04/01/2015

Golf is a hobby of most actors. Given what’s out there, let’s be thankful acting isn’t a hobby of most golfers. Part of the appeal of “The Golf Boys” and the ilk is the downhome awkwardness that permeates the whole production. These are regular guys and regular guys don’t act well. At least, in my experiences.

Driving Series

The great thing about that, though, is some of the best commercials in golf play off the stiffness of the subjects involved. Not the case in the commercials running right now featuring Jordan Spieth and Hunter Mahan, taking golf commercials to perhaps, the next level.

Jordan and Hunter are both gold in the PGA Tour’s new commercials. Check them out and tell me you didn’t crack a smile during Jordan’s brain freeze.

Jordan Spieth “My PGA Tour Buddy”

Hunter Mahan “My PGA Tour Buddy”

I first remember this idea of “best friends” between the regular guy and the professional athlete with the old John Elway ‘Lycos’ commercials.

When looking back, let’s start with a recent campaign that we wrote about not too long ago.

Matt Kuchar would give contestants on my proposed game show “Professional Golfer or Accountant.” He’s the perfect spokesman for Skechers.

Here he is talking about driving:


And here’s putting:

Now, that’s not bad from Kuchar. The whole “golf’s not hard” plot line is as good a joke as any. Which is why Tiger Woods and Nike used it way before Kuchar even reached the PGA Tour.

See here:

And why not here too:

Somehow Matt Kuchar’s standing as the Tiger Woods of Skechers makes a whole lot of sense. But as good as the above commercials are, they can’t touch Steve Stricker for Avis in quality. Steve Stricker doing his best Payne Stewart impression here…

Steve Stricker Avis

“I’m more than in the zone…I’m a savage.” Perfection.

Not all ads need to poke fun of golfers to succeed. Take for example the European Tour’s “Every Shot Imaginable” campaign. “Magicians” is Oscar-worthy in and outside the sports world. Maybe it doesn’t qualify as a commercial at well more than three minutes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great.

Rory versus the Robot is another classic that helped lift McIlroy’s profile. He laughed willingly both at himself and the machine he was facing. Hot take alert: it’s hard to imagine Tiger doing the same at his peak.

What about when Rory and Tiger went at it?

Other sports have featured in more “This is Sportscenter” commercials, but golf’s offerings have been stellar.

Here’s Tiger:

Phil Mickelson:

Rickie Fowler:

Bubba negociates a tree:

Rich Beem (!):

And my all-time favorite from the golf selection, Arnold Palmer showing us all what true genius is:

But the best golf commercial, the one that stirs emotions and truly affects the viewer? It’s this one:

I’m sold. See you next week, Bubba.