What’s in a name?
IT seems to me if you intend to be a great sportsman, specifically a golfing legend, you need to have a name that says “greatness.”
Jack Nicklaus. Now that’s a name! The Golden Bear! Big, strong, long. The greatest golfer ever with the best name ever! I guess we’ve all seen past his voice, which sounds like a small bird pleading with its mum to regurgitate his meal of worms. But all the same, “Jack Nicklaus” screams of folklore!
Arnold Palmer. Another ripper of a name. The King. His fans adored him. He was an exciting, attacking player who went at the ball like it was trying to defy him. “There you go, ball… that’ll teach you”. Arnold turned golf from a pleasant outing with a doctor and a judge and the local headmaster who wore plaid trousers, into a riveting gladiatorial spectacle.
Greg Norman. The Great White Shark. Noone could hit the ball further or harder and straighter. They say a great white can smell blood from a kilometre away and hone in on its prey, striking it with extraordinary force and precision. (I just scared the $#%& out of myself ).
Seve Ballesteros. The Matador. Seve took the robotic “fairways and greens” play of the stereotypical US professional and drove it to the nearest carpark. His huge legions of fans were always treated to something majestic during the course of a round and they could see it happen up close and personal. Mainly because he played most of his golf from inside the gallery. Watching Seve play was like being in a Zorro movie with him hanging off chandeliers, swiping his sword at the bad guys while rescuing the damsel with his other hand.
In the modern era, Tiger Woods stands out like a pole dancer in a monastery; he has broken more rules than Chopper Read and Justin Bieber combined. He spits on greens, swears, throws clubs and has had relations with every blond female under the age of 35 who has resided in the USA since 1997. Having said all that, Tiger-Trouser-Trout is/was the greatest striker of a golf ball I’ve ever seen. He is also the toughest competitor out there and will do whatever it takes to beat the living daylights out of you. And what about his name? No, not Woods…. TIGER!
Taking up most of the front pages these days is another superbly named individual called Rory! When you whack the surname of “McIlroy” on the end he becomes the ultimate Irish light middleweight Champion. “In the red corner, wearing the shamrock shorts and drinking a pint of Guinness...” etc. His freewheeling swing, which somehow converts into distances only a physicist could explain, and his wonderful down-to earth “the beers are on me” disposition makes him one of the most sought-after best mates on the tour.
Now we come to golf’s newest superstar… Jordan Spieth. Umhmm.
Perhaps we should split the two words up, shall we? Jordan – meaning “one who descends”. Ok then. Let’s look at Spieth. The closest I could get to this being associated with a Bear, Tiger or Great White Shark was a weird looking animal, which resides in the forests of the Amazon called a Sloth. It has three toes, is the slowest moving mammal on Earth and looks like the result of a romantic, moonlit interlude with an Orangutan and Patrick Reed.
Don’t get me wrong! Jordan is possibly the finest young bloke I’ve ever, nearly met. ( There were 35 other golf journos sitting next to me at the time) His game isn’t necessarily brilliant in any one part, except maybe for putting and his style of play seems to be best described as …really excellent.
He doesn’t have bleached white hair, smash his nut inexplicable distances, or sleep with most of the Northern Hemisphere, but this 21 year-old kid is hurtling at great speed towards greatness!
We owe it to Jordan Spieth to come up with a nickname worthy of such greatness; preferably, something better than a slow moving, weird looking mammal who tells galleries to Shsssh.
Come on readers, let’s put our heads together and give the kid a cracker of a moniker.
As always, our Editor, Richard, is sitting by the computer waiting for you to respond to everything I write in INSIDE GOLF. He loves nothing more than to receive feedback. Particularly when it doesn’t require any legal action.
Editor’s note: On that note, as you send in your creative monikers for Jordan Spieth, why don’t you also include a great nickname for Inside Golf’s one and only Larry Canning. The name “Canning” has a plethora of opportunities – from creamed corn, to lentil soup, to preserved peach? C’mon, have some fun with it! Send your nicknames to email@example.com