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Opinion & Analysis

Singer: The coolest names in golf

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Frys.com Open - Final Round

This is important.

Well, maybe not really. I suppose you could argue there are more important things going on in the world of golf. WGC events, major championships, Tiger’s health, the FedEx Cup, a guy in Alberta getting socked in the face… and that’s all in the past month! But GolfWRX has other writers to cover those things. This is my story, so I’m going to talk about what has come to interest me in the last week: the coolest names in golf.

Why is a cool name important? Well, it’s easier to cheer for a guy with a cool name. Who is your favorite sprinter? Usain Bolt? Justin Gatlin? Both of them have cool names. Would you want Usain Smith to win the 100-meter dash? I suppose maybe if you were from his country, or Usain himself. But it’s a lot cooler to cheer for a fast guy with the last name “Bolt.”

Other sports are full of cool-named players to cheer for. If you knew nothing about football and were told the New Orleans Saints had two quarterbacks, one named Drew Brees and another named Luke McCown, who would you think was the better QB? That’s right, you’d say Drew Brees. Same question, Andrew Luck or Matt Hasselbeck? C’mon, not even close. And did you have any doubt that a guy named Colin Kaepernick would eventually take over for a guy named Alex Smith?

Fans gravitate toward cool names because they are fun for us to say, and fun for announcers to say (I swear pronouncing Camilo Villegas in a debonair manner became somewhat of a contest between golf analysts when he was winning tournaments). And frankly if you’ve made it this far in the article without clicking the “back” button to check out WITB threads, you probably don’t need more convincing.

That’s why I’ve created a list of the five golfers with the coolest names, which will be ranked based on the following three categories:

  1. How cool their names sound.
  2. Nickname potential.
  3. Nantz-a-bility (how many puns Jim Nantz would have at his disposal if the player won the Masters).

Disclaimer: Tiger Woods will not be on the list. Yes, he has a cool nickname… ferocious even. And yes, his last name is also the same as a type of club used by all golfers. But Tiger has been written about enough. I want to talk about some other guys. Fair enough?

OK, let’s do this thing. In descending order:

No. 5: Justin Rose

Justin Rose coolest names

From Pete Rose to Derrick Rose, the last name “Rose” has captured the public’s attention in professional sports.

Maybe part of the reason is that “Rose” is so easy to say. It just kind of rolls off the tongue. In fact, Justin Rose might have the easiest name to say in all of golf. You can get out in a couple of seconds, even with a mouth full of peanut butter.

While it’s low on nickname potential, there’s plenty for Jim Nantz to work with: obvious parallels to roses blooming (“This Rose bloomed in April”), which lends itself to enough puns to cover about 10 Masters victories in itself. But there’s also the double entendre about rising to the occasion.

No. 4 Jonas Blixt

Jonas Blixt coolest names

If you type “Blixt” into google, Jonas Blixt is 9 of the first 10 results that pop up. Not only is it a cool-sounding name, but it’s also unique. I mean, I’ve read it over a few times in my head and it sounds cooler each time. I wish my last name was Blixt!

Blixt sounds like something you did last night.

“Me and the friends went out and man we got Blixt!”

Plus, the Nantz-a-bility is pretty high. There’s lot to work, like “He Blixt the competition!” I want to see him win the Masters now just because I’m convinced that’s what Nantz would say.

His nickname potential is moderate as well, because of the obvious Jonas Brothers parallel. If he were my friend, would I jokingly refer to him as “Love Bug?” Maybe.

No. 3: Hunter Mahan

hunter mahan coolest names

When you heard the name Mahan, you probably were pretty sure it was spelled M-a-y-h-a-n. That is key, because having an exaggerated pronunciation in some form is always fun. It seems that broadcasters guys go out of their way now to dwell on the “May” portion of his name… Hunter MayyyyyHan (note: there’s actually no “Y” in the proper spelling).

Mahan is a different sounding name, and combined with the first name Hunter it’s a classic. Examples: Pin Hunter, Flag Hunter, “He hunted down the competition,” etc.

Hunter is a great sporting name, and Mahan lends itself to high levels of Nantz-a-bility. You could work with “Mahan MAY-BE” in some way. While his last name doesn’t have much nickname potential, his first name is essentially a nickname in itself. Big points for that.

