We had our first taste of live professional golf for more than two months when four of the game's biggest names took part in a charity event. And, writes Alex Perry, it was more The Hangover than The Masters
You knew it was going to be a special night when the opening shot on the 1st tee was a wide angle revealing the four players stood at that distance which we’ve all spent the last eight weeks wondering if it’s far enough.
It became very apparent early on that this was no ordinary PGA Tour round of golf. The players were mic’d up, carrying their own bags, the facial hair was inexplicable, and they were wearing shorts. There’s a reason players aren’t allowed to wear shorts. It’s because no one looks good in shorts.
This was golf’s multi-million dollar stag do. But instead of Blackpool, it was one of the most exclusive clubs in the world. And that at least explains the lack of women.
Rory McIlroy was the desperate-to-impress best man who, when he wasn’t calling Dustin Johnson “Deej”, was referring to him as “pardner” in a faux mid-west accent.
But McIlroy’s desperate attempts to be funny fell flat in front of his audience of Johnson, the bride-to-be’s brother who spent the entire four hours looking like he’d only invited the day before.
Rickie Fowler played the role of the guy who thinks he should have been best man – at least he got the novelty shirt memo – and was charged with looking after the excitable younger brother in Matthew Wolff.
And like any good – or, indeed, bad – stag do, el banter did flow.
The cameras missed Wolff giving McIlroy some chat but the World No 1 snapped back: “I think you forget I’ve won two FedEx Cups totalling $25 million – that doesn’t faze me, youngster.” Barely 20 minutes into the broadcast and a timely reminder of the grotesque bonuses dished out at the PGA Tour’s season finale.
Not long after, Wolff, in one of the many sandy areas on “the property”, as it was constantly referred, at Seminole asked “Deej” if he was in a waste area. Unfortunately the director missed a golden opportunity to cut to see Johnson’s face but the on-course pundit explained that “DJ did not like that comment”. Wolff spent the rest of the round laughing a little too hard at all of Johnson’s jokes. Don’t worry, he’ll make up for it later with a round of Jager Bombs.
Then we had our first live guest as celebrity golfer Bill Murray joined from his home in LA. And in true your-dad-on-FaceTime style, his camera was at an impossible angle that left everyone wondering how he even got it in that position. Then in true your-dad-on-FaceTime style, he ignored all of host Mike Tirico’s questions and talked about his own game. In the end, they cut him off when Tirico was trying to call a couple of live shots and the man that was in Ghostbusters tried to splutter out the classic “he spends more time in the sand than David Hasselhoff” gag.
Who invited Bill, for crying out loud? We had to, mum insisted. But at least your racist grandad isn’t here.
Well, until the second live guest, celebrity golfer Donald Trump, joined on the phone from the White House (so he said). Trump kept starting sentences and not finishing them, as if someone was stood in front of him making cut throat gestures every time he started drifting into inappropriate territory – which, to his credit, he kept in double figures.
It went on way too long, there were more bad jokes than good shots, and it was felt so much like Comic Relief that we spent most of the evening wondering when Lenny Henry was going to appear.
But none of this matters, because millions were raised for incredible causes and, perhaps more importantly, we learned that players being mic’d up during rounds must absolutely become the norm.
See you at the wedding in Augusta. And remember: What happens at Seminole stays at Seminole.
All jokes aside, it was a fun evening that raised an incredible amount of money for the worthiest of causes and TaylorMade and the players should be congratulated for it. But one thing is very clear: It’s a firm “no” on a fan-free Ryder Cup.
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