Tour pro golfers with animal nicknames

It's a right old menagerie out on tour thanks to a plethora of golfers with animal nicknames

El Gato enjoying the moment at Loch Lomond in 2002
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to tour pro golfers with animal nicknames, it’s a right old menagerie out on the world's fairways. Try these ten for starters…

The Golden Bear

18-time Major winner Jack Nicklaus much preferred this to “Ohio Fats” – the nickname Arnold Palmer fans gave him in his more portly early days because of the threat he posed to their hero.

Jack Nicklaus

The Golden Bear on the Major prowl one final time at Augusta in 1986

The Great White Shark

Greg Norman’s blond hair and aggressive golf made this the perfect nickname, but it sometimes came back to haunt him rather cruelly with “toothless” jibes from the media when things went wrong in Majors.

The Great White Shark striding to his first Open Championship at Turnberry in 1986

The Great White Shark striding to his first Open Championship at Turnberry in 1986

The Walrus

It would be hard to believe that any golfer has ever looked more like his mammalian counterpart than Craig Stadler? Thus far, tour pro son Kevin, has failed to take on a similarly walrus-like appearance.

Craig Stadler: never has a man looked more like a walrus

Craig Stadler: never has a man looked more like a walrus

The Hawk

One of the original golfers with animal nicknames, Ben Hogan was known as The Hawk for his uncanny ability to survey a course and then execute a precision attack.

The legend that was Ben Hogan aka The Hawk

The legend that was Ben Hogan aka The Hawk

The Goose

A commentator’s dream. When Retief is playing well it’s a surefire bet that it won’t be long before “The Goose is really cooking today” issues forth from the lips of someone in the booth.

The Goose was certainly cooking in the 2004 US Open

The Goose was certainly cooking in the 2004 US Open

El Gato

Genial Argentinean Eduardo Romero was apparently once asked by a US interviewer, unfamiliar with the Spanish for cat, just why he was called “the cake”. Christened El Gato as he apparently stalked around like big cat checking out his shots.

Eduardo Romero: the cat that got the cream... or should we say 'el gato que tiene la crema'

Eduardo Romero: the cat that got the cream... or should we say 'el gato que tiene la crema'

El Pato

Mighty-hitting double Major winner Angel Cabrera says his Spanish “duck” nickname comes from his father, also called “pato”. Others say it is down to his unusual waddling gait…

Angel Cabrera - 2007 U.S. Open Champion

El Pato with the US Open trophy in 2007

The Elk

Working out how sweet-swinging Aussie Steve Elkington got this moosey moniker is hardly rocket science.

Steve Elkington

The Elk pinches the 1995 USPGA from under Monty's nose

Snake

Left-handed Aussie Greg Chalmers’ tour nickname. Think about it – snake, Chalmers…

Chalmers... The Snake... obvious really

Chalmers... The Snake... obvious really

The Bulldog

Anyone who watched the unrelentingly tenacious Corey Pavin at his best in the 1990s will understand exactly how this one came about.

This shot from the 1991 Ryder Cup explains The Bulldog nickname perfectly

This shot from the 1991 Ryder Cup explains The Bulldog nickname perfectly
Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf


Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response