Shrek, Louis Oosthuizen: Some might not be keen on being compared to a swamp-dwelling ogre, but Louis Oosthuizen leaned into it, club headcovers and all. “It’s the gap in my teeth,” the South African told reporters when asked about the nickname in 2010. “My friends say I look like Shrek … You can’t choose your friends, so what can I say?”

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The Great White Shark, Greg Norman: Native to Australia and lethal, Greg Norman and great white sharks had a lot in common, though one was keen to avoid the water. The two-time Open champion founded a company — Great White Shark Enterprises — hosted a PGA Tour team event — the Shark Shootout — and titled his autobiography — “The Way of the Shark” — based on his affiliation with the predatory fish.

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Big Mama, JoAnne Carner: “Big Mama” is a fitting nickname for one of the most important figures in women’s golf history. Two US Women’s Open wins in the 1970s were the highlight of JoAnne Carner’s sparkling 35-year-long journey on the LPGA Tour. Aged 65, in 2004 she became the oldest player to make the cut at an LPGA event, before shooting her age to card an 83 in the first round of the US Senior Women’s Open in 2022.

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The Walrus, Craig Stadler: There are four walruses in this photo — two on the fairway and two in the bag. A much-loved presence on the fairways, Craig Stadler (center) earned his affectionate nickname through his burly build and plump mustache. When the 1982 Masters champion’s son, Kevin (left), followed in his father’s footsteps by going pro, “The Smallrus” title was ready and waiting. In 2014, they became the first ever father-son duo to compete together at The Masters.

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Quadzilla, Kurt Kitayama: Blending the name of the reptilian movie monster with the term for a group of thigh muscles, “Quadzilla” was the nickname gifted to Kurt Kitayama by fellow pro Xander Schauffele when the duo were coming up together on the Korn Ferry Tour. At college, Kitayama was nicknamed “The Project” due to his fabled work ethic and perseverance, and the American’s efforts paid off with his first PGA Tour victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March 2023.

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The Merry Mex, Lee Trevino: A Texan of Mexican descent, it says much about Lee Trevino’s personality that he was renowned as much for his sense of humor as he was for his remarkable golfing talents. The Masters was the only major to elude Trevino, who won the remaining three twice each before making a cameo in the beloved golf comedy film “Happy Gilmore” in 1996.

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Ms. 59, Annika Sörenstam: With 10 major wins and 72 LPGA Tour titles, Annika Sörenstam has a near endless supply of memorable rounds to call upon, but her second round at the 2001 Standard Register PING holds a special significance. The legendary Swede shot the first ever 59 in women’s golf history in Phoenix to earn the unique title of “Ms. 59.” Al Geiberger lays claim to “Mr. 59” as the first to shoot the score at a PGA Tour event, in 1977.

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Aquaman, Woody Austin: Years before Jason Momoa took on the role, Woody Austin was “Aquaman.” The American dove headfirst into the superhero nickname after a fateful fall into the water while attempting to hit a shot at the Presidents Cup in 2007.

Timothy A. Clary / AFP via Getty Images

strongAquaman, Woody Austin:/strong It led to one of the most unconventional wardrobe choices ever seen on the fairways when, two days later during his singles match up against Argentina's Ángel Cabrera, Austin strolled the 14th hole fairway of Quebec's Royal Montreal Golf Club in scuba goggles.

Aquaman, Woody Austin: It led to one of the most unconventional wardrobe choices ever seen on the fairways when, two days later during his singles match up against Argentina’s Ángel Cabrera, Austin strolled the 14th hole fairway of Quebec’s Royal Montreal Golf Club in scuba goggles.

Scott Halleran / Getty Images

The Towering Inferno, Tom Weiskopf: You can’t have a nickname like “The Towering Inferno” and not live up to it — and Tom Weiskopf did so emphatically. The American’s 6-feet 3-inch (1.91 meter) frame anchored a devastating swing, his raw power occasionally manifesting in fiery outbursts on the fairways. An Open Championship triumph in 1973 headlined a hugely successful playing career before Weiskopf moved into golf course design.

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The Pink Panther, Paula Creamer: Proficient in putting with a penchant for pink, “The Pink Panther” was the perfect nickname for Paula Creamer. Even the American’s golf bag, balls, and club grips eventually followed her color scheme, making the 2010 US Women’s Open champion an unmistakable sight on the fairways.

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strongSpider-Man, Camilo Villegas: /strongWith great putting comes great responsibility; Colombian golfer Camilo Villegas' unorthodox style of reading putts quickly led to comparisons with New York City's web-slinging superhero.

Spider-Man, Camilo Villegas: With great putting comes great responsibility; Colombian golfer Camilo Villegas’ unorthodox style of reading putts quickly led to comparisons with New York City’s web-slinging superhero.

Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

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 helped consolidate “The Golden Bear” title, which just happened to be the nickname and mascot for the Ohioan’s Upper Arlington High School sports teams.

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The Big Easy, Ernie Els: A 6-feet 3-inch (1.91 meter) giant with a liquid swing, “The Big Easy” was a natural title for four-time major champion Ernie Els. His moniker inspired the name for a developmental tour in his native South Africa — “The Big Easy Tour.”

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Bam Bam, Brittany Lincicome: A prodigious amateur, Brittany Lincicome burst onto the scene with a crushing drive that quickly earned her the “Bam Bam” title. A two-time Chevron Championship winner, the American continued the legacy of Fred “Boom Boom” Couples, whose similar big-hitting ability powered him to Masters glory in 1992.

Kent Horner / Getty Images

The Black Knight, Gary Player: Often dressed head-to-toe in black, throughout his sparkling career Gary Player was the grim reaper for many a golfer’s hopes of silverware. The South African icon remains the only non-American golfer to complete the career grand slam, with his tally of nine major championships behind only US trio Walter Hagen (11), Tiger Woods (15) and Jack Nicklaus (18).

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Only in golf can you watch Spider-Man go toe-to-toe with Shrek, or see a Walrus face off against a Great White Shark.

Since the game’s earliest tournaments, countless top players have been blessed – and cursed – with an array of nicknames, many becoming synonymous with their sobriquets.

Some monikers are a nod to the golfer’s appearance. “The Pink Panther” was a natural pairing for Paula Creamer and her permanently pink wardrobe, while Ernie Els’ tall frame made him a good fit for “The Big Easy.”

Others reference personality. A wicked sense of humor made Lee Trevino “The Merry Mex,” and in the case of Tom “The Towering Inferno” Weiskopf, his moniker is a blend of both his height and his occasionally scorching fits of rage on the course.

On the other hand, some nicknames are spawned by specific events, from the fantastic to the farcical. “Ms. 59” was the title bestowed upon Annika Sörenstam after the Swede shot an unprecedented low score in 2001. Six years later, Woody Austin took an unplanned plunge into the water at the Presidents Cup and resurfaced with a new identity: “Aquaman.”

From the sublime to the ridiculous, nicknames are as natural to golf as bunkers and birdies.

Scroll through the gallery above to explore the most iconic golfing nicknames.

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