pro Casey Wittenberg apparently christened Creamer the 'Pink Panther' due to her penchant for wearing the colour. The American barely misses a trick and most photos of her throughout the years will generally involve some element of pink. Her greatest day came at the 2010 US Women's Open when she won by four shots at the venerable Oakmont – needless to say she was in her favourite colour.


This isn't the most flattering of nicknames and it came from a high-school job at a golf course in Minnesota. Herron had gone out to pick up balls and, when he returned to the pro shop, he was met with ‘Lumpy, how are ya doin?' When he won on the PGA Tour in 1996 this story was unearthed and it has stuck since then. He would go on to win four times on Tour.


One look at Parry's forearms will tell you how he got his nickname. The Aussie was a regular winner around the world with his uncomplicated swing and he would occasionally threaten in the Majors. At the 1999 Open at Carnoustie had Parry parred the last two holes he would have joined the play-off. Bizarrely he double-bogeyed the 17th and then holed a bunker shot for a birdie on 18, in front of his playing partner Jean van de Velde. 


Roberts has pocketed over $15m in career earnings thanks in part to a red-hot putter. The Boss of the Moss was always destined for great things on the greens. Former Masters champ Cary Middlecoff said in the mid-1980s: "We've got a kid back home (in Tennessee) who is just a beautiful putter. He'll just break your heart on the greens, he's so pure. If he ever gets to believing in himself, he could really be something to watch." 


Pate was well known for his eruptions on the course. The American, who played on two winning Ryder Cup teams, once tackled, with his shoulder, a tee sign that offended him. Few things were safe when Pate saw the red mist though he was a regular threat throughout the 1990s. When someone asked David Duval if he ever lost his temper on the golf course, he quipped, “regular mad, or Steve Pate mad?” High praise indeed.


Journeyman Day has done what few other golfers have managed to do in that he received a slow-play penalty in a tournament. At the 1995 Honda Classic Day was penalised a shot and 54-hole leader Mark O’Meara complained about having to wait on every shot. The moniker 'All Day' was given to him by none other than Jack Nicklaus which is a nice thing to have on your CV.

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Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.

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17 of the Best Golfer Nicknames of All-Time

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What are the best nicknames of pro golfers in the history of the game? We've come up a list of 17 of our favorites. Some of them you'll instantly recognize, others might be new to you. But all of them are fun (for fans, at least). Nicknames are listed alphabetically.

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Woody Austin is Aquaman

Golfers typically get their nicknames early in their careers. It's unusual for a nickname to show up late in one's career and stick, or become well-known.

But Woody Austin was 43 years old when he got tagged as "Aquaman." Prior to the 2007 Presidents Cup , Austin was best-known as a journeyman PGA Tour pro with a terrible temper - he occasionally did things like slam a putter shaft over his head, bending the shaft in anger.

But in 2007 he had a terrific season and made the United States Presidents Cup team. On Day 2, Austin was paired with David Toms in a fourball match against Rory Sabbatini and Trevor Immelman. Austin drove into a water hazard on the 14th hole but decided to try to play the ball out of the water. He was standing on a steep bank, just inside the water, and when he swung his momentum took him backward. His balance lost, Austin face-planted right into the pond.

The next day, during his singles match, Austin put on a scuba mask as he walked up that 14th hole. "Aquaman" was born.

"Bam Bam" is Brittany Lincicome. And "Bamm Bamm" is the name of a Flintstones character famous for swinging his club with great strength. Coincidence? Doubtful!

Lincicome remembers being given the "Bam Bam" name by either Kristy McPherson or Angela Stanford in her rookie LPGA Tour season of 2005. Whichever of the two came up with it, the name stuck and Lincicome has been called that ever since.

Because Lincicome swings a very big stick, too, knocking drives well past almost every other LPGA golfer she's paired with. In every year on tour, she's been one of the longest drivers, or No. 1.

Lincicome's nickname is similar to Fred Couples ' "Boom Boom." And Boom Boom could just as easily have made our list. But we prefer Bam Bam: It's sharper, stronger-sounder to our ear. And it's just plain fun to say. Go ahead, say it out loud: Bam Bam ! See? It's fun!

The Big Easy

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Ernie Els gained his nickname - "The Big Easy" - early in his professional career (he turned pro in 1989, but gained worldwide fame after winning the 1994 U.S. Open ).

And "The Big Easy" is a perfect match of nickname and golfer. The 6-foot-3 Els came on the scene with a sturdy frame and with the ability to hit very long drives as a strapping young man. That's part one. Part two is that his power appeared effortless - that swing is so fluid, so ... easy. And part three is the easy-going, mellow personality that Els almost always has on display.

The Big Easy also gets extra credit because Els' nickname served as the inspiration for another great golf nickname. Michelle Wie is called "The Big Wiesy."

Boss of the Moss

 Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Loren Roberts learned his approach to putting from Olin Dutra, a 2-time major winner in the 1930s. And his putting prowess was touted early on by another old-timer, 3-time major winner Cary Middlecoff.

By 1985, his fellow PGA Tour pros had seen enough of Roberts' rules with the flatstick that a nickname seemed in order. David Ogrin was the PGA Tour player who provided it, dubbing Roberts "the Boss of the Moss" during that season ("moss" being a slang term for the putting green surface).

The name immediately stuck. Roberts went on to an 8-win PGA Tour career. He's still making putts today as a senior major winner on the Champions Tour.

Champagne Tony

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"Champagne Tony" is Tony Lema, the 1964 British Open champion. Two years earlier, Lema was just a 1-time winner on the PGA Tour playing the Orange County Open Invitational. The night before the final round, talking to the gathered press, Lema said that if he won the following day he'd have champagne delivered to the writers.

He did win, and he did deliver the champagne. From that point, he was never just Tony Lema, he was Champagne Tony Lema.

Unfortunately, Lema's story ended soon after his lone major championship win. In 1966 the small airplane flying him and his wife to an exhibition tournament in Illinois crashed ... onto a golf course. All on board were killed.

From 1962-66, Lema won 12 times on the PGA Tour, including the 1964 Open. He was dashing, handsome, had a cool nickname, and was one of the tour's biggest winners. It ended much too soon for "Champagne Tony" and for golf.

Chucky Three Sticks

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images 

The great thing about the nickname "Chucky Three Sticks" is how diametrically opposed it sounds compared the actual name of the golfer to whom it applies: Charles Howell III. "Charles Howell III" is about as formal-sounding as it gets in golf; "Chucky Three Sticks" is about as informal-sounding as it gets. (The three sticks in question are the three I's - Roman numeral "3" - at the end of Howell's name.)

Howell turned pro in 2000 and joined the PGA Tour that year. And that's the year that announcer Charlie Rymer, then with ESPN, coined the nickname.

"(Rymer) started it," Howell once told ESPN.com, "and it stuck. Hey, you could always be called something worse."

Howell might not be in love with his nickname, but it's a lot of fun for the rest of us.

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Patty Berg was small of stature, but a giant in the history of women's professional golf. She still holds the women's record for most major championships won with 15, the earliest in 1937, the last in 1958.

She was a "fiesty fireplug," as the USGA once put it. She was a powerpack of energy and drive and determination, all topped off with a mop of red hair. "Firecracker" might have been a good nickname for her had "Dynamite" not stuck. But Dynamite is entirely appropriate, given all the energy she always displayed.

Berg was one of the first women in golf to sign with an equipment company, and represented Wilson Sporting Goods almost her entire adult life. She gave an estimated 10,000 golf clinics in her life as a Wilson rep.

The Golden Bear

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Along with Arnold Palmer as "The King," Jack Nicklaus' "Golden Bear" moniker is the most famous in golf. (Many of Nicklaus' old golf friends call him "Bear" conversationally.) The nickname originated in the early 1960s and was coined by Australian sportswriter Don Lawrence. Lawrence wrote for the Melbourne Age newspaper.​

In reply to a question about what he thought of the young Nicklaus, Lawrence, according to Nicklaus.com, said that the blonde, crew-cutted and then-portly Nicklaus looked like a "cuddly, golden bear."

Did Lawrence know that Nicklaus' high school - Upper Arlington in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio - used "Golden Bears" as the name of its sports teams? And that its mascot was, yes, a cuddly, golden bear? It appears to have just been a coincidence.

But the Golden Bear nickname was born, and immediately caught on with golfers. Nicklaus enthusiastically embraced it, too - not surprising given that some golf fans (and some fellow pros) were calling him "Fat Jack" or "Ohio Fats" in those early days.

The Great White Shark

Manuela Davies/Getty Images

Greg Norman was already a winner on the European Tour when he showed up at Augusta National Golf Club in 1981 for his first Masters . And Norman set the United States golf media atwitter with his aggressive play - he finished fourth in that debut.

His look was noticed, too: that shock of blonde, almost white, hair, the distinctive face, and nose. Norman was a good talker, telling stories of encounters with great white sharks (it was only six years after the movie Jaws debuted) in the waters off his hometown in Australia.

And that did it: During Masters week 1981, the American media dubbed Norman "the Great White Shark." Norman ran with it. In later years he created companies with the name, trademarked it, created logos and brands around the nickname.

Today "Great White Shark" is usually shortened to "Shark" by Norman and those talking about him.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

On Friday, June 10, 1977, Al Geiberger became the first golfer in PGA Tour history - the first golfer on any significant professional golf tour - to shoot 59 during a sanctioned tournament. He did it in the second round of the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic (today known as the St. Jude Classic ).

Geiberger had 11 birdies and one eagle , including a birdie on his last hole of the day to get the 59.

And forever since, and always, Geiberger is known as "Mr. 59." Others have shot 59 since , and someday there will be a 58 on the PGA Tour. (And the golfer who does that first will become Mr. 58.) But there can only be one "Mr. 59," and that is the guy who did it first. That is Geiberger.

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Mr. X was Miller Barber , who showed up on the PGA Tour in the last year of the 1950s and went on to start a combined 1,297 tournaments between the PGA and Champions tours.

It was in the 1960s that Barber earned the Mr. X nickname. It was originally "The Mysterious Mr. X," a name bestowed upon Barber by fellow pro Jim Ferree.

Why Mr. X? Because, James Bond-like, Barber had a tendency to disappear at night as he pursued the single life.

"I never told anyone where I was going at night," Barber once explained to Golf Digest . "I was a bachelor and a mystery man with many girlfriends in many cities."

The Pink Panther

Michael Cohen/Getty Images 

Paula Creamer became a star very early in her LPGA Tour career, after turning pro at age 18 in 2005. She won Rookie of the Year that year, and her first major came at the 2010 U.S. Women's Open.

One thing fans immediately noticed about Creamer in her first months on tour was her fondness for the color pink. Creamer liked to wear a lot of pink. It might show up in her clothing, her shoes, her hair ribbons, on her golf bag. Sometimes even on her golf ball.

So calling her "The Pink Panther" makes a whole lot of sense. But, in fact, Creamer had that nickname before she ever turned pro. Casey Wittenberg, also a future tour pro, gave Creamer the "Pink Panther" nickname when they were both still amateurs.

Creamer now usually has a Pink Panther (as in the movie/comic strip/cartoon character) headcover in her golf bag, too, in addition to whatever pink she might be wearing.

In a 2006 interview, Creamer told Golf Digest why she's so fond of pink: "It's so girlie. It's a totally different side of me. When people think of me on the golf course, they think of me as so competitive -- and I am. Pink represents the other side of me, the side off the golf course. It reminds me there's more to life than just golf."

The Silver Scot

"The Silver Scot" is one of those golfer nicknames that is so ingrained in the sport's history it's almost impossible to imagine Tommy Armour ever being called anything else.

And why would he? He had silver hair, and he was a Scotsman! The nickname is also crisp and to the point, just like Armour himself.

This nickname first became famous during Armour's playing career - he was a 3-time major championship winner . He later became a highly sought-after golf instructor, and the Tommy Armour Golf company, for decades, manufactured "Silver Scot" irons - one of the most iconic iron issues in the history of golf equipment.

The Towering Inferno

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Tom Weiskopf was tall for a golfer in his era (he turned pro in the mid-60s): 6-foot-3. And he had a temper that he wasn't afraid to show on the golf course.

So when the disaster movie The Towering Inferno arrived in theaters in 1974, the perfect nickname for Weiskopf arrived, too. He was "The Towering Inferno."

That was just a year after Weiskopf won the 1973 British Open. He won 16 PGA Tour titles, and that one major. But many - Weiskopf included - thought he should have won more.

In a 2002 interview with Golf Digest , Weiskopf said, "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 British Open. I should have won twice that many, easy. I wasted my potential. I didn't utilize the talent God gave me."

