Thursday, February 5, 2004
Everybody loves Raymond but me. I hate Raymond. Well, it’s not that I hate Ray Romano, star of the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. I don’t really hate anybody. But I sure do get tired of watching his lousy golf game on the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (God that’s a mouthful).
It’s not just him. I’m tired of watching all those big shots out there compiling cumulus-high scores while their accompanying professional politely looks on. Maybe Scott Simpson enjoys playing with Bill Murray—who wouldn’t? But three days of Neil Young, Huey Lewis or Kevin Costner flubbing around the golf course is too darn much.
Romano is an 18-handicap. Kevin James of The King of Queens, another show I don’t watch, is also an 18-handicap. I play with funnier guys at the local muni whose games are better than that. Plus, at $40 per day for a ticket to the tournament, my buddies are a better deal. And I get some exercise.
I will admit there are a few guys I don’t mind paying to watch play golf—Murray (a reported 13.4-handicap) at the top of the list. Craig T. Nelson of The District is not only a credible actor, but a decent stick, whose handicap hovers around five. One guy we’re promised to get a glimpse of this year is George Lopez, of the show of the same name. Hopefully his golf talents match his comedic ones.
But Kevin Costner? Nada. A 12-plus-handicap, Costner ain’t on my list. Neil Young? Sorry. Rust never sleeps on one’s golf game either.
I know, I know—the celebrity thing is tradition, and it’s the reason Bing started the tournament in the first place—to help bring people to Pebble and the Peninsula, maybe even to boost local businesses during a shoulder season. And the Pro-Am is a remarkably admirable charity event—it raises serious money for many causes around Monterey County, including several YMCAs, Salinas Valley Junior Golf, Animal Rescue Foundation and KUSP (wait, how did the Santa Cruz-based public radio station sneak in there?). It’s just that all the other PGA events manage to keep the pro-am element in perspective by devoting one day—generally Tuesday or Wednesday—to the corporate bosses and celebrity hacks, as opposed to every day at Pebble.
Granted—few tournaments manage to get such a turnout of movie and television stars and musicians. And CBS is obviously in the habit of using the tournament to hype their own shows and stars for February “sweeps” (see above). But is it just me who has hit celebrity overload? Maybe it’s because the minute-by-minute coverage of the Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez relationship just kinda hit my “Shut Up Already!” button.
I say we get it all out at once: Ben vs. Jen, 18-holes, match play. Loser has to deal with the media. And while we’re at it, let’s settle a few other things, too. How about Bruce Willis vs. Ashton Kutcher for Demi Moore’s affection; Adam Sandler vs. Bill Murray in clown suits for the title “Funniest Golfer;” or reformed drug addicts Rush Limbaugh vs. David Crosby in prison jumpsuits (just for fun). How about Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jackson, their attorneys caddying (hmmm… just like real life!). CBS can broadcast the whole thing as a Survivor episode.
And here’s an idea: Let’s pit Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Martin Sheen, nationally televised, with all proceeds from broadcast rights and advertising going to pay down California’s budget deficit. They would have to play straight up, because even though Sheen is a reported 16-handicap to the Gov’s 24, we all know the Republican expertise in raising funds is superior, so let’s call them even. And for Sheen, such a showing might go a long way toward smoothing ruffled feathers caused when new episodes of West Wing are so few and far between.
Imagine the television appeal of Catherine Zeta-Jones (a reported 20-handicap) vs. Anna Kournikova (who cares what her handicap is?). Now that’s a good use of celebrity golf.
So how about it, Clint? Sure, you and I have only met once, way back when you were mayor of Carmel and both of us were bellied up to the bar at Club XIX with soup on our ties, but will you give this stuff some thought? As chairman of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, the organization that calls the shots on these types of things, you have some pull.
No? Didn’t think so. Dribbled clam chowder only goes so far.
George Fuller’s 17-handicap stinks up local courses regularly. CBS is not televising his rounds.
George Fuller’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Wish List
1. I wish it was still called “The Crosby” or “The Clambake.”
2. I wish they still had a clambake.
3. How about two days of celebrity golf and then let’s get down to some professional golf?
4. People in the gallery should be allowed to bring their cameras again—why have celebrities if you can’t take photos of the shenanigans?
5. I wish Jack Lemmon were still with us.
6. I wish Jack Lemmon had made the cut, just once.
7. I wish we didn’t have to park way out at Fort Ord these days, and I know a whole bunch of Carmel, Pacific Grove and Monterey merchants who wish the same thing.
8. If they’re going to persist in calling it the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, I wish they would add “(God That’s a Mouthful!)” to it.
9. Or maybe they could call it the “AT&T Pebble Beach Formerly The Crosby National Celebrity CBS Sweeps Tournament with Oh Yeah Some PGA Tour Professionals Too.”
10. I wish I were invited to participate as a celebrity golfer. My handicap is sure big enough.