No. 2: Sang-Moon Bae

Sang Moon Bae sounds like a place you’d go on your honeymoon, or where vampires might flock in a Twilight movie (Sang means blood in french by the way).

There’s Nantz-a-bility with every one of the three parts of his name. “Sang, a song of victory,” or something about a full moon that I’m sure could be worked in.

“Keeping competitors at Bae” is fun, too: It’s almost unfair. There’s more possible puns in his name than in an entire Robert Frost poem.

No. 1: Jhonattan Vegas

jhonattan-vegas-nwide-2010_t640

Jhonny Vegas just had to be No. 1.

When a golfer comes out of nowhere to win a PGA Tour event during a down part of the season and his name is “Johnny Vegas,” I start to get suspicious that there are larger marketing plans at work. Maybe there was a meeting at PGA Tour headquarters where someone said:

“Look, early season and late season tournaments are killing us. Do you know what would be fantastic? If we had some guy with a catchy name win a few events, and we could play off that a bit. Like if his name was ‘Joe Cool’ or something. People would go for that, right?”

And then someone else in the room said:

“Remember in the Bond movie, ‘Die Another Day,’ where the guy got DNA transplant surgery and became someone else? What if we took, like, Henrik Stenson or something and made him a guy named Johnny Vegas and he won a few silly season tournaments?”

Couldn’t this have happened? Have you seen Henrik Stenson and Jhonattan Vegas in the same room? Didn’t Stenson have a couple of poor seasons the past few years? And since he’s re-emerged, where is Vegas? Think about it for a second.”

I mean, a guy named Johnny Vegas comes out of nowhere, hits huge bombs off the tee and briefly leads the FedEx Cup (2011) at a point in the season where the Tour struggles for viewers? Too good to be true. His name is so cool that it made me write all of the above gibberish, and the fact that it seemed plausible enough to you is proof of how good of a name Mr. Vegas has.

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Jeff Singer was born and still resides in Montreal, Canada. Though it is a passion for him today, he wasn't a golfer until fairly recently in life. In his younger years Jeff played collegiate basketball and football and grew up hoping to play the latter professionally. Upon joining the workforce, Jeff picked up golf and currently plays at a private course in the Montreal area while working in marketing. He has been a member of GolfWRX since 2008

17 Comments

17 Comments

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  2. Mark

    Sep 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Not that they anyone would ever have heard of them but my favorite golf name belongs to two brothers who used to be members at my club.

    George and John…..
    MULLIGAN

    No joke. Best golf names ever.

  3. mick

    Sep 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Pornanong Phatlum?

  4. Ken

    Sep 11, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Then there’s the obvious … Paula Creamer! I’ll leave it there.

  5. Tom

    Sep 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat. My new fave.

  6. Phil

    Sep 10, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Johnny Vegas is also that much funnier if you are British, as most people know Johnny Vegas to be squeaky voiced, overweight northern comedian!

  7. Sebastien

    Sep 9, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Dude, don’t even listen, that list was brilliant. You left out the obvious, and it was well written. Good laugh man

  8. Kris

    Sep 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Sorry, but Dickie Pride is the best name in golf. Might be the best name anywhere.

  9. CS

    Sep 9, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    How did Thorbjørn Olesen not make it? You have to include the thunder bear in any list of cool golf names.

    • Jeff Singer

      Sep 9, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      I don’t have a keyboard that can put the line through the O. That is key. None of my local electronic stores sell Danish keyboards. Though there are stores that sell Danishes. After eating several danishes, i decided to omit Olesen

  10. B MAC

    Sep 9, 2013 at 6:34 am

    Let’s gets serious I’m not a big fan of this guy but TIGER WOODS!

  11. Jack

    Sep 9, 2013 at 12:57 am

    I thought Seung Yul Nol was the funniest.

  12. Jason

    Sep 9, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Ummm. How about Maximillion Keifer on the Euro tour?

    • Jeff Singer

      Sep 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      Hardest omission was Jeev Milkha Singh, there’s lots to work with there. Though that is also a solid name.

  13. Steff

    Sep 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Blixt means lighning bolt in Swedish! So his name is even cooler in Swedish!