OK, maybe the reason for the nickname isn't very sunny, but the nickname itself is great.

The Walking 1-Iron

Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Who was "The Walking 1-Iron"? Ken Brown. Brown, a Scotsman, played on the European Tour from the mid-1970s into the early 1990s. He won four times in Europe, plus once on the US PGA Tour.

What comes to mind when you think of a 1-iron (besides obsolescence)? One-irons were the longest irons and the thinnest blades. And that was Ken Brown: He was very, very thin in his early days (still is pretty thin today, in fact), and was considered tall (6-foot-1) for a golfer when he arrived on the scene.

One-irons are also notoriously difficult clubs and Brown had a reputation for being difficult. He was a very slow player and, sometimes, at least early in his career, refused to talk to pro-am partners - or even partners in team competitions.

Brown has no trouble talking today, though. He's a broadcaster and writer.

The Walrus & Smallrus

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Craig Stadler was nicknamed "The Walrus" for reasons obvious to anyone who remembers how he looked (or has seen photos of his look) in the 1970s and 1980s. His own website puts it this way: He earned the Walrus nickname "for his portly build and ample mustache."

Those bushy whiskers really made the look, as did the, um, er, somewhat "galumphy " way Stadler walked. We chose a photo from later in his career, however; from a time when he had ditched the bushy mustache for more of a trim goatee.

But for a good reason! That lookalike in the photo with him is son Kevin Stadler.  Look-alike,  they do: Same build, same (now) facial hair, same walk. It's like Kevin is Craig's Mini-Me.

So with Craig as the Walrus, what to call son Kevin? The Smallrus! Perfect. Father and son, Walrus and Smallrus.

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Golf’s Animal Kingdom of Player Nicknames

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For as long as there have been pro golfers, there have been nicknames. Tommy Armour, The Silver Scot , was one of the trailblazers of the trend. Since then, golf writers and fans have coined nicknames for all of their favorite players.

Golf Animal Nicknames

Headlines referred to Walter Hagen as Sir Walter because of his lavish lifestyle. Tony Lema got the moniker Champagne Tony for his similarly refined tastes. U.S. Army vet Orville Moody became Sarge during his playing days. JoAnne Carner was popularly known as The Great Gundy before becoming Big Mama . Al Geiberger was Mr. 59 , and was later joined by Ms. 59 , Annika Sorenstam . And then there’s poor Ed Oliver, all 5’ 9”, 190 pounds of him—Ed wound up with the less-than-complimentary sobriquet, Porky. But he didn’t care. He laughed all the way to the bank. Many player nicknames have had their genesis in the animal kingdom. Ben Hogan was known as The Hawk for his steely eyes and predatory instincts towards his fellow competitors. Gardner Dickinson, who patterned himself after Hogan, was The Chicken Hawk. Stocky Harold Henning’s nickname was Horse. Leo Diegel was, of course, The Eagle. Diminutive Bob Toski was called Mighty Mouse. Don Massengale’s oversized front teeth earned him the nickname, Bugs Bunny. Doug Sanders’ colorful wardrobe made him the one and only Peacock. Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thompson was dubbed The Melbourne Tiger .

Golf Animal Nicknames

Today, everyone knows The Golden Bear. And there’s Greg Norman, The Great White Shark. With his white-blond hair and tenacious style of ripping courses to shreds, could the Aussie have been called anything else? Other fan favorites in golf’s zoological pantheon include: Angel El Pato (The Duck) Cabrera. Tim The Penguin Clark. Paula The Pink Panther Creamer.

Golf Animal Nicknames

Robert Gorillagus Garrigus. Retief The Goose Goosen. Jay Jaybird Haas. Morris Mo-Cat Hatalsky. Corey Bulldog Pavin. Eduardo El Gato (The Cat) Romero Craig The Walrus Stadler, and his son Kevin, The Smallrus. Tweety Bird —Howard Twitty. And then, of course, there’s Tiger.

pga tour player nickname

You might think that with The Great Strip è d One’s popularity, there’d be a host of copycat animal nicknames in the modern era. But there haven’t been. Maybe it’s because so many players wear hats now—and have personal trainers and wardrobe contracts. For absurdity’s sake, I pondered the question: what animal nicknames might some of today’s other players have? These may be a stretch, but for the sake of fun, here are a few possibilities. Bill Haas—bald as a baby but deadly with a driver. He can only be The Bald Eagle. K.J. Choi—his sinister demeanor belies his jovial nature. But he’s The Snake. Keegan Bradley—his intense stare earns him the nickname, The Falcon. Brandt Snedeker—happy-go-lucky Sneds with his mop of curly hair is The Golden Doodle. Bubba Watson—sharp-tongued Bubba, boy of the South. He’s The Cottonmouth. Tommy Fleetwood—with dark locks flowing, he’s always trying to sneak into championships. Tommy’s The Weasel. Brad Faxon—The ginger man from R.I. who’s a genius with the flat stick. How has he not been called The Red Fox? Phil Mickelson—whose sartorial tastes run to the dark side, but has a tail wag and a smile for everyone. Phil is golf’s Black Lab .

pga tour player nickname

Shane Lowry—hails from Ireland but plays the mountain man well. Shane’s animal name is Grizzly. Francesco Molinari—not a slow player, but his broad visage makes him The Sloth. Ian Poulter—the Englishman’s personality perfectly fits the nickname, Squirrelly. Jon Rahm—he’s the strong-as-a-bull Spaniard who certainly deserves to be called El Toro. Jordan Spieth—certain of Jordan’s swings have earned him the name, Chicken Wing. Jim Furyk—slow and steady Jim is the Terrapin of the PGA Tour. Paul Casey—goofy and fun-loving Paul… always up to Monkey Business. Abraham Ancer—His double-A initials make him Aardvark. Viktor Hovland—young Viktor prowls the Tour like a Meer Cat. And finally, there’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat—you can figure out his nickname without my help.

Have any other animal nickname ideas? Let us know your most creative ones in the comment section!

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What Is Patrick Cantlay’s Nickname? The PGA Tour Pro’s Chilly Football Inspired Callout

L oved by fans and not have a nickname? At least that’s not how it goes down in the golf world.  From the animal kingdom to McDonald’s , golf fans can easily come up with one for their favorites, like ‘Golden Bear’ for Jack Nicklaus , ‘Lefty’ for Phil Mickelson , or ‘Wee-Mac’ for Rory McIlroy . Every golfer has one nickname, which is used by all to cheer them on.

Well, it seems that Patrick Cantlay has been adorned with the same liberty more than once. From having the most common nickname to being associated with a TV character, the eight-time PGA Tour winner earned a new moniker. So what’s Cantlay called on the greens and more importantly, does he like the nickname?

Patrick Cantlay likes his nickname

It is not news that Patrick Cantlay is usually calm on the golf course. Whether he made a winning putt or lost in the playoffs, one may never see him react to any of the results. Now, couple that with a Cantlay who likes to joke around with his friends and exactly portrays Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. Well, that was one of his nicknames.

But now the eight-time PGA Tour winner is known by a different moniker on the greens and that goes to show his silent nature. Cantlay earned this nickname after he came back on the PGA Tour from a debilitating back injury and won the FedExCup in 2021. When he knocked off the “S cientist,” aka Bryson DeChambeau  in a sixth playoff, the crowd started chanting, ‘ Patty Ice!’

At the Genesis Invitational as well, the field leader is hearing the same moniker being thrown around. Does Cantlay like his nickname, though? First, the Long Beach native has clarified that it is “not Matty Ice but Patty Ice.” Matty Ice was coined for quarterback Matt Ryan. Cantlay’s nickname is a wordplay on that. Secondly, Cantlay likes the nickname; he said at the post-match presser at Riviera , “I like it. I’m pretty low-key and mellow out there, that’s just who I am, how I am. It’s great.”

When his nickname grew in popularity during the 2021 season, the 31-year-old was given the Atlanta Falcons’ No. 2 jersey with Patty Ice engraved to match it with their former quarterback, Ryan. While being a ‘Sheldon’ or ‘Patty Ice’ is not so bad, there was one nickname that Cantlay shared that did not really sit well with the golfer.

The boring nickname of Patrick Cantlay

The golf world boasts iconic monikers that have become synonymous with golfers, such as ‘Tiger’, a name given to the 82-time PGA Tour winner by his father, that ended up perfectly sitting with the illustrious career, or Aussie Greg Norman, also known as ‘The Shark’, who became a household name in the world of golf because of his bold and groundbreaking efforts towards uplifting the sport on and off the course. But initially, when it came to naming Cantlay, it ended up being a rather mundane affair.

Read More: “Everyone Loves Me”: Patrick Cantlay’s Gutsy Attitude During the ‘Hatless’ Turmoil Gets Revealed by His Ryder Cup Teammate

In an interview given to the PGA Tour, the eight-time PGA Tour winner stated that “the most outlandish nickname” he has ever received is “PC.” Certainly, it was given to him after his name, was short for the same, and did not ring bells. That’s why Cantlay was grateful that people had forgotten about his former moniker and finally adopted something more suitable to his on-course character. Which one do you think suits Cantlay more, Sheldon , or Patty Ice? Tell us in the comments!

Watch This Story | LIV Golf News: 3 Major Takeaways as $3B PGA Tour-PIF Merger Deadline Gets Extended, Per Reports

The post What Is Patrick Cantlay’s Nickname? The PGA Tour Pro’s Chilly Football Inspired Callout appeared first on EssentiallySports .

What Is Patrick Cantlay’s Nickname? The PGA Tour Pro’s Chilly Football Inspired Callout

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Why should players own the PGA Tour? This guy knows better than most

Paul Rabil founded Premier League Lacrosse, establishing player equity long before the concept arrived for Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.

Emma Devine

Tiger Woods was resolute.

Two weeks ago, when he grabbed the mic during a conference call with his fellow PGA Tour members, he wanted to make one point clear: “It’s never happened in sports history. So we’re the first.” 

Woods was referencing the forthcoming player equity system that will (theoretically) line the pockets of basically everyone on the call. None of those players, though, were in a fact-checking mood, and why would they be? Woods is the greatest golfer who ever lived, and he was addressing the membership after a string of well-funded U.S. sports investors promised an immediate buy-in of $1.5 billion. The athlete-equity concept sounded novel. But truth is, it’s not. 

More than five years ago, another stick-and-ball game — lacrosse — became the first U.S. sport to debut a player-equity system, and as with golf, the economic shakeup arrived as a result of pro lacrosse’s own civil war. Paul Rabil was the man behind it.  

As one of the best lacrosse players ever, Rabil had grown frustrated with the benefits, or lack thereof, he and other elite lax pros had received at the peak of their trade. His rookie salary in 2008, when he was the first overall pick in the Major League Lacrosse draft, was just $6,000. In the decade that followed, he won two league titles, was twice named MVP and built a social-media following no one else in the sport could match. A full decade of unparalleled success boosted his annual salary to, by his accounting, a whopping $16,000. The sport was rarely on network television, and its athletes were forced to work second jobs. But not because it was a bad product. Major League Lacrosse, Rabil believed, was untapped and, importantly, holding itself back. 

“We just reached a point where they were continuing to operate under this aspirational mindset that as lacrosse grew globally so would the pro league,” Rabil told me the other day. “And the truth is, there’s no history of any sport growing organically at the pro level. You need executives, you need investment and, in a lot of cases, steep competition for players. Take a look at MLS’ history, and even the history of the NFL and the AFL. 

“So we reached a tipping point — or, I should say, I reached a tipping point — where I didn’t think the existing model would cut it for the posterity of the game. So we decided to launch a new league in direct competition with the one that had been around for 15 years.”

Sound familiar? 

What Rabil founded, in some ways, was akin to a more successful version of LIV Golf: a startup league that convinced a bunch of top pros to leave the incumbent and form something new. The “achilles heel” of the incumbent, he says, was the majority of MLL player contracts were one-year deals, because the league ran a “lean operation” and tried to remain solvent. The MLL was ripe for disruption — yes, much like pro golf, in which the dominant tour asks players to sign away their media rights on an annual basis to make the league of more than 200 independent contractors as marketable as can be.

The lacrosse ecosystem, which featured very little longterm job security, “enabled us to essentially sign 180 of the top players in the world overnight,” Rabil says. The initial number actually was 140, but it quickly grew. In conjunction with his brother, Mike, who works as league CEO, Rabil launched Premier League Lacrosse in the fall of 2018 and, with an initial investment group that included Joseph Tsai, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets, offered the top 50 players stock options upon their arrival. Within two years of launching, the league amassed so much momentum that, yes, it merged operations with Major League Lacrosse. (Sound familiar?!?!)

