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Top 10 celebrity golfers from the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

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By Dennis de Jesus Jr.

GolfWRX Contributor

Lost in the high profile theatrics of Phil Mickelson’s big win over not only the field, but Sunday Tiger Woods himself, was the fact that this was the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Event, with a small emphasis on the “Am”.  The amateur component of the tournament adds an extra something to make it unique, as if the beautiful backdrop of cliffs rolling into the pacific ocean wasn’t enough, am I right?

One of the selling points for the tournament was the key pairing of Tiger Woods and Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo.  What better way to draw viewers in and fans into another non-major golf tournament but by assigning one of the marquee-celebrity-amateur-golfers with THE needle-moving marquee pro golfer on the tour?  It does raise an eyebrow however, because in the 156 amateur-pro pairings, is it really “fair” to couple a really good amateur golfer with an absolutely great pro golfer?  That would be like me and Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest) playing Michael Jordan and any of the Harlem Globetrotters on a two on two street “pro-am” basketball tournament.

Tony Romo is no slouch on the course.  In fact, it is reported that the Cowboys starting QB holds a 1 handicap on the course, even though some people (like Tiger himself) argue that Romo is more of a scratch golfer.  It made me wonder – of the various sports/film/tv celebrities that entertain us and fashion golf as a serious hobby, which of them are really that good and who are destined to call up Golf Central to be Hank Haney’s next project?

Here is my list of the top ten handicaps of very well known celebrity golfers:

10. Tom Cruise – Film Actor (Hcp: 23)

Looks like Mr. Scientology has plenty of time away from philosophical studies to hit the links as well.  I can’t say that I’ve actually seen him swing a club, but I’m sure knocking the handicap down a few strokes isn’t Mission: Impossible.

9. Ray Romano – TV Actor (Hcp: 18)

The “Everybody Loves Raymond” star recently worked with Hank Haney to help improve his game and find ways to be consistent from setup to follow through.  A strong showing in this year’s 2012 Pro-Am proves that it might have worked and may tame with his normally tongue in cheek negative attitude on the course.

8. Will Smith – Film Actor (Hcp: 14)

It comes as no surprise that an actor who has been involved in a golf film would have an appreciation of the sport.  The star of films such as Men in Black, I Robot and The Legend of Bagger Vance is said to have a pretty strong short game and may or may not have spent time honing these skills on the links of Bel-Air…

7. Bill Murray – Film Actor (Hcp: 13)

Even to this day, fans chant for a Carl Spackler quote any time this hall of fame comedian steps on the course.  Unfortunately for Murray, there was no Groundhog Day performance this year and he wasn’t able to repeat as champion for the 2012 edition of the AT&T Tournament.

6. Kevin Costner – Film Actor (Hcp: 12)

I try to think of any other actor who could have played Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy and I draw a blank.  It was as if the role was suited for him perfectly.  What I do know is if I played as reckless as he did in the movie, there is no way I could even be close to a 12 handicap.  Maybe a 112.

5. Clint Eastwood – Film Actor/Director (Hcp: 11)

At 81 years young and at a very respectable near single digit handicap, it is conceivable for this Hollywood legend to score his age for any given round.  Maybe it’s his ability to stay in good physical shape throughout the years, but I really believe it’s his ability to read greens accurately with his perma-squint that has brought him success even to this day.

4. Sylvester Stallone – Film Actor (Hcp: 10)

It’s hard for me to imagine Rambo walking around with a golf bag over his shoulders, Judge Dredd standing over a putt or Rocky yelling “fore” from the teebox.  But as it turns out, Sly is pretty good with the sticks.  Okay – I can actually picture him at the teebox after an errant shot, “YO, ADRIAN!!!!”

3. Michael Jordan – NBA Hall of Famer (Hcp: 4)

After basketball, golf is admittedly MJ’s favourite sport.  In an interview, His Airness claimed that golf was an incredible sport because it is one of those skills “you can never perfect.”  Given that statement, it makes sense why the greatest basketball player of all time retired from the NBA in 2003.  He perfected it.

2. Tony Romo – NFL QB (Hcp: 1)

It’s widely known in golf circles that Romo could conceivably earn a PGA Tour Card if he dedicated a little more time to refine his skills.  Given his competitive nature and natural athleticism, perhaps Romo is already setting up his retirement plans after the NFL (he probably has a better chance of winning some sort of championship in his golf career anyways).

1. Kenny G – Musician (Hcp: Scratch)

Like a golfer, an instrumental musician has to be good with his hands.  They both have to be creative and see/hear things like a true artist would.  Luke Donald is an accomplished painter in his spare time, so it makes sense that a world class musician would be an accomplished golfer in his spare time.  Maybe we’ve solved what the “G” stands for?

