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Fictional Golf Character Power Rankings

8. David Simms, Tin Cup

Nothing about David Simms is redeeming. His cool guy visors and hammy persona are nothing more than a disingenuous façade. We know this not only because he reeks of smarminess, but also because we witness him berating the elderly, swearing at children, and dissing puppies post-round while ripping a lung dart:

Simms is also the first ever PGA Tour player to unbutton 2 buttons on his polo to rock the deep V, which is a direct counter to Bubba’s fully buttoned choker shirt. This may be the one instance where I’ll defend Bubba because, dang it, this is golf, not a Miami nightclub. Worst of all, Simms is a guy who builds his golfing identity entirely around laying up.  While I respect his data-focused mindset in vowing to play the percentages – which makes him way ahead of his time in 1995 – I can’t understate how deplorable he is for laying up from 230. His tour card, man-card and credit card should have been revoked by tournament officials on the spot – #LPCP. 

Fictional Character David SImms
Sweater Vest, Yikes. Lacks Pop; Can’t Play

7. Auric Goldfinger, Goldfinger

goldfinger

The flaws in Goldfinger’s game are all too apparent. A true gamer doesn’t miss 1 footers no matter how many bars of gold are tossed onto the green while he’s putting. A true gamer also doesn’t need 5 waggles and 30 seconds to tap in a 1 footer. Not even Sergio circa 2008 was that yippy, but to be fair, it wouldn’t be easy to play against James Bond heads up in a match, particularly when he’s crafting overly complicated schemes to try to catch you cheating. Couldn’t Bond have simply called Goldfinger out for pulling the old “oh, here it is” routine when he couldn’t find his tee ball? Talk about passive-aggressive tactics.

6. Thomas Crown, The Thomas Crown Affair

His “it’s all in the hips” putting stroke is a chief indicator of a mediocre golf game, despite his above average bunker play (his sand shot prompted Nick Faldo to say “he must be an Aussie” because according to Nick, Australia is one giant sand trap). However, he gets points for having next level confidence and being a degenerate gambler. I heard that Phil tried to contact Thomas Crown to set up a Sunday Nassau after seeing this clip for the first time and was dismayed to find out that he’s a fictional character.

5. Spaulding Smails, Caddyshack

On the positive side of the ledger, it’s clear that Spaulding is not the laying up type. He’s a guy who stealthily finishes off spent cocktails at country club parties and boldly approaches floating excrement in swimming pools. To a fearless cat like Spaulding, staring down the barrel of 260 to the pin with water on the left is as relaxing as listening to Kenny G on Quaaludes. Unfortunately, Spaulding’s swing is more conducive to chopping wood than flushing iron shots. With a flatter swing and less Henrik Stenson-esque tantrums, he could be a nice player.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 5.28.48 PM
“Seems a little steep Johnny”

4. Hailey, I Love you Man

Hailey’s direct hit on Peter Klavin’s shin demonstrates true shot making ability: 

As much as Bubba shapes the ball, I’d like to see him hit a ball directly sideways with decent ball speed. If she adjusted for her shank-push by aiming 90 degrees left, she’d be notching GIRs left and right. Most impressively, she’s able to put a firm strike on the ball despite looking squarely at the target halfway through her backswing.

It’s similar to how Spieth looks at the hole on short putts only, like, 5 times cooler.

What an athlete...
What an athlete…

3. Happy Gilmore, Happy Gilmore

Happy Gilmore
Gilmore, Happy.

I’m going to make a bold claim: Happy Gilmore’s Tour Championship win is more impressive than Tiger’s dominant US Open win at Pebble Beach in 2000. Let’s break it down:

First, remember that Happy hadn’t been to a golf course until his late 20s. Considering golf dominance is basically a function of having the work ethic and discipline to practice for thousands and thousands of hours, Happy’s immediate success is like bowling a 300 on your first trip to the lanes. Beethoven may have composed his first piece at age 12, but I’d like to see him try to crank out a 400 yard drive.