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“We were capitalized to the extent that, on average, we four-X’d everyone’s wage,” Rabil said. “We gave everyone health care for the first time. We built marketing addendums — ways [players] could make additional money outside of the playing field. [We made] coaching opportunities through our academy business. But the big piece there … was we offered them stock options.” 

Stock options and stock grants are different offerings, but the end result with both is league ownership for the players. A slice of the pie. This all wouldn’t be so interesting for golf fans if something wildly similar wasn’t playing out on the PGA Tour. 

Pro golfers are getting more of what they want than ever before. A restructured schedule that provides an offseason. (Or plenty of “offseason” events if they’d wish to keep playing.) Purse sizes like we’ve never seen before. Complimentary courtesy cars at every Tour stop. Enhanced recovery facilities — cold tubs, infrared saunas, cupping therapy, etc. Then, in a less tangible sense, there’s the player equity in PGA Tour Enterprises, the forthcoming for-profit company drawing interest from some of the wealthiest people in sports and one of the wealthiest sovereign wealth funds on the planet.

It’s no coincidence that among the initial investors in Premier League Lacrosse was The Raine Group, whose sports department is headed by Colin Neville. The same Colin Neville who played lacrosse at Yale, graduated with a degree in Political Science and eventually became a director at the Premier Golf League, which ultimately failed to launch but was the first brand to express interest in pros owning the tour/league/organization within which they play.

Ahem — sound familiar? 

Neville sits on the PLL board, and it’s quite plausible that he ends up on the 13-person board of PGA Tour Enterprises. Rabil calls Neville “one of the best sports bankers in the world,” and his recent work on the sales of Chelsea FC and Manchester United aligns with that assessment. Tiger Woods and the best players remaining on the PGA Tour demanded that Neville be their third-party representative during negotiations between the PGA Tour and its various, incoming investors. While Neville has declined to speak publicly on the work he’s done during his six months in that post, the work itself has become somewhat clear. 

In about one month, $930 million in equity grants will be dished out to a group of 193 players, who are split into four categories. The most important golfers to the PGA Tour — based on their career performance, their accomplishments, their overall value to the Tour’s popularity, and other metrics — will earn the most valuable equity. Others, who simply go about their trade and wouldn’t likely be recognized in an airport, will receive less. On top of that, $600 million will be earmarked for recurring grants doled out for similar reasons, over the course of the next six years beginning in 2025. Win a tournament on the PGA Tour of the future and you’re bound to receive equity grants.  

Rabil’s league paves a somewhat similar path, offering stock options to each PLL player for every PLL game they play in. Rabil himself is the perfect proxy through which league equity can be understood. As a former player, he admits this is simply “the right thing to do.” As a self-made executive running the league, he sees incredible value in getting all constituencies “rowing in the same direction.”

“There’s a lot of debate that we have and a lot of dialog, between players, player associations, GMs, owners,” Rabil said. “There’s a psychology in the workplace that it is, you know, the boss versus the workforce. What we created is an environment where it is not only advantageous for a player to be promoting through their social platforms — ‘Tune in to ESPN’ and ‘Ticket sales opportunities through Ticketmaster’ — it’s actually driving value to their shares. So it’s a value to the league because the players now have interest in its growth.”

Anyone who has worked at a startup understands why equity is important. As time passes, if the company grows in value, your equity grows in value. This is the story Tour pros will hear ad nauseum over the course of the coming months and years. To get the message out, the Tour is making informational videos with consulting company Korn Ferry, which has conducted an independent review of the equity system. The first video arrived in player inboxes this week, and five more are on the way. Pros will have weekly opportunities to ask questions of program advisors. Commissioner Monahan is expected to be at most, if not every, event between now and his state-of-the-union press conference at the Players Championship next month. Shortly after that week, each Tour member will officially know if they’re in the money (and just how much they’re in for). 

Until then, one of the hardest questions to answer is the one that seems to be on everyone’s mind: So, what? Or, more eloquently, what is the equity actually worth? If Rory McIlroy’s grant is worth $100 million at the time it’s issued, how does he access that value? That answer has not been detailed in a meaningful way to the membership. The equity will vest over time, so long as pros play enough tournaments or provide enough services/appearances to match their equity level. The length of the vesting process also remains unclear.

Rabil’s league has a significant head start, but continues to move through the typical development of a startup. (The PLL just had its Series D funding round 18 months ago. NBA great Kevin Durant, WWE and the Chernin Group all bought in.) And when Rabil takes off his executive hat, and doffs his player cap, he views this level of ownership as a multi-phase process. Phase 1 was issuing stock. Phase 2 is further issuance to future high-performers. Phase 3, he says, could be a liquidity event.

The PGA Tour will have its own phases. The process is just beginning.

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Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine, currently working on a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews. You can read about those travels here and catch his latest thoughts on the Drop Zone Podcast:

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The Five: Signature storylines at The Genesis Invitational

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Adam Scott was asked Tuesday what it was like to return to The Riviera Country Club. The interviewer could hardly get the question out before Scott jumped in.

“Well, it's always a highlight of my year playing here,” he said.

Scott’s sentiment is widely shared. The annual return to Riviera is one of the highlights of the PGA TOUR season for players and fans alike. History runs deep here.

“As nearly perfect as a man could make it,” Alister MacKenzie once quipped of Riviera.

The George C. Thomas Jr. design will again play host to one of the best tournaments on the PGA TOUR schedule – The Genesis Invitational.

The Five this week explores the top storylines to follow this week in the third Signature Event of the season.

1. Rory McIlroy’s bounce back

Rory McIlroy began the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am the same way he started the year: on fire.

McIlroy was 6-under through 14 holes of his opening round at Spyglass Hill Golf Course, matching his excellent form from the DP World Tour in early January. He was runner-up at the Dubai Invitational before winning the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. And his success seemed to be continuing on the Monterey Peninsula.

Rory McIlroy walks-in a putt for birdie at AT&T Pebble Beach

Then disaster struck.

McIlroy played the final four holes of his first round in 5-over, including a two-shot penalty for an improper drop. McIlroy’s funk continued into the second round. When he made a double bogey on the par-4 fourth at Pebble Beach, McIlroy had played his last eight holes in 8-over. He went from tournament favorite to weekend afterthrough. His T66 finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was his first result outside the top 25 since the Wells Fargo Championship last May.

The performance was likely just an aberration, a few bad swings that spiraled. That makes his performance at The Genesis Invitational all the more intriguing. McIlroy hasn’t had to shake off a performance like that in nearly a year. Riviera will be a comfortable place for him to do it. McIlroy has five top-20s and three top-10s in seven appearances at Riviera. McIlroy's distance advantage will only be heightened with the course still wet from the record rainfall in Los Angeles. It’s shaping up to be a redemptive week for a 24-time PGA TOUR winner.

2. Is the longshot streak nearing its end?

Parity has permeated the early days of the 2024 season. Surprises have defined the season, from Grayson Murray’s emotional comeback at the Sony Open to Nick Dunlap’s historic win at The American Express, where he became the first amateur in more than 30 years to win on TOUR. Throw in the quick success of FedExCup leader Matthieu Pavon, who’s playing his first TOUR season, and it’s been a year for fans to be introduced to some new names. This year's six winners all entered the tournament with odds of 100/1 or longer to win.

The Genesis Invitational could thwart that streak. At least, that’s what the statistics indicate. A glance through the tournament’s past results reveals Riviera brings out the best in the best. The top-10 Strokes Gained performers over the last five years of the event are a who’s who of ball-striking savants. In that stretch, three players have gained more than two shots on the field per round on average: Cameron Young, Max Homa and Viktor Hovland.

For reference, Scottie Scheffler and McIlroy were the only players who gained more than two strokes per round on the PGA TOUR last year. Here’s a look at the 10 players who have reached such lofty heights at Riviera over the past five seasons.

Riviera is lauded as one of the great marvels of the golfing world. Nearly all golf’s most recognizable names have won at the venue: Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo (Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus are famously absent, however). Will one of golf’s great modern players join that list? It’s very possible. Tiger’s speed

3. Tiger’s speed

A Woods return is always accompanied by a firehose of speculation from the golf world, none more than this week at The Genesis Invitational. There are questions about his new clothing line, his new caddie and the ever-present concerns about how Woods is walking.

None of that has much to do with how he’s actually playing. The key to understanding that will lie first in his speed numbers. That was among the most tangible highlights of Woods’ week at the Hero World Challenge last December, his first start since the Masters eight months earlier. Woods averaged 305 yards off the tee and was regularly putting it past his playing partners.

Tiger Woods' swing through the years at The Genesis Invitational

“I drove it on pretty much a string all week, " Woods said. “Granted, these fairways are big. I felt like I had my ball speed up, which was nice, and I was hitting the middle of the face the entire week, which is nice. So it's not like I have to go and try and find something the next few weeks or something going into next year; what I've been working on is right there and maybe just tighten up a little bit.”

What could another two months of training and practice do for Woods’ game? That remains to be seen. But the test at Albany was much friendlier than he will face at Riviera. It was hot and humid with wide fairways and firm turf when Woods made his December return in The Bahamas. Expect Riviera to play wet and long off the tee with narrower fairways. Temperatures could be in the high 40s or low 50s when Woods tees on Thursday at 9:25 a.m. local time. That’s when the rubber hits the road, and we see just how good Woods feels physically and with his swing.

4. Clinging to the Aon Next 10

In the lead-up to the two most recent Signature Events – the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and The Genesis Invitational – the Aon Swing 5 was the primary pathway for those on the outside to qualify for the field.

That will change after this week when the Aon Next 10 resets to focus on this season’s FedExCup standings. For the first two Signature Events, the Aon Next 10 was filled by Nos. 51-60 in the final standings from last year’s FedExCup Fall. Following this week, the top 10 players in this season’s FedExCup, not otherwise exempt, will earn spots in Signature Events. The current projections have plenty of new faces.

Åberg is the only golfer projected to stay within the Aon Next 10, while the other nine players are on the outside looking in. Can any of the nine charge to get back into the projected standings? Or could The Genesis Invitational be their last Signature Event for the foreseeable future? The players will have several more weeks to play their way into the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, the next Signature Event on the schedule. The Aon Next 10 standings won’t finalize until after the Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches. But with increased FedExCup points available at Riviera this week, and many of their Aon Next 10 competitors not in the field this week, it’s a prime opportunity to improve positioning now.

Hossler is currently No. 11 in the projected Aon Next 10 standings, less than 15 points behind Yu, while every other member of the current Aon Next 10 has at least a dozen players to pass in order to remain in the top 10.

5. How will Riviera hold up?

The record-setting storm system that caused the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to be reduced to 54 holes will once again play a factor this week. More than 12 inches of rain dumped on Riviera during the storm. A little over a week later, the storm’s effect still lingers on the course.

Early reports from players on-site indicate the greens have remained firm while the fairways are still significantly wet. That combination will put an even greater emphasis on driving distance, with balls stopping quickly in the fairway and leaving longer approach shots into firmer greens.

No rain is forecasted on Thursday or Friday, but chances will slowly increase this weekend as a trough of low pressure over the Pacific Ocean approaches California. A few showers may become possible on Saturday afternoon. Scattered showers are anticipated overnight Saturday through daybreak Sunday. Showers will decrease in coverage for Sunday morning before increasing to scattered coverage for Sunday afternoon.

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2024 Genesis Invitational: Tiger Woods using new caddie in first PGA Tour start since 2023 Masters

With woods' old caddie now alongside another player, the 48-year-old has called upon the services of a veteran.


Tiger Woods has a new man on his golf bag this week at the 2024 Genesis Invitational. Lance Bennett will carry Woods' clubs and offer advice this week at Riviera Country Club as his primary client, Adrian Dumont de Chassart, is not part of the field this weke.

Bennett is the former bag man for the likes of Sungjae Im and Matt Kuchar, and he could be on Tiger's bag for the Players Championship and Masters later this year,  Golfweek  reports. Of course, Tiger could move on and use the services of someone else.

"Lance, I've had a great relationship with him over the years going back to when he caddied for Kuch, and when we played at the Presidents Cup together back at Muirfield Village, and all the years that we have been on Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups together, and the times that I have been able to play with him in the same groups," Woods said Wednesday.

"[Lance is] very down to earth, very loyal. How he has conversated with his players through the years, I have also taken notice of that," Tiger continued. "We've had the same types of feels in how we look at the golf course and how we read putts. They are very similar, so I think we're going to be a great team, and we look forward to the challenge."

Woods utilized his longtime business associate and vice president of TGR Ventures, Rob McNamara, at the 2023 Hero World Challenge in December. The arrangement was always going to be temporary, though McNamara could serve in an emergency caddie role if ever needed. Tiger did not completely rule out the thought of using his 15-year-old son, Charlie, when asked about the possibility in The Bahamas.