Oh by the way, a big congratulations to Harrington/McManus and Harman/Ontiveros for winning the Pro-Am portion of the 2012 AT&T Tournament.  Makes me think that with the right teammate, I might have a chance against Michael Jordan and the Harlem Globetrotter.

Click here for more discussion in the forums.

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Dennis lives in Calgary, Canada where golf is available (at best) six months of the year. The other six months are spent understanding the nuances of the game that make it so addicting and wonderfully frustrating. In a perfect world, Dennis would take his set of G10s and his D300S to travel the world playing and photographing the beautiful, unique landcapes of the golf world. For now, he sits at a desk and is developing an eight-layer golf ball simply called "The Tour Ocho."

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  1. Lauren Conrad

    Feb 16, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I was hoping that maybe you’d mention me in the article and almost thought you did when you spoke of a great golfer with a perma-squint. I’d love to be your teammate against MJ. Michael, you’ve little chance…
    LC

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Monday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, were, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures, and have WITB looks at Matt Jones and Roberto Diaz, in addition to a general gallery from the TPC Louisiana range.

Let’s dig in.

Matt Jones doesn’t need his name embroidered on his headcovers: tape and a marker will do just fine, thanks

Last week, Faaaabel the Goat. This week, someone who would eat Faaabel

Roberto Diaz: Brand agnostic

Wesley Bryan’s Taco Bell(t) lives

Homemade putting aid or soon to be seen on a Golf Channel infomercial (or both)?

UDI with a side of lead

Shaft bags: Assemble!

Roberto Diaz Fourteen RM wedge

What more do you need in life?

A bouquet of Circle T putter covers

Check out our photos from Monday below!

Monday’s Galleries

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Monday’s Photos from the 2018 Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards), designed by Pete Dye with consultants Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson.

The Zurich Classic is a unique event on the PGA Tour because it’s not an individual stroke-play event. Instead, the format consists of two-man teams playing best-ball on Thursday and Saturday, and alternate-shot on Friday and Sunday.

Last year, Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt won the event after four playoff holes against Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown. The Smith/Blixt duo will be back to defend their title, and the Kisner/Brown pairing will be back avenging their loss.

Other notable pairings in the field include Daniel Berger/Gary Woodland, Wesley Bryan/Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay, John Daly/Rory Sabbatini, Jason Day/Ryan Ruffels, David Duval/Jim Furyk, Tony Finau/Daniel Summerhays, Sergio Garcia/Rafa Cabrera Bello, J.B. Holmes/Brand Snedeker, Matt Kuchar/Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel, Sean O’Hair/Jimmy Walker, Pat Perez/Jason Dufner, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer, Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley and more!

Check out our photos from the event below!

Monday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Tour News

Tour Rundown: Moriya Jutanugarn and Andrew Landry win their first titles

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It was a week of firsts on two of the world’s major professional tours. Moriya Jutanugarn claimed her first LPGA title in an impressive manner, while 2016 U.S. Open surprise Andrew Landry seized control in Houston to inscribe his name on the winner’s trophy for an initial time. Elsewhere, a pair of underdogs upset the favorites at the Champions Tour’s Missouri affair, while two veterans added additional titles to their resumes in Europe and on the Web.Com tour. It’s an interesting brew in this week’s cauldron, so let’s give it a stir and see what we taste in this week’s Tour Rundown.

Landry holds off resurgent trio to claim Houston Open

Andrew Landry led that U.S. Open at Oakmont after day one, and hung around the top of the leader board until the fourth day. When his name resurfaced at this week’s Tour stop, few were certain he could hold off a resurgent Zach Johnson, the two-time major winner. Well, few other than Zach Johnson thought Landry might pull it off.

How Landry locked in

From the 10th hole on Friday, through the same hole on Sunday, Landry made zero bogeys. He had 13 birdies in that stretch, on a course that gives a few up, but not in buckets. That 36 hole run of brilliance, including birdies on Sunday’s first three holes, staked Landry to an advantage that he would not relinquish. For the entire week, only four bogeys dotted his scorecards, and two of those came on Thursday. Landry’s putter was hot all week, and his driving game was laser-accurate. The sum total: welcome to the winner’s circle, Mr. Landry.

Click here to see the clubs Landry used to win the 2018 Valero Texas Open

Who made a run?