At the same time, most would categorize Happy’s early career coaching as haphazard at best. Critics of Chubbs Peterson (RIP) have pointed out that he never actually worked with Happy on any technical golf skills save for a nonsensical putting lesson at a putt-putt course designed to help Happy cope with the all too common situation of immovable obstacles falling onto the green during tournament play. Rather, Chubbs simply gave him the mantras “find your happy place” and “just taaaaap it in.” Perhaps Dave Stockton could have tweaked Happy’s putting stroke to become more refined, but you can’t argue with the results Chubbs achieved just by focusing on the mental game. I’m also pretty sure that Chubbs wasn’t a coach at all, but rather a prophet. On the flip side of the coin, Earl Woods had Tiger start ironing out his swing while he was still in the womb. From there, Tiger employed the best of the best in Butch Harmon and Hank Haney. I like to think that if I had this kind of coaching access I would’ve won at least 2 majors by now. It’s practically cheating.

Let’s also consider the layout of the courses each player had to navigate. At face value, it seems like every tournament on the “Pro Tour” depicted in Happy Gilmore was contested on a mediocre muni course. Capping off the Tour Championship, supposedly the biggest tournament of the year, with a trouble-less 150 yard par 3 is a surprising move that reportedly caused Mike Davis to have a stroke when he found out. However, if you are to believe the “fly-by” camera shots of Happy’s drives, most of the par 4s on tour are 1000 yards and often require the golfer to play directly over 2 lakes. I mean, just check out the tee shot on the first hole of the Waterbury Open, which isn’t even a pro tour stop:

Happy Gilmore

Bobby Trent Jones must have designed the Waterbury track while in the throes of his LSD phase.  Not only are trees forming a wall 100 yards in front of the golfer in the middle of the fairway, but it’s at least 350 to carry this giant lake in the middle of the hole. So while you’d think Pebble Beach presents a more difficult challenge than the $25 a round muni’s the pros play in Happy Gilmore, the funky layouts make it a wash.

Tiger holds the obvious edge when it comes to caddy quality. While I find Stevie Williams to be morally bankrupt, he undoubtedly provides more value on the bag than a guy who has zero caddying experience and is actually bankrupt.

I’d also like to point out that Happy was able to overcome what I’ve estimated to be a sextuple bogey during his final round to pull out the win. What the movie failed to explain is that Happy, in addition to being a prodigious if unconventional golfer, also possesses magical powers that make sextuple bogeys only drop him one shot. That’s some serious Houdini sorcery. I’d like to see Tiger pull that one off. He couldn’t even move his ball a quarter of an inch without everyone flipping out.

Finally, let’s also remember that Happy was struck squarely by a Volkswagen Beatle in the middle of his final round. That had to be disconcerting. Tiger is no stranger to playing through pain and adversity himself. His US Open win with a torn ACL ranks up there on the Willis Reed Scale of Heroic Injured Athlete Performances™. Regardless, it doesn’t compare to being struck by a car mid-round.

2. Shooter McGavin, Happy Gilmore

shooter
SHOOTER BABY!

If the montage sequences in Happy Gilmore are accurate, then we must conclude that Shooter won something like 10 tournaments in the 1995 season, which would eclipse Tiger’s 9 wins in the 2000 season as the most wins in a season in the modern era. This is no small feat, especially when you consider that Shooter accomplished this run while having shoddy caddying (a 5 iron for a 25 yard pitch in heavy rough? Please) and no swing coach. An unfortunate ruling requiring Shooter to play from a patron’s foot paved the way for him to make the most impressive par in recent PGA history, solidifying his legendary status. Frankly, I’m surprised that a 30 for 30 hasn’t been made about the 18th hole at the Tour Championship yet.

Shooter is also unequivocally at the top of the official Tour Sauce power rankings based on his bad-ass “shooter” celebration, his swagger oozing post-round interviews that Patrick Reed undoubtedly studies for inspiration, and his penchant for ripping stogies while cashing oversize victory checks. Shooter sports lacy sweater-vests over Tom Ashworth polos on Sundays. Enough said.

shooter
“I’m too busy winning.”