The 15-time major champion has rarely needed to play musical chairs when it comes to caddies throughout his career. After relationships with Mike "Fluff" Cowen and Steve Williams, Woods joined forces with Joe LaCava in 2012. The two enjoyed a fruitful partnership highlighted by Woods' victory at the 2019 Masters.

However, with Woods no longer a regular competitor on the PGA Tour and LaCava still holding some gas in his tank, the two decided to part ways this past May. LaCava now serves as Patrick Cantlay's caddie, which you may remember from the 2023 Ryder Cup.

Tiger tees it up this week at the 2024 Genesis Invitational for his first official start on the PGA Tour since the 2023 Masters. Still with LaCava at the time, Woods was forced to withdraw from the cold and rainy conditions of Augusta National due to an ankle injury.

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Genesis Invitational

Riviera Country Club

The top 100 players on the PGA Tour, ranked

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How did the PGA Tour's best players spend their "winter breaks?" Relaxing? Working on their games? A little of both? These are the questions we'll be asking beginning at this week's Sentry Tournament of Champions, as the tour resumes the 2021-22 season in Maui. Ahead of that, our Golf Digest staff spent its winter break coming up with our second annual ranking of the top 100 players on tour. To gather our list, we looked through the prism of what we expect from players in 2022 while acknowledging their form and feats from the recent past. Below is our collective answer.

For clarification, this list is specific to those who play on the PGA Tour. This is why you won’t see players like Victor Perez or Min Woo Lee, both fine talents who spend most of their time on the the European Tour. Obviously a handful of players compete on multiple circuits; we judged these jump balls as best we could.

Here then are the top 100 players on the PGA Tour, from No. 100 to the top spot.

100. Andrew Landry

Age: 34 / owgr (as of jan. 3, 2022): 187 / ’22 fedex cup (entering sentry toc): 40.

Landry came out on the business end of the 2020-21 “super season,” missing the cut in half of his starts and turning in a lone top-25 finish. Four MCs in six fall starts doesn’t look much better. But top-10s in those two made cuts this past autumn (T-4 at Sanderson Farms, T-7 at Mayakoba) give hope that a turnaround is ‘round the corner. — Joel Beall

99. Taylor Pendrith

Age: 30 / owgr: 229 / ’22 fedex cup: 47.

Canadian rookie has one of the most impressive moves you’ll see anywhere—think Matthew Wolff meets Jim Furyk, with 190-mph ball speed. There’s a good chance he finishes top five in driving distance when the dust settles. —Dan Rapaport

98. Jason Day

Age: 34 / owgr: 126 / ’22 fedex cup: 196.

It seems like eons since the talented but injury-prone Aussie was one of the most dominant players in golf. Coming off his worst season since 2012, when he hadn’t yet fully rounded into the form that made him a force in 2015-16, Day appears at a crossroads at age 34. Just four top-10s dotted an unremarkable season that saw him fail to reach the second round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the first time. He has fallen out of the top 100 in the world, and most of his struggles appear to be with his usually reliable putting, where he dropped to 95th in strokes gained. His tee-to-green game (37th SG) still shines, so there is something to build on. Or rebuild on. —Dave Shedloski

MORE: How Jason Day is rediscovering his game with an assist from a 9-year-old

97. Denny McCarthy

Age: 28 / owgr: 180 / ’22 fedex cup: 30.

If one man could ever disprove the old adage, “You drive for show and you putt for dough,” it’s this guy. McCarthy has twice led the PGA Tour in strokes gained/putting, yet he’s still searching for his maiden victory. That being said, he’s made some decent dough with $4.3 million in earnings in four seasons, and he’s started this campaign by making more with four consecutive made cuts. —Alex Myers

96. Hudson Swafford

Age: 34 / owgr: 163 / ’22 fedex cup: 118.

It's extremely difficult to bring up Swafford without noting his eerie physical similarity to college teammate Harris English, and we'll be the latest to fail. To his credit, he takes it in stride, and plods steadily along in a career that reads as "journeyman" on the surface, but does include two tour wins, including his latest in September 2020 in the Dominican Republic. It's a fact of life that Swafford is going to miss cuts, but as he proved last season, he can miss a bunch (17) and still post a high FedEx Cup finishing position (36th). — Shane Ryan


Jared C. Tilton

95. Adam Schenk

Age: 29 / owgr: 156 / ’22 fedex cup: 37.

The man with the most unfortunate name in golf hit anything but a shank over the last eight months. Since the RBC Heritage, Schenk has finished T-18 or better five times, including three inside the top four. Should he keep it rolling into 2022, there are ample low-key, early-season events for the former Purdue Boilermaker to pick off a maiden win. —Christopher Powers

94. Adam Hadwin

Age: 34 / owgr: 150 / ’22 fedex cup: 126.

The streaky Canadian—he missed three straight cuts during three stretches in 2021—can put it all together at times. Hadwin had three top-eights last season but the short hitter rarely produces a charge on the weekend. He averaged 70.38 on both Saturday and Sunday—91st for both days on tour. —Tod Leonard

MORE: Complete top 25 of Golf Digest’s Newsmakers of 2021

93. Luke List

Age: 36 / owgr: 152 / ’22 fedex cup: 28.

List is the only player from the last decade to have led the tour in driving distance for the year and never won on tour. Most other to lead in distance, like Bubba, Bryson, DJ, and Rory, also have majors. List can hammer the ball, and his tee-to-green numbers will always be elite with that asset. But his putting has been historically poor—if you look at one of those Data Golf charts measuring five skills, the shape List delivers is more of the rare triangle than some form of pentagon. But hey, you just need one hot week with the putter and you can pull the Cameron Champ and pick off a win or two. —Brendan Porath


92. Henrik Norlander

Age: 34 / owgr: 162 / ’22 fedex cup: 49.

The Swede finished fourth at Sanderson Farms in the fall, spurred by a final-round 64. Though he turned pro in 2011 after helping lead Augusta State to back-to-back NCAA team titles, this is just Norlander’s fifth season on the PGA Tour, alternating between the Korn Ferry and Challenge Tours in between. His strength is his iron play: Norlander ranked 27th last season on tour in strokes gained/approach. — Stephen Hennessey

91. Robert Streb

Age: 34 / owgr: 120 / ’22 fedex cup: 45.

After winning the 2020 RSM Classic, Streb played 23 events the rest of the 2020-21 season and missed more cuts than he made (12 to 11) with just three top-20 finishes. The fall was better, though, with two top-10s, and having a card through 2023 means he doesn’t have to sweat things out this season. That has to be somewhat liberating after finishing outside the top 125 in 2018, 2019 and 2020. —Ryan Herrington

90. Troy Merritt

Age: 36 / owgr: 106 / ’22 fedex cup: 52.

When you hear discussions about how the tour is looking out for its rank-and-file members, Merritt is the player they’re talking about. He’s proven he can win (he’s done it twice), made more than $11 million and has played well enough to keep his card for nine straight seasons. Yet for as consistent a career as that is, he’s never gotten to the Tour Championship. Can 2022 be different? Perhaps … he finished the fall ranked 14th in SG/approach the green and 34th total, which rank as career bests if extended through an entire season. —R.H.

89. Aaron Rai

Age: 26 / owgr: 100 / ’22 fedex cup: 59.

Perhaps known best by American golf fans for his iron headcovers, Rai made a name for himself in the U.S. in 2021, nearly winning on the Korn Ferry Tour in his first start. It was a painful runner-up finish—needing just an up-and-down to secure victory he instead took four strokes, missing a playoff—but the KFT result in Boise secured his PGA Tour card for this season. The Englishman missed his first three cuts on the PGA Tour but finished the year with three consecutive top-20s. — S.H.


Steve Dykes

MORE: This pro’s reason for using iron headcovers will make you feel pretty bad about making fun of him

88. Brendan Steele

Age: 38 / owgr: 101 / ’22 fedex cup: 20.

The Sultan of the Safeway Open had a “down” 2021, if you consider it purely on FEC finish, which was 105th. But he still made almost $1.4 million, so he was making cuts and cashing checks, which he’s done all his career. Steele has the length to hang on the modern tour, and he’ll pick and choose his venues where he knows he can pop after several years on the circuit. —B.P.

87. Davis Riley

Age: 25 / owgr: 362 / ’22 fedex cup: 111.

Cruelly, the former Alabama star was third on the Korn Ferry points list in 2020, but didn’t get promoted when the season was extended due to the pandemic. Riley forged on with seven top-10s, including two wins, that got eventually got him onto the PGA Tour for 2021-22. The new season has been a rollercoaster—four missed cuts, countered by a T-7 in Bermuda. The flat stick in a hinderance: Riley is 131st in SG/putting. —T.L.

86. Chris Kirk

Age: 36 / owgr: 96 / ’22 fedex cup: 97.

Between 2011 and 2015, Kirk ripped off four wins and earned a spot on the 2015 U.S. Presidents Cup team. The six years that followed were tough both on and off the course for Kirk, who opened up about his battle with alcoholism in 2019. Since then he’s found his golf game again, winning a Korn Ferry Tour event in 2020 and collecting eight top-16 finishes on the PGA Tour in 2021. Perhaps 2022 is the year he ends what is now a six-plus-year victory drought. —C.P.

85. Lanto Griffin

Age: 33 / owgr: 111 / '22 fedex cup: 42.

We haven't fully checked the record books, but it seems likely that Griffin is the one-and-only PGA Tour winner to be named by his hippie parents after a spiritual master (in this case, "Lord Lanto, a Chohan of the Second Ray of Illumination"). It took him years to reach the PGA Tour, but a win at the 2019 Houston Open gave him serious traction, and after holding on to the top 100 last season, he's off to a big start with two top-10s in the fall. And fun fact: Thanks to those hippie parents, Griffin has never eaten red meat. —S.R.

MORE: Lanto Griffin—from broke to the PGA Tour in five months

84. Matt Kuchar

Age: 43 / owgr: 116 / ’22 fedex cup: 91.

One of the game’s top earners for more than a decade, Kuchar has cooled down with only one top-10 in each of the past two seasons. The nine-time tour winner was always able to get around a lack of distance, but that’s getting harder to do these days—especially with an eroding iron game. Kuchar ranked 108th and 98th in SG/approach the past two seasons, and is currently 184th. —A.M.


Alex Goodlett

MORE: Even Matt Kuchar is chasing speed with his swing

83. Bubba Watson

Age: 43 / owgr: 85 / ’22 fedex cup: nr.

Because he remains one of the longest hitters, and because he can create shots, and because he puts himself out there with genuine emotion, Watson still is a compelling and competitive presence on the PGA Tour. To return to legitimate threat, the lithe left-hander needs to shake off that middle-aged putting stroke, because being 149th in SG/putting (minus-.210) last season nullified an encouraging 36th position in SG/tee to green (plus-.751)—which explains his paltry 3.59 birdie average. And though he had just five top-10 finishes in 22 events, he only missed four cuts (plus one WD), and he qualified for the playoffs for the 15th time, one of just six players with perfect attendance in the FedEx Cup era. Watson and longtime caddie Ted Scott have split amicably, but maybe a new voice will get him to a 13th career win. —D.S.

MORE: In new book, Bubba opens up about the struggles he kept to himself

82. Adam Long

Age: 29 / owgr: 143 / ’22 fedex cup: 36.

Started this wrap-around season with four straight top-25 finishes to set himself up nicely in the FedEx Cup race. Don’t let the name fool you—he ranked only 88th in driving distance last season. —D.R.

81. Jhonattan Vegas

Age: 37 / owgr: 82 / ’22 fedex cup: 56.

Vegas enjoyed a career revival in 2020-21 thanks to three runner-up finishes, a performance he carried over into the fall (fifth in SG/off-the-tee, 17th in SG/tee-to-green). That this is a Presidents Cup year should provide extra incentive for Vegas. The International team has depth for the first time in, well, forever, yet most of those names are young and unproven. Vegas—who won his singles match at the 2017 Presidents Cup—will be 38 when the biennial match kicks off at Quail Hollow, and would give captain Trevor Immelman a steady, likeable veteran presence on the squad. —J.B.


Mike Ehrmann

80. Pat Perez

Age: 45 / owgr: 280 / ’22 fedex cup: 192.