It wasn’t Johnson. Iowa’s favorite son hasn’t won since the 2015 British Open, although his game has shown its old fire of late. Johnson couldn’t find a groove on day 4, making as many bogeys in that round as Landry did all week. In the end, Johnson had a top-5 finish, amid signs that another victory may not be far in the offing. Sean O’Hair had the low round (66) of the day, and that magic was enough to boost him to a second-place tie with young Trey Mullinax, who followed a Saturday 62 with a notable 69 to rock steady. Jimmy Walker, finally recovered from a bout of illness, had the day’s 2nd-lowest score of 67, and he moved all the way to 4th spot.

Mighty Moriya holds off Korean trio for first tour title

Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand has been close before. She has seen little sister Ariya hoist victory awards before. On Sunday, it was her turn. Jutanugarn and Marina Alex were two of the leader with no title to their credit, heading into the closing 18 holes. While the key to victory still eludes the young American, it was Jutanugarn’s turn to triumph.

What Moriya discovered on Sunday

Actually, she dug deepest on Saturday. The older sibling opened round three with a double bogey, stood 3-over on the day after six holes, and appeared to be sinking. The ship’s wheel steadied with two birdies and hole-out eagle coming home, and then it began the final day with four birdies and no bogeys in the first 15 holes. A late bogey served only to add faux drama, as Jutanugarn calmly closed the deal for victory the first.

Park, Young and Yeon can’t win this case

Reading a bit like a law firm, Inbee Park, Jin Young Ko and So Yeon Ryu made their runs at Moriya. Inbee had a bogey at the turn, and needed perfection on Sunday. She didn’t get it, so a tie for second was in the offing. Ko might have had the best opportunity at day’s start, but a 2-over outward nine took her too far off pace for a 3-under inward half, to provide recovery. She also came second, at 10-under. Ryu put an opening bogey behind with four birdies through 12 holes, but could not go deeper over the closing stretch. Her fourth-place finish was her best of 2018.

Levy wins for third consecutive year on European Tour

France’s Alexander Levy nearly has a five-year win streak. His first two tour titles came in 2014. He skipped 2015, but hasn’t missed in the subsequent years. His work in Morocco this week added up to a one-shot win over a literal blast from the past, Spain’s Alvaro Quiros. Eight golfers finished within three strokes of the top spot, adding drama to the finish at Royal Dar-Es-Salaam.

Nothing spectacular leads Levy to win

There were no great streaks of brilliance, no runs of multiple birdies, for the 28-year old. All that he did, efficiently, was make enough birdies to stay ahead of his pursuers. After bogey at the antepenultimate hole on Sunday, Levy responded with a dart at the par-three 17th, to re-establish his lead. The win was the fifth of his career.

See the clubs Levy used to win

Oh so close for Oh so many

Let’s begin with Quiros. The Spaniard, compared with Dustin Johnson (for his length off the tee) in his early years, has been adrift. Sunday was his best chance in forever to secure a tour title. His first 16 holes were a tangle of bogeys and a pair of birdies. The Iberian closed admirably, with birdies at the final pair, to claim solo second, one back of Levy. Also close were Mikko Illonen (tied for third with three others at 7-under) and England’s Andy Sullivan, one more back at 6-under, in a tie for seventh.

Two more for the road: Axley wins on Web, while Broadhurst/Triplett claim Legends

Eric Axley would have preferred to win his 3rd professional event in glorious fashion. He’ll take a rain-shortened title at the North Mississippi Classic, his second career Web.Com title and his first title of any sort in 12 years. Waaaay back in 2006, Axley won the very same Houston Open (see above) contested this week on the PGA Tour, and a bit of success was predicted for the left-hander. Success, as we know, doesn’t come to all hands, and Axley was able to birdie his final two holes on Saturday to stake a one-shot advantage. Tied for second were the USA’s Willy Wilcox, Columbia’s Sebastian Munoz, and Korea’s K.H. Lee.

Triplett and Broadhurst birdie 1st playoff hole for victory

The rules for the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf are slightly simpler than those of field hockey, which means that they aren’t very simple. Both courses in use boast par-3 holes alone, but each has a different number of holes, so numbers on the scoreboard are meaningless. With the two Spaniards (Olazabal and Jimenez), the defending champs (Franco and Singh) and two major champions (Lehman and Langer) in the mix, the undervalued pairing of Kirk Triplett (he of the hat) and Paul Broadhurst (he of the …) were not anyone’s favorites to emerge. And here we are.

No one seemed bent on making any heroic moves on Sunday, so it came down to which teams would find their way. Lehman/Langer joined the eventual winners at the 9th hole. Triplett played the hole to perfection: tee shot into bunker, bunker shot into hole, thank you very much. No birdie putts were holed, and the title belonged to the unlikely pairing of Kirk and Paul.

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