Monday, March 19, 2012

Entertaining Golfers

The golf bug has struck many of the biggest stars in the various arts.  In the process, their passion for the sport enabled them to be some of biggest amassadors for the game.  Their exploits on the course also have proved to be entertaining, although usually not in a way they preferred.  There is no shortage of people we could have put on the list of most entertaining golfers.  Here are a few.

Jack Nicholson.  Nicholson took up the game at 52 and now adores it as much as his beloved Lakers.  I'll never forget seeing Nicholson at the Masters being whisked around Augusta National ina  cart.  From the look on his face, you knew Jack was loving every minute of it.

Justin Timberlake.  The singer is emerging as this generation's most notable golfer from the entertainment side.  A strong player with a single digit handicap, Timberlake showed his commitment to the game by attaching his name to the PGA Tour event in Las Vegas.

Charles M. Schulz.  Schulz was one of my biggest heroes thanks in no small part because he loved golf.  A low handicap player at his peak, Schulz made golf the subject of many Peanuts cartoons.  He often had Snoopy in the role of "World Famous Pro" Schulz once said, "The things I like best are drawing cartoons and hitting golf balls."

Alice Cooper.  You wouldn't think the conservative game of golf would be the favorite passtime for the outrageous rock star.  But he turned to the game while trying to overcome drug and alcohol abuse.  He became a single digit handicap player who can't get enough.  He even became an endorser for Callaway.  You could say he traded one addiction for another.

Bill Murray.  A former caddy on Chicago's North Shore, Murray created golf's most memorable character in the movies: Greenskeeper Carl Spackler in Caddyshack.  He also has stolen the show many times at the Pro-Am at Pebble Beach.  All of his antics have obscured the fact that Murray actually is a decent golfer.  As Spackler would say, "Cinderella story.  Outta nowhere.  A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion.  It looks like a mirac... It's in the hole! It's in the hole! It's in the hole!"

Bing Crosby.  The famous singer spent as much time as he could on the golf course.  He was an excellent player, good enough to enter the U.S. and British Amaturs.  He then helped popularize the game by creating the celebrity "Clambake" at Pebble Beach in 1958.  The last thing in his life he did was play golf.  While coming off a course in Spain, he suffered a heart attach and died at the age of 73.  His final words were "That was a great game of golf, fellas." Not a bad way to go out.

Bob Hope.  The man entertained troops carrying a golf club.  Need we say more?  Golf never was far from Hope, whenther he was in Hollywood or Vietnam.  He used golf to unite presidents, getting Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, who was in office at the time, to play with him at his tournament in Palm Springs.  He actually was a low handicapper, but he had more fun joking about his game. His famous line about golf was "If you watch a game, it's fun.  If you play it, it's recreation.  If you work at it, it's golf."  Hope's contributions earned him a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame.  His plaque reads, "Not a golf champoin but a great champion of golf."