Perez has historically used the fall to jumpstart his seasons, but this autumn was none too kind (five starts, three missed cuts, a WD and a T-44). Turning 46 in March, it’s fair to wonder how much gas Perez has left in the tank. Yet the man has been a model of consistency, missing the playoffs just once in its 15-year existence … and that once was due to an injury that sidelined him for seven months in 2016. The 2021 super season was another solid campaign for Perez, making the cut in 21 of 32 starts and finishing 53rd in strokes gained. He’ll need the West Coast Swing to right his wrongs, but it’s a safe bet to see Perez once again come playoff time. —J.B.

79. Emiliano Grillo

Age: 29 / owgr: 92 / ’22 fedex cup: 114.

Sometimes, the PGA Tour rookie of the year award is a harbinger of greatness. For Grillo, the 2016 winner, it hasn’t quite turned out that way, though he remains a terrific ball-striker who’s seen success in weaker-field events. —D.R.

78. Joel Dahmen

Age: 34 / owgr: 93 / ’22 fedex cup: 46.

A season with three top-10s doesn’t sound all that great, except that when one of them is your first PGA Tour win in your 12th year as a professional, it’s everything. So Dahmen, winner in the Dominican Republic, has that going for him, which is … well, you know … nice. One of the shorter drivers of the ball, Dahmen has to do other things well. Hitting fairways is one where he did fine (ranked 22nd). Getting to the greens and then operating on them, not so much, and on that last item, the 34-year-old Washington native gave up way too much ground at 164th SG/putting (minus-.344). —D.S.


Kevin C. Cox

MORE: How Joel Dahmen got his mind right before his first PGA Tour win

77. Lee Westwood

Age: 48 / owgr: 37 / ’22 fedex cup: nr.

Oh, what could have been in 2021 as Westwood played his way into the final pairing in back-to-back events (Bay Hill and the Players) before finishing runner-up in both. Sadly, reminiscent of his long list of close calls in majors throughout his career. Westy’s OWGR remains rather lofty based on those two finishes as well as winning the 2020 Race to Dubai title on the European Tour, but a T-21 as his best performance since March indicates he’s headed on a different trajectory now as he closes in on his 49th birthday in April. —A.M.

76. Cameron Young

Age: 24 / owgr: 135 / ’22 fedex cup: 26.

Search for Cameron Young on Wikipedia, and the first hit is a G-League NBA player; check the World Ranking, and Young is the fifth-most famous Cameron, after Smith, Tringale, Davis and Champ. And yet the Wake Forest grad is brimming with raw potential, and even more importantly, he's a winner: He earned his card on the strength of back-to-back wins on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, and though he ran hot-and-cold the rest of the season, he nearly won his second PGA Tour event at Sanderson Farms. The son of the head pro at Sleepy Hollow Country Club, Young is still untested, but he has a nose for trophies. —S.R.

MORE: 7 unsung heroes of the PGA Tour fall season

75. Sahith Theegala

Age: 24 / owgr: 382 / ’22 fedex cup: 85.

Theegala is not yet on the level of some of the other studs in his age group, but his appearance in this ranking is a prediction that he will be soon. He didn’t rewrite the Korn Ferry Tour history books in the 2020-21 season, but his consecutive top-six finishes in the final two KFT Finals events saw him earn his PGA Tour card for the 2021-22 season. There will be growing pains, no doubt, but we’re betting on the crazy-talented 24-year-old from Pepperdine to introduce himself to the casual golf fan in a big way in 2022. —C.P.


Sam Greenwood

74. Cameron Davis

Age: 26 / owgr: 78 / ’22 fedex cup: 151.

The Aussie has been trying to live up to the promise he showed in capturing the 2017 Australian Open, beating the likes of Jordan Spieth and Jason Day. Davis finally delivered on the Fourth of July by outlasting Troy Merritt in a five-hole playoff to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He also had a third in The American Express, but posted only one other top-10. Davis is a big hitter (19th in driving distance), but not strong with the irons (120th in GIR). —T.L.

73. Tom Hoge

Age: 32 / owgr: 110 / ’22 fedex cup: 27.

An established regular on tour, Hoge has moved beyond “No, what is it?” status. That’s the reply Tiger Woods gave in 2015 when he was asked if he would recognize Tom Hoge, who would be his playing partner the next day at the Wyndham (presumably Tiger thought the inquisitor was referring to a sandwich of some sort). Hoge will likely make some 30 starts and make around as many cuts as he misses, relying on hot stretches with his below-average putter that occasionally bump him into contention. —B.P.

72. Matt Wallace

Age: 31 / owgr: 80 / ’22 fedex cup: 48.

Wallace had five top-10 finishes across the PGA Tour and DP World Tour in 2021, including a T-4 at the Zozo Championship in the fall. He held a share of the 54-hole lead at the Valero Texas Open, falling short to Jordan Spieth despite Wallace putting on a ball-striking clinic, gaining 15.3 strokes to the field tee-to-green. — S.H.

71. Ian Poulter

Age: 45 / owgr: 57 / ’22 fedex cup: t-141.

The Brit turns 46 on Jan. 10 and with no Ryder Cup to aim for in 2022, the question is what kind of motivation does he have. To wit, he missed three cuts in four tour starts after Whistling Straits last fall. The most cuts he’s missed in any season on tour since 2005 is four. That said, he has posted 39 top-10s in 92 tour starts from 2017-21. —R.H.

70. Harold Varner III

Age: 31 / owgr: 95 / ’22 fedex cup: 64.

There might not be any player on tour who more of his peers are pulling for to get that first win than Varner, the North Carolina native is that well liked. But the journey to win No. 1 continues to have its rocky moments as Varner struggles to sustain momentum after posting solid first rounds. The good news? In 2021, he had a career-best 10 top-25s, along with his first top-three finish (T-2 at Harbour Town). And as a new dad to baby Liam, there’s some new incentive to succeed in 2022. —R.H.


MORE: The most absurdly funny screenshots from an absurdly funny year in golf

69. Charley Hoffman

Age: 45 / owgr: 76 / ’22 fedex cup: 92.

Entering his 17th year on tour, Hoffman has been a model of consistency—keeping his card every year since 2006. The San Diego native had five top-10s last season, including a runner-up at the Valero Texas Open (where he closed with rounds of 66-65-66) and a third-place finish at Colonial, adding to an impressive résumé in the Lone Star State: 14 career top-10 finishes and 30 top-25s. —S.H.

68. Alex Noren

Age: 39 / owgr: 71 / ’22 fedex cup: 126.

After getting hot in the playoffs and nearly making it to Atlanta, 2021 was a rebound season of sorts for Noren, who once ascended into the top 10 in the world and made a Ryder Cup team. Noren’s majors record is rather underwhelming after 30 career starts, and his tee-to-green deficiencies relative to the modern elite players will continue to make breakthroughs at many of those setups a challenge. — B.P.

67. Cameron Champ

Age: 26 / owgr: 83 / ’22 fedex cup: nr.

We don’t yet know what Champ’s season is going to look like because a wrist injury forced him to shut things down after just one start in October. He must be hugely disappointed, considering Champ—who was third on the tour in driving distance (317 yards)—won for the third straight year in July at the 3M Open. It’s the putter that holds Champ back from contending more; he was 188th in SG/putting in 2020-21. —T.L.

66. Keith Mitchell

Age: 29 / owgr: 89 / ’ 22 fedex cup: 31.

Mitchell owns one of the more impressive non-major wins in recent memory, defeating both Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler by one stroke at the 2019 Honda Classic. He hasn’t followed it with another trophy, but a trio of recent top-five finishes (Wells Fargo, 3M Open, CJ Cup) would lead one to believe that the former Georgia Bulldog isn’t likely to be just a one-win wonder. —C.P.

65. Keegan Bradley

Age: 35 / owgr: 86 / ’22 fedex cup: 84.

The peak of Bradley's career so far came in 2012, when he came into the Ryder Cup as a major champion and teamed with Phil Mickelson to electrify the Chicago crowds for the first two days. He's only 35, but the fall from those heights was definitive, and he's only managed a single win since. Still, he hasn't gone away, and on the strength of four top-10s last season, he put himself in position to make the Tour Championship and prove that even though that initial surge to stardom was part mirage, he's still a very good professional golfer. —S.R.


64. Garrick Higgo

Age: 22 / owgr: 61 / ’22 fedex cup: 160.

The talented South African has been piling up wins at an impressive rate, no matter what tour he plays on. After winning on the European Tour in back-to-back months, Higgo captured his first PGA Tour title at Congaree in June, just weeks after turning 22. He enters 2022 outside the top 50 in the OWGR, but it doesn’t appear like he’ll stay there for long. —A.M.

63. Branden Grace

Age: 33 / owgr: 70 / ’ 22 fedex cup: 105.

There is a reason that Grace’s best SG stat is around the greens: He doesn’t hit many of them, averaging just 64.47 percent last season (144th on tour). But when he does have a week like he did at the Puerto Rico Open, where he was T-3 in the field after finding 57 of 72 (79.2 percent), the South African veteran does OK. In fact, he won his second tour title there and first anywhere in five years. Hey, that was one more win than countryman Louis Oosthuizen, the hard-luck loser of 2021 majors. Grace posted three other top-seven finishes, including runner-up at the Wyndham. He tends to make the most of his opportunities. —D.S.

62. Kevin Streelman

Age: 43 / owgr: 77 / ’22 fedex cup: 128.

Not someone you’d stop to watch on the driving range, but he’s kept his tour card for 15 years and has made more than $23 million. Picked up his first major top-10 in 26 tries at the PGA Championship at Kiawah. —D.R.

MORE: Kevin Streelman was the other underdog at the 2021 PGA

61. Aaron Wise

Age: 25 / owgr: 64 / ’22 fedex cup: 22.

The rookie of the year in 2018 went sideways in his second and third years on tour but bounced back in a big way during 2020-21, racking up nine top-25 finishes on his way to reaching the second stage of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Wise carried that fine display to the fall with three top-15s in five starts thanks to a stout tee-to-green game. If he can tighten up his short game (no better than 132nd in SG/putting the past three seasons) the former NCAA champ could be on the precipice of a breakout campaign. —J.B.

60. Rickie Fowler

Age: 33 / owgr: 87 / ’22 fedex cup: 43.

The 2021 super season was a super nightmare for Fowler. He had just one top-10 against nine missed cuts in 24 starts, failed to qualify for the Masters and U.S. Open, and he did not make the postseason for the first time in his career. But Fowler did contend in the fall at the CJ Cup in Vegas, ultimately coming in T-3 (his first top-three finish since the 2019 Honda Classic) to show the obituaries are premature. To keep the momentum going into 2022, Fowler will need to shore up his short game. Historically one of the better putters on tour (even ranking first in SG/putting in 2017), Fowler fell to 126th in the category last season. —J.B.


Gregory Shamus

59. Brian Harman

Age: 26 / owgr: 59 / ’22 fedex cup: 189.

Somewhat limited due to his lack of length but Harman makes a boatload of cuts. Manages his game extremely well and ranked inside the top 30 in both SG/putting and around the green in 2020-21. —D.R.

58. Ryan Palmer

Age: 45 / owgr: 47 / ’ 22 fedex cup: 108.

In the long history of great Texas golfers, Palmer wouldn’t garner much attention, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been a very good player for a very long time. The four-time tour winner is sinewy strong, averaging 304.6 yards off the tee last season (38th) while ranking 49th in SG/off the tee. That will keep you relevant. He remains a decent putter (89th SG), also helpful. The only category where he lost strokes was around the greens. —D.S.

57. K.H. Lee

Age: 30 / owgr: 63 / ’22 fedex cup: 66.

We’ll be rooting for the former “husky boy” to achieve his stated goal of becoming the “sexiest golfer in the world” in 2022, unless he already claimed that title in your view. In 2021, Lee captured his first tour win, triggering another run of firsts in the coming year, where he’ll start inside the top 100 for the first time in his career, play his rookie Masters and, potentially, earn a Presidents Cup bid. The next step is making his first cut at a major championship, where his record is markedly inexperienced and thin (four starts, four missed cuts). —B.P.

56. Seamus Power

Age: 34 / owgr: 73 / ’22 fedex cup: 25.

It sounds unbelievable, but prior to Power’s win at the Barbasol in July, only four players from the Republic of Ireland had won a PGA Tour event. That was the cherry on top of an incredible summer for Power, whose World Ranking skyrocketed from the 400s to top 70 on the strength of that win and six other top-20 finishes. At the RSM Classic, the final event of the fall, he posted a T-4, giving warning that his meteoric rise in the summer was a beginning, not an end. —S.R.

55. Cameron Tringale

Age: 34 / owgr: 51 / ’22 fedex cup: 13.

Even if you’re a casual golf-watcher, chances are you’ve seen Tringale’s name at the top of the leader board upwards of a million times over the last handful of seasons (he has 15 top-25s since November 2020). That has yet to translate into a win on the PGA Tour, but chances are if he continues to put himself in position to win he’ll get there sooner or later. —C.P.

