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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."

1 Comment

1 Comment

  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 News

Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut

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Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB

Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.

(c/o PGATour.com)

We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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Tiger Woods shoots an opening-round 72 (1-over) at the 2018 Genesis Open

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After hitting just 17 fairways all week at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T23, Tiger Woods switched driver shafts and added 0.75 degrees of loft in his TaylorMade M3 driver ahead of the 2018 Genesis Open this week. He went from using a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX shaft, to a Matrix TP6HDe shaft — he used a TP7HDe shaft back in 2015.

So how did the switch work out for him at Riviera CC on Thursday?

Well, he hit driver 9 times during his round of 72 strokes; four went right — one of which got lost in a tree and he had to re-tee — one went left, and four found the fairway. He hit 8-of-14 fairways in total; no Fred Funk, but an improvement. Woods’ bigger issue on Thursday, actually, was that he hit only 7 greens in regulation, leaving himself a few tricky up-and-downs. Despite hitting only 38 percent of greens, Woods managed to make 5 birdies, and he continues displaying prowess on the greens (1.784 Strokes Gained Putting, and 82 feet worth of putts made).

He also showed some flashes of old Tiger with Arnie-esque follow through.

Of course, that means he missed the fairway way right, and he did go onto bogey the hole, but the shot made for some excitement on golf twitter, at least.

According to @RandallMellGC, Tiger described his round in a post-round interview: “I fought hard. I made a few simple, silly mistakes, bad shots here and there, missed on the wrong side, made a few birdies as well. 1-over’s not bad.”

Yea, that’s about right.

Tiger currently sits at T66, and six shots off the leader. Lots of golf to play, but he’ll likely be contending with the cutline come Friday afternoon. How do you think Tiger will finish this week at the 2018 Genesis Open?

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Tour News

Bill Haas injured in fatal car crash in Los Angeles

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Bill Haas was involved in a fatal car crash in Pacific Palisades, Calif., site of the Genesis Open, Tuesday night.

The 35-year-old was riding in the passenger seat of a Ferrari driven by a member of the family with whom Haas is staying this week. According to LA County fire officials, the Ferrari collided with a BMW driven by a 50-year-old woman. Haas and the driver of the BMW were transported to a local hospital. The 71-year-old male driver of the Ferrari was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Ferrari also reportedly “clipped” a vehicle driven by actor Luke Wilson prior to the rollover. Wilson was not injured, per a police report.

Per PGATour.com, Bill Haas’ manager, Allen Hobbs of Players Group Management, released the following statement Wednesday morning.

“Last night in Pacific Palisades, California, Bill Haas was involved in a serious car accident in which the driver—a member of the family with whom Haas and his family were staying for the Genesis Open—was killed. While Bill escaped serious injuries and has been released from the hospital, he is understandably shaken up and—more importantly—his deepest condolences go out to the host family during this tragic and difficult time.“

“Bill will withdraw from the Genesis Open and plans to head home to Greenville to recover. He appreciates the support of friends, family and the golf world as a whole, and he has asked for privacy as he processes what has happened.“

Geoff Shackelford tweeted this video of the KTLA coverage of the crash.

Bill Haas’ father, Jay, spoke with Todd Lewis on Golf Channel’s morning drive earlier in the day, saying his son was “very fortunate.” Beyond swelling in one of his legs and pain, Haas sustained no serious injuries, according to his father.

See the discussion in the forums here

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