1. Roy McAvoy, Tin Cup

Roy McAvoy
The unfinished follow through of a true NLU hall of famer…

As much as I enjoyed the Andrew Landry underdog story in this year’s US Open, his story pales in comparison to Tin Cup’s US Open run. If some guy ranked outside of the top 1500 who operates a shoddy driving range as his day job qualified for the 2016 US Open and shot 83-62 (also known as a “Reverse Camilo Villegas”) in the first 2 rounds, I might actually have passed out from excitement. At the same time, no one takes the No Laying Up creed more seriously than Roy McAvoy. He literally has “NLU ‘til I die” tattooed on his left butt cheek, and I heard that shortly after his US Open antics, he tried to run for Texas State Senate strictly on a No Laying Up platform. For that, he has our unwavering respect and admiration.

Alright, let the argument begin: what fictitious sticks did I leave out?

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  • Robbie Vogel

    I respect the deep cut Spaulding reference, but no love for Ty Webb here? There’s documented first-hand evidence of him shooting a round in the 60s (via Danny’s retelling of the story to Judge Smails).

    • nolayingup

      You’re right. Ty’s combination of a DGAF attitude and blindfolded putting were enough for him to crack the list. This was a gross oversight…Also, makes me wonder if Ty’s roommate and night putting savant Mitch Comstein should make the list. Sound like that guy #Fuqs…

  • Josh Ciarletta

    How the hell is Capt. Junah not in this list? The guy engineered a miraculous total swing rebuild in 2 days, then rebounded from a PTSD induced case of the shanks mid tournament to chase down the immortal Bobby Jones and Walter Hagan. Furthermore, the Cap was absolutely committed to Never Laying Up despite holding final round leads and facing imminent bunker issues, the man chose to sack up and take 1 iron out of a bunker over water. Results be damned, one must applaud the spirit of it all.

    • Tim Collamore

      a 1 iron out of a bunker over water? In my mind, that accomplishment is literally enough to warrant a Presidential vote. I might write in Capt. Junah on the ticket this fall – deceased/fictional or not. I’m almost disappointed in myself for not getting all the way through Bagger Vance now.

  • Mgar6577

    Do we know what Roy’s final round ended up being? He shot like an 83 62 63 and got a 12 on the final hole.

    • Justin

      Sure, but who wont that US Open? Everyone’s gonna remember his 12 on the final hole! 🙂

  • Gary Popovich

    What? No Eric Stratton from Animal House, who nailed Niedemyer’s horse in the ass from 220 yards?

  • Trever E

    OBVIOUSLY you missed Ty Webb!! He is top 3 without even taking into account his height – this oversight almost invalidates the entire list.

  • Brian MacInnes

    You failed to mention that Shooter made a no-look putt (not a tap in by any means) in the middle of a professional golf tournament. Now THAT is Tour Sauce.

    • Tim Collamore

      Of all of the egregious omissions I made in this half-baked analysis, this is by far the biggest oversight. #TeamTyWebb has made a compelling case that has left me embarrassed, no doubt. While Ty Webb is also no stranger to the putting trick shot game, he choked HARD when the stakes got “high” (the Bushwood rubber match is hardly the Showdown at Sherwood, let’s be honest). No-look 20-footer in a professional golf tournament = sauciest mic drop this side of “Obama out”

  • Justin

    Are we counting video games, or just movies? I ask because Goofy in “Disney Golf” for the PS2 was a BEAST.

  • Justin

    Are we counting video games, or just movies? I ask because Goofy in “Disney Golf” for the PS2 was a BEAST.

  • Sean

    Loving #4, great choice. Although, Hailey’s direct hit is on Sydney Fife’s shin. Even after he said he didn’t golf with women! Stings that much more.

  • Aman Misra

    No mention of Kenny Lee Puckett – Dead perfect solid?

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