MORE: You won’t believe how many tour pros have made $10M without winning

54. Stewart Cink

Age: 48 / owgr: 52 / ’22 fedex cup: 199.

Yes, Phil Mickelson rightfully grabbed the headlines by being the oldest major winner, but Cink notching two wins in a seven-month span, at 48, was arguably just as impressive. Remember, he won the Safeway Open by going 65-65 on the weekend and opened his title week in the Heritage with back-to-back 63s. For anybody, that’s playing your behind off. The iron play was fabulous, ranking Cink at 34th in SG/approach. He’s going to have to drive it better to be factor this year; in four events, he’s 104th in distance and 176th in accuracy. —T.L.


Patrick Smith

53 . Harry Higgs

Age: 30 / owgr: 138 / ’22 fedex cup: 69.

A social-media darling, and for good reason, as Higgs brings character, humor and flavor to a tour with one too many mayo sandwiches. At 30, his career progression has been steady and stable, what we used to see as the norm in a prior era. He’s worked his way up with success, and wins, at each level, and 2021 came with a top-five finish in his first (and still only) major championship. —B.P.

52. Phil Mickelson

Age: 51 / owgr: 33 / ’22 fedex cup: 174.

What a glorious year for Lefty, who become the oldest major champion in golf history by outdueling major slayer Brooks Koepka at Kiawah Island. He also added four victories in six starts on the PGA Tour Champions in his first season, becoming just the second player to accomplish the feat, joining Jack Nicklaus. The question is whether the senior success and that major magic will translate into more consistency in regular PGA Tour starts, where he had just one other top-20 showing outside the PGA win in the 2020-21 season. — S.H.

MORE: 101 things that happened to Phil Mickelson in 2021

51. Russell Henley

Age: 32 / owgr: 55 / ’ 22 fedex cup: 38.

You think of Henley as older than 32 given the fact he’s already playing his 10th season. He’s been a consistent performer during that time, finishing inside the top 100 in the FedEx Cup ranking every year. Yet he’s only qualified for the Tour Championship twice (2014 and 2017) and hasn’t won since April 2017. So is Henley’s biological clock ticking? Perhaps. He’s learned to live with the fact he isn’t the longest player out there, but that means he needs to figure out a way to shore up his short game if he hopes to have more than a solid career. —R.H.

50. Sergio Garcia

Age: 41 / owgr: 45 / ’22 fedex cup: 73.

What’s left for Sergio, who has his major and his stellar Ryder Cup record and turns 42 on Jan. 9? In 2018 and 2020, he was outside the top 125 on the FedEx Cup points list, only to bounce back with solid seasons in 2019 and 2021. Interestingly, the Spaniard hasn’t shot a round over par on the PGA Tour since the first round of The Northern Trust in August. Ended the fall with a T-7 finish in Mexico, which certainly provides a positive vibe heading into the new year. —R.H.

49. Shane Lowry

Age: 34 / owgr: 44 / ’22 fedex cup: 203.

The 2019 Open champion had six worldwide top-10s in 2021, plus a T-12 in defending his title at The Open. The Irishman had several career-best finishes last year: at the PGA Championship (T-4), the Memorial (T-6), The Players (eighth) and the Masters (T-21). — S.H.


Warren Little

48 . Justin Rose

Age: 41 / owgr: 42 / ’22 fedex cup: 103.

It’s been a disappointing past two-plus seasons for this former World No. 1. In 33 starts, Rose racked up just five top-10s with a T-3 at the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge being his best result. Still in tremendous physical shape (just check his Instagram feed), a final-round 65 at the RSM Classic in the last official round of 2021 to finish T-12 indicates he has more good golf left in him—even if it happens less frequently. —A.M.

47. Mito Pereira

Age: 26 / owgr: 98 / ’22 fedex cup: 21.

Still a mystery to most American fans, the Chilean could make a big splash in ’22 if his trajectory continues. The Texas Tech alum earned a battlefield promotion from the Korn Ferry Tour with three wins in 2021, including back-to-back victories in June. Since then, Pereira has three top-10s on the PGA Tour and finished just off the podium in the Olympics. The stellar iron player has already competed seven times for 2021-22 and has four top-30s and only one missed cut. —T.L.

46. Kevin Kisner

Age: 37 / owgr: 43 / ’22 fedex cup: 203.

“This ain’t no hobby” and “they give away a lot [of $$] for 20th,” two of Kisner’s famous quotes, seem to be opposing ideas, but they actually sum up his PGA Tour existence perfectly. Golf is not a hobby for Kisner (he’s among the 50 best in the world at it), but he knows his skills are limited to shorter, shot-maker’s golf courses. He pops at those spots, like Harbour Town, Sedgefield and Detroit Golf Club, then happily takes his T-23s in the events where distance matters greatly. He knows who he is and makes no apologies for it, making him a fan favorite. —C.P.

45. Maverick McNealy

Age: 26 / owgr: 68 / ’22 fedex cup: 12.

It's easy to fly under the radar when you're still looking for your first professional win, but McNealy was one of the more quietly impressive players on tour last year, rising from 166th in the World Ranking at the start of 2021 to 69th at the end. Second-place finishes at Pebble Beach and Napa are the highlights, and he became more consistent as the season went along, making seven straight cuts to reach the BMW Championship. At 26, it's clear that McNealy is beginning to enter his prime. —S.R.

44. Tommy Fleetwood

Age: 30 / owgr: 40 / ’22 fedex cup: 95.

Now in his 30s, Fleetwood doesn’t quite fit the “Young Gunz” category anymore, but he still has a lot of golf in front of him. That being said—and not to sound too much like Paul Azinger—it has to be disheartening that this five-time European Tour winner has yet to break through in the U.S. More alarming is the only time he came close last year ended with a Sunday 77 at Bay Hill. Already with a T-7 in Vegas and still one of the game’s best ball-strikers, we expect to see his name on more leader boards in 2022—even if it’s not all the way on top. —A.M.

43. Erik van Rooyen

Age: 31 / owgr: 66 / ’ 22 fedex cup: 138.

The South African enjoyed a rookie season that included a victory and a spot in the Tour Championship, thanks to consecutive top-five finishes in the Playoffs, so it stands to reason that expectations will be much higher in the coming year. He certainly has room for improvement, with a stat sheet that shows his best category was SG/putting (64th). Van Rooyen missed the cut in all three majors in which he competed and fell short of the weekend in 11 of 27 starts, so more consistency should be a stated goal in 2022. —D.S.

​​ 42. Lucas Herbert

Age: 26 / owgr: 41 / ’22 fedex cup: 9.

Secured his card through the Korn Ferry finals and promptly earned some job security by winning his third starts as a PGA Tour member in October at the Bermuda Championship. The Aussie has a great chance to make this year’s Presidents Cup team. —D.R.

41. Sebastian Munoz

Age: 28 / owgr: 60 / ’22 fedex cup: 19.

Munoz doesn’t do anything that particularly jumps out. In that same breath, the man possesses view weaknesses. See ball, hit ball, keep ball in play. It’s an equation that’s paid dividends: Thanks to a T-4 at the Zozo and a third at the RSM, Munoz begins 2022 inside the FedEx Cup top 20. Should he stay in the discussion for a trip to East Lake, it may be enough to snag a spot on the Presidents Cup team. To solidify his spot on the International squad, as well as make the jump into the next echelon of tour players, Munoz needs to keep the bigger numbers at bay: He ranked 131st in bogey avoidance last season. Improving his putting from inside 10 feet (111th in the category last year) will go ways towards that goal. —J.B.


Tom Pennington

40. Adam Scott

Age: 41 / owgr: 46 / ’22 fedex cup: 62.

Scott has advanced to the Tour Championship just twice in the last seven seasons. Part of that stems from his penchant for playing a light schedule (he’s only played more than 20 events once in his career), yet his performance in those limited appearances, while good, has trended the wrong direction with age. Nevertheless, Scott did post a T-5 at the CJ Cup in the fall, and a golfer’s 40s are no longer the purgatory they once were on tour. With the Presidents Cup on tap this year, don’t be surprised if we see a revival from the former Masters champ. —J.B.

39. Si Woo Kim

Age: 26 / owgr: 53 / ’22 fedex cup: 44.

Hard to believe he’s still three-plus years from 30. Hasn’t quite delivered on the top-10 potential he flashed in winning the 2018 Players at 21, but he’s got three wins and is coming off his most consistent season yet. —D.R.

MORE: The 31 biggest rules issues of 2021

38. Mackenzie Hughes

Age: 31 / owgr: 39 / ’ 22 fedex cup: 11.

A strong fall campaign, highlighted by a T-4 at the Zozo and second at the RSM, augers well for the Canadian veteran. Hughes did just enough during the 2020-21 campaign to make it to the BMW Championship despite losing more than half a stroke to the field in SG/total. Four top-10s, including T-6 at The Open, and adding a T-15 finish at the U.S. Open sure helped. His relative lack of power always will make things challenging, but the last few years Hughes has gotten the putting-for-dough thing nailed down (including 15th in SG, ninth in total putting last season). —D.S.

37. Matt Fitzpatrick

Age: 27 / owgr: 24 / ’22 fedex cup: 154.

The Brit has made a steady climb up the OWGR despite not winning yet on the PGA Tour. Already a seven-time champ in Europe, however, he clearly has what it takes to close out golf tournaments—especially those played in difficult scoring conditions. “I’d love to tick that off,” Fitzpatrick told Today’s Golfer in October. “But I’m not a rookie anymore. I’m 27. In my own mind, I know I’ve got to start competing in the big events so my name is up at the top of the leader board more often.” We couldn’t agree more, Matt. —A.M.


Quality Sport Images

36. Paul Casey

Age: 44 / owgr: 27 / ’22 fedex cup: 152.

The veteran Brit must have discovered the fountain of youth, and we're not saying that just because of his boyish face. Firmly in his mid-40s, he made 18 of 20 cuts on tour last season, posted seven top-10s, made yet another Ryder Cup, and is the oldest man inside the world top 30. His consistency is a marvel, and so is his approach game—in 2020-21, only Morikawa was better on SG/approach. —S.R.

35. Webb Simpson

Age: 36 / owgr: 28 / ’22 fedex cup: 54.

In comparison to 2018, 2019 and 2020, when Simpson enjoyed a career resurgence after going five-plus years without a win, 2021 was a down season for the former U.S. Open champ. And yet, he still had five finishes of T-9 or better in 21 starts, three of them coming at three of his favorite tour courses—Harbour Town (RBC Heritage), Sedgefield (Wyndham) and Sea Island (RSM Classic). You can pencil him in for top-10s at those stops again in 2022, and we should expect much more from this prolific winner who still has plenty of good golf left in him. —C.P.

34. Matthew Wolff

Age: 22 / owgr: 30 / ’22 fedex cup: 7.

He’s so young, but this still seems like a critical season for Wolff. Will he better handle the pressure that came with his early success and then sidelined him for a mental-health break in ’21? The early returns are positive, with Wolff finishing second, T-5 and T-11 among his first four starts of the 2021-22 season. The putter has been a huge strength (12th thus far in SG), and he’s fourth in SG overall. That’s impressive for a guy who was fourth in driving distance last year (315.9), though he needs to keep it more on the short stuff; Wolff was 189th in accuracy. —T.L.

MORE: Matthew Wolff details depths of his mental health struggles

33. Corey Conners

Age: 29 / owgr: 38 / ’22 fedex cup: 87.

Your favorite flusher’s favorite flusher became the trendy description of Conners in 2021, a breakout year for him with multiple appearances on major championship leader boards and a trip to Atlanta for the Tour Championship. If we’re judging just based on tee to green, he could have been argued as a top-10 player in the world. What happens around and on the green makes it a bit more adventurous, but he’s too skilled in all-too-important areas of the game to not expect a bucket of more top 10s and a likely Presidents Cup spot representing Canada in 2022. —B.P.

32. Carlos Ortiz

Age: 30 / owgr: 54 / ’22 fedex cup: 16.

Ortiz edged a crowded leader board to earn his first PGA Tour title at the 2020 Houston Open, becoming the first winner from Mexico since 1978 (Victor Regalado). He contended for a third straight year at Mayakoba in his home country but finished four strokes behind winner Viktor Hovland. — S.H.


31. Tyrrell Hatton

Age: 30 / owgr: 22 / ’22 fedex cup: 125.

The Englishman would likely place higher on this list if European Tour results weighed heavier: He won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and finished runner-up at the Alfred Dunhill Links in 2021. But Hatton had just one individual top-10 on the PGA Tour last year, a runner-up at Congaree. — S.H.