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: From “secret” to 5 basics for a better wedge game

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First of all, thanks to all of you who read and gave last week’s post such high marks. And for all of you who have sent me an email asking for me to address so many topics. Keep those coming and I’ll never run out of things to write about.

In response to so many of those who asked for more on the basics, I want to start a series of articles this week to address some of what I consider the basics as you move your wedge game from greenside chipping, back to “full” wedge distances.

While I certainly do not want to try to replace the skills and contributions of a good instructor, what I hope to accomplish over the next few posts is to give you some of what I consider the most sound and basic of fundamentals as you approach shots from the green back to 100-130 yards, or what you consider “full” swing pitching wedge distance.

So, to get this series kicked off, let’s take the most basic of greenside chips, where the ball lies in a reasonably decent lie 3-10 feet from the edge of the green. I know there are many theories and approaches to chipping the ball, from a “putt-stroke” to hitting them all with a lob wedge, but I’m going to focus on what I consider the most simple and basic of approaches to chipping, so here we go:

Club selection. For golfers who are not highly skilled in this shot and who do not yet want to try to exhibit tons of creativity, my theory is that it is much easier to master one basic technique, then choose the right club to deliver the appropriate carry/roll combination. Once you have done a little practice and experimenting, you should really understand that relationship for two to four different clubs, say your sand wedge, gap wedge and pitching wedge.

Geometry. By that I mean to “build” the shot technique around the club and ball relationship to your body, as those are static. Start with your club soled properly, so that it is not standing up on the toe or rocked back on the heel. With the ball centered in the face, the shaft should be leaning very slightly forward toward the hole. Then move into your stance position, so that your lead arm is hanging straight down from your shoulders and your upper hand can grasp the grip with about 1-2” of “grip down” (I hate the term “choke up”). I’m a firm believer that the lead arm should not angle back toward the body, or out toward the ball, as either compromises the geometry of the club. The stance should be rather narrow and a bit open, weight 70% on your lead foot, and the ball positioned just forward of your trailing foot.

Relax. This is a touch shot, so it needs a very light grip on the club. Tension in the hands and forearms is a killer on these. I like to do a “pressure check” just before taking the club back, just to make sure I have not let the shot tighten me up.

The body core is key. This is not a “handsy” shot, but much more like a putt in that the shoulders turn away from the shot and back through, with the arms and hands pretty quiet. Because of the light grip, there will, by necessity, be some “loading” as you make the transition at the end of the backswing, but you want to “hold” that making sure your lead shoulder/forearm stay ahead of the clubhead through the entire through-stroke. This insures – like I pointed out last week – that the club stays in front of your body through the entire mini-swing.

Control speed with core speed. I think a longer stroke/swing makes for a smoother tempo on these shots. Don’t be afraid to take the club back a bit further than you might otherwise think, and just make the through-stroke as s-m-o-0-t-h as possible. Avoid any quickness or “jab-iness” in the stroke at all. Once you experiment a bit, you can learn how to control your body core rotation speed much easier than you can control hand speed. And it is nearly impossible to get too quick if you do that.

Again, I am certainly not here to replace or substitute for good instruction, and I know there are a number of approaches to chipping. This is just the one that I have found easier to learn and master in relation to the time you have to spend on your short game practice.

Next week, we’ll move back to those shorter pitches up to about 30 yards.

And keep those emails coming, OK? [email protected].

 

 

 

 

 

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Reviewing TaylorMade’s NEW SIM2 woods and hybrids!

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TaylorMade’s new SIM2 woods and hybrids are out and I have had them on the range to test. SIM2 seems to offer better shots on mishits throughout the line, keeping those shots in play better than last year. Everything seems to be improved in one way or another and I personally love the SIM2 Max driver and fairway!

 

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: What’s your takeaway waggle?

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Two wonderful examples on the PGA Tour are Sung Jae Im and Justin Thomas. We explain how this takeaway waggle brings your awareness full circle to how your backswing matches the direction you want to start the ball on. With awareness and confirmation that the backswing fits and that you don’t have to rush through it. You get a sense of calm that you can accomplish the task you set out and your chances at consistency have increased exponentially.

 

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