Mexico Meets Canada in California
How could a guy who just spent a week in Kapalua, asked the red-hot comic actor of Mike Weir, be as white as the day he left?
Masters sun block, deadpanned the low key Canadian, slipping comfortably into the role of straight man.
I think youre using mayonnaise, Lopez fired back.
At the first tee at Bermuda Dunes for round one, the duo grew to an ensemble cast. Film star Samuel L. Jackson and legendary burnout Cheech Marin joined Mike and George.
The Incredibles of color, quipped Lopez, referring to the animated hit in which Jackson played the super cool super hero, Frozone.
About Cheech, who played the loyal and loopy looper to Kevin Costners Roy MacAvoy in Tin Cup, Lopez said, If we stay upwind everythings fine, although I brought a sheriff over to check his bag.
Cheech told the good natured law enforcement official, Its OK as long as you dont have a dog.
In the end, Weir registered more laughs than birdies in a tepid round of 71. The shot of the day actually belonged to Lopez.
I hit a five wood at 18 five feet above the pin, the 14 handicap recalled. It never left the flag and Mike was right over my shoulder watching the whole time.
That has to be the best shot you ever hit, Weir said at the time.
It was, confirmed Lopez.
The 18th at Bermuda Dunes alongside a couple of pop culture icons and a Masters champ is a long, twisting dog leg from the Mission Hills section of the San Fernando Valley where Lopez grew up.
I used to hit lemons with a garage sale three wood in our backyard, remembers Lopez of his introduction to golf in the early 80s. The only other club I had was a seven iron but we used that to keep the door closed so the dog wouldnt get out.
Lopez was raised in a lower middle class area primarily by a stern grandmother. An only child who filled the lonely hours watching comedy on television, his early idol was the late, great Freddie Prinze, who starred in the 70s sitcom, Chico and the Man.
Tiger Woods hung pictures of Jack Nicklaus in his bedroom as a child and dreamed of breaking his records. George Lopez hung Prinzes picture on his wall. In his New York Times bestseller, Why You Crying?, he writes, Day after day I stared at it, thinking, I can be a comic. I can do what Freddie is doing. I want to make people laugh.
His first mini-break, what Lopez calls a minor fracture, came with an appearance in the early 90s on The Arsenio Hall Show. The big shot came in the late 90s at the Improv in Southern California. Actress Sandra Bullock was in the audience. Blown away, she approached him after his spot and said she wanted to do a show.
Today, with Bullock as executive producer, Lopez anchors his own prime time hit, The George Lopez Show on ABC on Tuesdays at 8:30pm.
It allows me to close those painful circles that began as a kid, he explains. Instead of being angry and shutting down I turned it into music on the other end. Its beautiful.
His enormous success has allowed him to move from that lemon tree in his backyard to a whole different golfing neighborhood. Hes a member of fabled Lakeside, whose roster once listed W.C. Fields, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope and today includes Ray Romano, Joe Pesci and Jack Nicholson.
Lopez has a second home at Pebble Beach above the 15th hole. Its the most peaceful, tranquil place Ive ever been, he said. When youre putting on the 7th green, its like youre hanging on to the end of the world.
Hell play the upcoming AT&T for the second time, and is intent on helping to put what he calls a fresh coat of paint on The Hope.
Getting set for his second round, George is dressed in pinstriped slacks, an argyle sweater and teal shoes.
Right out of Duck Soup, he cracked. If I showed up in the hood dressed like this, everyone would yell, Narc!
Hoping to witness one last glorious and well played comedic stroke, I asked George if its harder to be funny when you have money.
Since Im Mexican, he began, people assume I dont. I bought a Porsche. People looked at me funny like I was takin it to get detailed. So I got rid of it.
Good shot, George. Good shot.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.
The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.
It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.
The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”
Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.