30. Billy Horschel

Age: 35 / owgr: 23 / ’22 fedex cup: 167.

Has some ground to make up in the FedEx Cup standings after playing just one PGA Tour event in the fall (T-33 at Mayakoba) while moonlighting on the European Tour. Still, he’s finished outside the top 50 only one since 2012 so there’s not much reasons to sweat it. A victory in the BMW Championship at Wentworth in September after a win at the WGC-Dell Match Play in March suggests Horschel has the game to win big events. But that record in majors—one top-15 finish and just two top-20s in 31 starts as a pro—is something that he would like to remedy. —R.H.

29. Talor Gooch

Age: 30 / owgr: 32 / ’ 22 fedex cup: 1.

There was no hotter player on the tour this fall than the former Oklahoma State golfer. He carded five top-11 finishes in six starts including an “at last” breakout win at the RSM Classic to jump top the FedEx Cup ranking entering 2022. And this all happened despite ranking 149th in SG/off the tee (-.124). That’s been typical of Gooch in his four years on tour; he has never ranked better than 107th and always finished with a negative number. If he could shore up his driving, he has an iron game that will get him to the Tour Championship for the first time in his career. —R.H.


Cliff Hawkins

MORE: Talor Gooch finishes excellent fall with breakthrough win

28. Marc Leishman

Age: 38 / owgr: 36 / ’22 fedex cup: 18.

Leishman bats it around as well as anyone on tour, and while he may have been inconsistent week-to-week last year, the year-over-year results speak for themselves. He’s got five wins in the last five years and finished inside the top 30 of the OWGR in five of the last six. He’s a reliable, professional golfer with a couple top five finishes already in the fall portion of the season. —B.P.

27. Louis Oosthuizen

Age: 39 / owgr: 11 / ’22 fedex cup: 117.

The South African is coming off a tremendous campaign, but there’s the nagging feeling that he missed out on something truly special. Oosthuizen tied for second in the PGA Championship and then held the Sunday back-nine lead in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines before succumbing to Jon Rahm’s charge. He also had a T-3 in The Open. Oosthuizen is the consummate “putt for dough” player—ranking No. 1 in SG/putting in ’21 while being 101st off the tee. —T.L.

MORE: Louis Oothuizen is not wondering ‘what if’ about major misses

26. Max Homa

Age: 31 / owgr: 35 / ’22 fedex cup: 6.

Homa, once a Korn Ferry Tour grinder who struggled his first few seasons on the PGA Tour, has come into his own in his late 20s and early 30s. He’s now a certified winner, with three victories between 2019 and 2021, two of them in big-time events (Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow, Genesis at Riviera). No longer just the funny golfer on Twitter, Homa now lets his clubs do the talking, though he’s still pretty hilarious when he logs on to the bird app. —C.P.

25. Joaquin Niemann

Age: 23 / owgr: 31 / ’22 fedex cup: 55.

Plainly put, it's time for Niemann to win again. In the last calendar year, he's had six top-10s on tour, another in the Olympics, and came agonizingly close to winning his second career title at both the Sentry TOC and the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He lost in a playoff each time, but his World Ranking steadily improved throughout the year. Before a rocky finish to the fall, he had missed exactly one cut in 13 months, and even though he's still very, very young, he's ready to move from the upper echelons of the tour to the upper, upper echelons. —S.R.

24. Kevin Na

Age: 38 / owgr: 29 / ’22 fedex cup: 199.

Incredibly, this guy already has two decades of being a pro in the books. More amazing, though, is the fact he’s coming off the best season of his career. After winning just once in his first decade on tour, Na enters this year on a four-season winning streak. And after entering his name into the Ryder Cup conversation, perhaps he’ll finally get to wear the red, white and blue at this year’s Presidents Cup. —A.M.


23. Patrick Reed

Age: 31 / owgr: 25 / ’22 fedex cup: 29.

After winning his ninth tour title in January at the Farmers Insurance Open and occupying the top 10 in the World Ranking for the first half of 2021, Reed was hardly a factor the rest of the season. The falloff, and an untimely illness that landed him in the hospital, cost the so-called “Captain America” a spot on the record-setting U.S. Ryder Cup team. The guy’s short game and putting (seventh in SG/around the green, fourth in SG/putting) still prove to be lethal, but it’s right to wonder how long the former Masters winner can stay among the top Americans while his greens in regulation figures continue to deteriorate. —D.S.

MORE: Patrick Reed confronts his image and his critics

​​ 22. Will Zalatoris

Age: 25 / owgr: 34 / ’22 fedex cup: 67.

Fell one shot short of becoming the first since 1979 to win his first Masters appearance and holds the rare distinction of winning rookie of the year despite not being a full member of the PGA Tour. Now in his first FedEx Cup-eligible season, he’ll be keen to back up his breakout season with a first tour victory. —D.R.

21. Sungjae Im

Age: 23 / owgr: 26 / ’22 fedex cup: 3.

It’s frankly amazing that Im has logged more than 100 starts on tour … and he doesn’t turn 24 until March. A strong start in the fall (highlighted by a win at the Shriners followed by a T-9 at the CJ Cup) has Im poised for another stellar season. Despite his youth there’s little to nitpick with his game; the next step for Im would be for a bit more consistency at the big events—following a runner-up at the 2020 Masters, he failed to crack the top 15 at the majors or Players in 2021—but, again, he’s just 23. He seems odd to earmark Im as a potential breakout candidate given his success, yet with the Presidents Cup on tap along with some major venues that fit his game (cough, cough Southern Hills), the fledgling star is not far from gaining full-blown leading-man status in the sport. —J.B.

MORE: Sungjae Im (aka the Birdie Machine) was the perfect fit to win in Las Vegas

20. Abraham Ancer

Age: 30 / owgr: 17 / ’22 fedex cup: 63.

He has a lone win to his name. Don’t let that fool you; this cat can ball. Ancer is coming off a career year, finishing the regular season sixth in the FedEx Cup and ranking 12th in scoring and 15th in strokes gained. The output is especially impressive considering Ancer is one of the shortest hitters on tour (157th in distance), although he more than compensates by hitting more fairways than a John Deere (fifth in accuracy). It is fair to wonder if the lack of pop has held him back at majors, with just one top-10 finish in 11 starts; conversely, it could also just be a matter of reps, and his second-shot prowess (23rd in approach), ability to rack up red figures (20th in birdies) while keeping the big numbers off the card (fifth in bogey avoidance) should make him a formidable figure at one of golf’s big four … and soon. —J.B.

19. Cameron Smith

Age: 28 / owgr: 21 / ’22 fedex cup: 33.

The Aussie flashes one of best short games on tour, even if he’s still prone to a foul ball off the tee, like the one that sealed a playoff loss to Tony Finau at The Northern Trust. Cruised into the Tour Championship on the strength of perhaps his best year as a professional. —D.R.


Stacy Revere

18. Harris English

Age: 32 / owgr: 12 / ’22 fedex cup: nr.

Dismissing his dismal fall performance (two missed cuts and a WD), English enjoyed his best year in 2021 with a pair of wins and a fourth-place finish in the FedEx Cup regular-season standings. He rose to a career-best 10th in the World Ranking. At 32, he’s in the prime of his career, and the Georgia native has shown he knows how to score—and win—despite stats that don’t necessarily impress. He’ll go as far as his putter (12th SG/putting) takes him. —D.S.

17. Daniel Berger

Age: 28 / owgr: 19 / ’22 fedex cup: nr.

The man who won the first event of the COVID restart in 2020 added another victory at Pebble Beach in 2021 to make that four in his PGA Tour career. Berger also had a pair of top-10s in majors and played (well) in his first Ryder Cup after being one of Steve Stricker’s captain’s picks. Interesting didn’t make a start in the fall season. It’s unlikely he’ll ever reach the level or status of fellow Class of 2011 stars Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, but being the third wheel among that group isn’t too shabby. —A.M.

16. Jason Kokrak

Age: 36 / owgr: 20 / ’22 fedex cup: 8.

A victory at the Houston Open in the fall gave the big-hitting, 6-foot-4 Ohio native his third title in a 13-month span, adding to wins at Colonial (2021) and Shadow Creek (2020)—after going winless in his first 232 starts on the PGA Tour. The biggest difference-maker for the 36-year-old? His putting. Kokrak ranked sixth last season in strokes gained/putting. Compare that to his ranks in the previous five seasons: 151st; 103rd; 110th; 175th; 154th. — S.H.

15. Hideki Matsuyama

Age: 29 / owgr: 18 / ’22 fedex cup: 4.

As the game of golf gets increasingly global, there are fewer barriers to break, but Matsuyama shattered two huge ones when he became the first Asian-born golfer to win the Masters, and the first Japanese man to win a major. The rest of his season was decidedly average, which is understandable, but with a fall win at home at the Zozo Championship, he's riding into 2022 with major momentum. We could be looking at another career year. —S.R.


Atsushi Tomura

14. Jordan Spieth

Age: 28 / owgr: 14 / ’22 fedex cup: 141.

The former World No. 1 finally ended his post 2017 Open Championship “slump” in April, winning the Valero Texas Open just one week before the Masters. A T-7 at Augusta, plus a solo second later in the summer at The Open, served as definitive proof he was all the way back. A fourth major title will effectively silence any doubters left, and the 2022 majors schedule, which includes two of his favorite haunts (Augusta, St. Andrews), sets up quite nicely for him to check off that box. —C.P.

13. Tony Finau

Age: 32 / owgr: 15 / ’22 fedex cup: 169.

Finau shook off the King Kong-sized gorilla on his back when he gutted out a playoff win in August’s Northern Trust to win for the first time in 142 starts. He had eight runners-up in that span, and at least we don’t have to hear the laments that he can’t close. A slow starter, Finau ranked 116th in first-round scoring average (70.92) in ’21, but he was a Friday monster, averaging 68.60 (second). —T.L.

12. Brooks Koepka

Age: 31 / owgr: 16 / ’22 fedex cup: 172.

He remains golf’s best big-game hunter on the men’s side, with three more finishes T6 or better at the majors in 2021. An MC at the first, The Masters, came largely due to a knee injury he probably should not have been playing on yet. Given he admitted early last year that there were dark times rehabbing and his knee may never be 100 percent, injuries will continue to be a concern in 2022. But set aside the season-long numbers or holistic rankings, he’s the best at performing when it matters most and we’d need to see a year of total flops for that title to change. —B.P.

MORE: Brooks Koepka doesn’t hold back in our poolside interview

11. Scottie Scheffler

Age: 25 / owgr: 13 / ’22 fedex cup: 14.

An impressive Sunday singles victory over Jon Rahm at the Ryder Cup built Scheffler more equity as he tries to grab what feels inevitable—a first win on the PGA Tour. But the longer it takes, the trickier it will be fending off questions of why it hasn’t happened yet. Let’s just remember, the guy is only 25 and he’s already had 17 top-10 finishes in just 57 starts. He had two top-five finishes in the fall despite not ranking in the top 50 in any major strokes-gained category. When his game gets in gear at some point this spring, it’s hard not to think the inevitable comes to pass. —R.H.

10. Sam Burns

Age: 25 / owgr: 10 / ’22 fedex cup: 2.

The former college POY at LSU in 2017 had a breakout year in 2021, winning his first two career titles and holding the lead after the most rounds of any player on tour. After starting the year 154th in the World Ranking, he finished 11th, the biggest jump of any player in the top 50. Burns leads the tour at the winter break in SG/tee-to-green after being ninth in SG/putting in 2020-21, showcasing the versatility within his game. Just missed making the U.S. Ryder Cup team, but we have to think he’s a likely candidate for Davis Love III’s Presidents Cup squad. —R.H.


9. Dustin Johnson

Age: 37 / owgr: 3 / ’22 fedex cup: 194.

Spring 2021 was not kind to the 2020 Masters champ—DJ had just one top-10 finish from February through June. But the 24-time PGA Tour winner had top-10s in four of his final six starts of the season and then punctuated his 2021 with a flawless 5-0 performance at the Ryder Cup. If DJ wins this season (which we’d expect to happen), he’d have a victory in his first 15 seasons on tour. Only Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer boast a higher total (17). —S.H.

8. Bryson DeChambeau

Age: 28 / owgr: 5 / ’22 fedex cup: nr.

PIP metrics and trophies aside, he is arguably the tour’s top superstar (non-Tiger category) thanks to a swarm of curiosity and tumult that extends to a larger audience outside the golf corner of the world. He once again led the tour in driving distance and drama in 2021. His all-gas, no-brake focus on the tee ball has yielded resounding results in its first couple years. He led the tour in SG/off-the-tee again in 2021, and the difference between his average and second place was the same as second all the way to 18th. Given the offseason social-media videos replete with speed training, expect the same in 2022. —B.P.

MORE: Bryson vs Brooks feud dominated golf chatter but was it good for the game?

7. Xander Schauffele

Age: 28 / owgr: 5 / ’22 fedex cup: 112.

The Olympic gold medal and a stellar first appearance in the Ryder Cup certainly defined a memorable season for Schauffle, but there’s more work to be done. Namely, to get that first major win to salve the sting of six top-fives in the Big Four. For the second straight appearance, Schauffele contended deep into Masters Sunday, but was beaten by a hotter player. In trying to win for the first time since early 2019, he had seconds in the CJ Cup, Farmers and Phoenix, and he contended (T-7) in his home major, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, despite a short-lived switch to an arm-lock putting grip. Few players on tour can match Schauffele’s consistent all-around attack. In 2020-21, he was 41st in SG/off-tee, 14th in approach and 16th in putting. —T.L.


6. Viktor Hovland

Age: 24 / owgr: 7 / ’22 fedex cup: 5.

With three wins—plus an OWGR-counting victory at the Hero World Challenge—before age 25, the young Norwegian has seemingly already delivered on all the promise he displayed in winning the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach. The one area that continues to hold him back, though, is chipping, which he once claimed he “sucked” at. Should he continue to make slight improvements around the greens, his ceiling is second only to Collin Morikawa among the tour’s rising stars. Oddsmakers tend to agree, as Hovland is +550 to win a major in 2022 on the DraftKings Sportsbook. —C.P.

5. Rory McIlroy

Age: 32 / owgr: 9 / ’22 fedex cup: 9.

Since 2014, the dominant strain of discourse around McIlroy has been when or if he'll win another major, and it will continue to be so forever, if necessary. The story is the same—his putting just isn't good enough, and to win majors as a below-average putter, you need to be an approach genius like Collin Morikawa, which Rory is not. Still, he's now won twice on tour in the last year, including his October win at the CJ Cup, his putting is improving, and maybe—maybe—he's ready to take the leap again. —S.R.


4. Justin Thomas

Age: 28 / owgr: 8 / ’22 fedex cup: 32.

It was a strange 2021 for the American star, who found himself mired in controversy and in the first prolonged slump of his career. After losing his Ralph Lauren deal in January and winning the Players Championship in March, Thomas didn’t record another top 10 until the FedEx Cup Playoffs. But two top fives in those three events followed by another two at the Mayakoba and Hero indicate he’s got his game in better shape. And as we saw with his five-win campaign in 2016-2017, few are capable of going on bigger heaters. —A.M.

3. Patrick Cantlay

Age: 29 / owgr: 4 / ’22 fedex cup: nr.

After seeing his career derailed by a back injury for more than two years, Cantlay finally has assumed what many thought should be his rightful place among the elite of his age group by winning four times in the 2020-21 season, capturing the FedEx Cup and winning Player of the Year honors. He showed no real weaknesses in his game, ranking no worse than 30th in the key SG metrics and finishing third in SG/total. The only things left for the laconic California native is to add his name to the column of major winners and to rise to World No. 1, and who thinks he won’t eventually achieve those goals? —D.S.


2. Collin Morikawa

Age: 24 / owgr: 2 / ’22 fedex cup: 15.

In the past year, he’s taken “The Leap” from great young player to perhaps the finest player on Earth. His record through 60 professional starts—six wins, two majors, 24 top 10s—has drawn some (unfair) Tiger comparisons; so has his habit of closing out tournaments with relentless, bogey-free rounds. Among a historically great group of 30 and younger Americans, he currently stands alone at the top. —D.R.

1. Jon Rahm

Age: 27 / owgr: 1 / ’22 fedex cup: nr.

The numbers are staggering. Fifteen top-10s versus one missed cut in 22 starts last season. Second in SG/off-the-tee, eighth in approach and first in SG/overall. First in birdie average AND bogey avoidance. Yet those numbers fail to illustrate the most impressive figure of all: the “1” that replaced “0” in Rahm’s major total, shedding the label of backdoor finisher by closing out the 2021 U.S. Open with vigor. Though Rahm technically had just one win to his name—if “just” can describe his breakthrough at Torrey Pines—he tied for the lowest score over four days at East Lake during the Tour Championship and held a six-stroke lead through 54 holes at the Memorial before a positive COVID-19 test knocked him out of the event, in the process solidifying his claim as the sport’s top dog. —J.B.


Donald Miralle


  1. Justin Thomas was given a new nickname at the start of the PGA Tour

    pga tour player nickname

  2. Tim Herron embraces Lumpy nickname, arrival on PGA Champions Tour

    pga tour player nickname

  3. Rory McIlroy named PGA Tour Player of the Year

    pga tour player nickname

  4. PGA Championship: Player Profiles

    pga tour player nickname

  5. Jordan Spieth named PGA Tour player of the year

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  6. Koepka named PGA Tour Player of the Year

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  1. Player Nicknames (PGA)

    Get to know PGA Tour players a little better through this installment of "Player Nicknames." Nicknames are part of sports folklore. Fans are eager to slap a sticker on any player with a special skill or quirky personality. There are plenty of both on the PGA Tour.

  2. Golfers' nicknames

    July 21, 2018 by The Editorial Team in A to Z Estimated reading time: 9 minutes We all like a nickname, especially in sports. Here we take a look at some of the nicknames given to professional golfers over the years and do our best to provide some rationale on why they came about. Ernie Els (Niall Carson/PA Wire)

  3. The 15 greatest golf nicknames: A definitive ranking

    13. Sam Snead: "Nude Knob" Yeah, "Slammin' Sammy" is a good nickname, and yeah, this one's kinda mean, but some of the best and funniest nicknames in sports, like those listed above, cut a...

  4. Best Golfer Nicknames

    Samuel Jackson Snead was a phenomenal ball striker and long hitter, hence the nickname. Gary Player would single him out as having the best swing of all time and his swing is still mirrored today. In 1949 he would win two of the three Majors and was tied second in the US Open, a Major that would elude him.

  5. 17 of the Best Golfer Nicknames of All-Time

    Brent Kelley Updated on 05/24/19 What are the best nicknames of pro golfers in the history of the game? We've come up a list of 17 of our favorites. Some of them you'll instantly recognize, others might be new to you. But all of them are fun (for fans, at least). Nicknames are listed alphabetically. 01 of 16 Aquaman Scott Halleran/Getty Images

  6. Golf's Animal Kingdom of Player Nicknames

    Jordan Spieth—certain of Jordan's swings have earned him the name, Chicken Wing. Jim Furyk—slow and steady Jim is the Terrapin of the PGA Tour. Paul Casey—goofy and fun-loving Paul… always up to Monkey Business. Abraham Ancer—His double-A initials make him Aardvark. Viktor Hovland—young Viktor prowls the Tour like a Meer Cat.

  7. Celebrating the best nicknames on the PGA Tour

    Celebrating the best nicknames on the PGA Tour June 30, 2015 This time last summer, Angel Cabrera came out of nowhere at the Greenbrier Classic, turning in two 64s on the weekend to capture...

  8. Golf's greatest nicknames

    The Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus: With 18 major titles and 73 PGA Tour wins, Jack Nicklaus was the gold-standard for golf in more than just nickname. His blond hair and affinity for yellow shirts ...

  9. The Greatest Golf Nicknames of All Time

    The fact that Phil is such a legendary player that when you hear a nickname as basic as "Lefty" you immediately think of him. ... Adrian Meronk PGA TOUR Player Profile, Stats, Bio, Career.

  10. The PGA Tour Is A Long-Running Circus Of Nicknames

    News The PGA Tour Is A Long-Running Circus Of Nicknames By Dave Shedloski Illustrations by John Ueland March 16, 2016 Illustrations by John Uleland Nicknames are one of golf's most...

  11. 'It's gonna stick': How Tim 'Lumpy' Herron got his famous nickname

    When Herron won his first event on the PGA Tour in 1996, the broadcast team dug up his old nickname in their research. And from that day forward, Lumpy was officially mainstream.

  12. PGA TOUR Player Stats, Bio, Career

    PGA TOUR Player Stats, Bio, Career. News Schedule Players Stats Golfbet Signature Events More PGA TOUR PGA TOUR Champions Korn Ferry Tour PGA TOUR Americas LPGA TOUR DP World Tour PGA TOUR University.

  13. 10 of the Best Nicknames in Golf

    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. The Mechanic

  14. Craig Stadler

    Very popular with the galleries, Stadler is affectionately called "The Walrus " for his portly build and ample mustache. He lives in Denver, Colorado. His son Kevin is also a PGA Tour champion. [2] Stadler and his son Kevin are the only father and son who have both won on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour.

  15. What Is Patrick Cantlay's Nickname? The PGA Tour Pro's Chilly Football

    The boring nickname of Patrick Cantlay. The golf world boasts iconic monikers that have become synonymous with golfers, such as 'Tiger', a name given to the 82-time PGA Tour winner by his ...

  16. PGA Tour

    History The roots of the modern PGA Tour stretch back to April 10, 1916, when the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) was formed. [4] The modern tour recognizes wins from this era as "PGA Tour" victories despite the formal founding of the tour as a separate entity coming much later.

  17. Golf's Greatest Nicknames: The stories behind Amen Corner ...

    A few more nicknames popped up at PGA Tour venues in the 1980s, but it's really been the last decade that's seen an uptick in creativity by tournament organizers, course owners, club members, marketing folks and golf writers to label key stretches of holes with a moniker to get fans excited and the media buzzing about the course or the tournament.

  18. [node:title]

    Wonder no more. "Lefty" "Golden Bear" "Boom Boom" "The Walrus" "The Shark" "The Big Wiesy" "The Big Easy" "Pink Panther" "Duf Daddy" Player nicknames

  19. Andrew Johnston (golfer)

    Andrew Johnston (golfer) Andrew Thomas Johnston (born 18 February 1989) is an English professional golfer who plays on the European Tour. He has one win on the European Tour, which came at the 2016 Open de España.

  20. Chase Johnson ready for his moment at The Genesis Invitational

    In 2017, the exemption was re-named to honor the memory of Charlie Sifford, the first African American player to compete on the PGA TOUR and the winner of the 1969 Los Angeles Open at Rancho Park.

  21. 2022-23 PGA TOUR Complete Player Rankings

    2022-23 PGA TOUR Complete Player Rankings - ESPN 1. W. Clark -17 $3.6M 2. L. Åberg -16 $2.2M 3. M. Pavon -15 $1.4M 4. M. Hubbard -14 $878K 4. T. Detry -14 $878K 6. J. Day -13 $643K 6. T. Hoge...

  22. Bay Hill leader Kurt Kitayama has multiple flattering nicknames

    That must be where all of Kitayama's power comes from. The 30-year-old averages just over 308 yards off the tee, good enough to be among the top 30 longest players on the PGA Tour.

  23. Cristóbal Del Solar: Chilean golfer sets new PGA Tour record round

    Cristóbal del Solar wrote his name into the history books on Thursday, as the Chilean golfer shot a 13-under 57 at the Astara Golf Championship to set the new record for the lowest round ever ...

  24. Nick Taylor PGA TOUR Player Profile, Stats, Bio, Career

    The Official PGA TOUR Profile of Nick Taylor. PGA TOUR Stats, bio, video, photos, results, and career highlights.

  25. PGA Tour announces new $3 billion investment and player equity offer

    'Best in golf to our fans' A joint statement released by the six PGA Tour Player Directors, including Tiger Woods, Patrick Cantlay, and Jordan Spieth, said players were "proud" to vote ...

  26. Why should players own the PGA Tour? This guy knows better than most

    The PGA Tour is divvying up $1.5 billion. Here's how they'll do it By: Sean Zak "We were capitalized to the extent that, on average, we four-X'd everyone's wage," Rabil said.

  27. The Five: Signature storylines at The Genesis Invitational

    McIlroy played the final four holes of his first round in 5-over, including a two-shot penalty for an improper drop. McIlroy's funk continued into the second round.

  28. 2024 Genesis Invitational: Tiger Woods using new caddie in first PGA

    With Woods' old caddie now alongside another player, the 48-year-old has called upon the services of a veteran CBSSports.com ... Tiger Woods using new caddie in first PGA Tour start since 2023 Masters

  29. The top 100 players on the PGA Tour, ranked

    99. Taylor Pendrith Age: 30 / OWGR: 229 / '22 FedEx Cup: 47 Canadian rookie has one of the most impressive moves you'll see anywhere—think Matthew Wolff meets Jim Furyk, with 190-mph ball speed....