Dream Gig

By Whit WatsonSeptember 16, 2010, 12:01 am

Matt Kuchar and Will MacKenzie have tried to convince Mack Dalton to switch golf balls. Dustin Johnson and Rory Sabbatini have personally handed Dalton new clubs to try. Many of the recreational players who make tee times each week at GolfNow.com have done so at Dalton’s suggestion, and there’s no question that some of those players have purchased new equipment based on Dalton’s feedback.

You may not recognize the name, but if you watch a lot of golf on television, you probably know the face.

Mack Dalton is a 25-year-old actor who has found consistent work in advertisements for major golf manufacturers and retailers. He’s the kid you see in the Dick’s Sporting Goods ad, warping from the golf department into the parking lot (with Johnson) and then onto a freeway billboard (with Sabbatini). He appeared alongside Kuchar and MacKenzie in those “Bridgestone Challenge” commercials, admitting that he gained yardage over his previous golf ball. Dalton was also the ‘hack’ who couldn’t get out of the bunker in a GolfNow.com ad, and was once tapped as a tester for the Golf Digest Hot List.

Mack Dalton
Actor Mack Dalton has appeared in a variety of golf-related commercials.

If it sounds like a dream gig, well, it’s not all that it seems. It’s also not what Dalton originally had in mind for a career.

Dalton played high school golf in Orlando, “the sixth man on a five-man team,” he says with a laugh. He attended the University of Florida, which carries great significance within his family. Mack’s uncle is golf broadcaster Steve Melnyk, who was a three-time All-American at Florida, leading the Gators to their first NCAA Championship in 1968. Melnyk’s son, whose first name is Dalton, was an invited walk-on at Florida who eventually earned a scholarship under UF coach Buddy Alexander.

Despite the family connections to golf and Gainesville, Mack Dalton says he never seriously considered trying out for the Florida varsity team when he arrived on campus in the fall of 2003. “They were just too good for me,” he says, which is understandable – Coach Alexander’s roster over those years included players like Camilo Villegas, Manny Villegas, Matt Every, and Billy Horschel.

However, the lure of the game never left Dalton, who says he played golf “nearly every day” at Mark Bostick Golf Course on campus while working toward a degree in finance. Dalton says those first two years in Gainesville produced a marked improvement in his game.

“I really didn’t get to be at the level I am now until my sophomore year of college,” says Dalton, who has played a handful of USGA qualifiers and Florida State Golf Association events and now carries a scratch handicap. Perhaps spurred on by his resurgence on the course, Dalton switched his major before his junior year, moving to telecommunications and considering a career in sports broadcasting.

The new major led to on-screen roles in student film productions and freelance work off-camera with several regional sports networks, but it wasn’t until he returned home to Orlando after graduation and took acting classes that the dramatic bug bit. Dalton set aside the sportscasting dream and decided to focus on true “acting,” recently moving to Charlotte, N.C. to be closer to production hotbeds like Wilmington, N.C. and Atlanta. He’s appeared on the Discovery Health series “Dr G: Medical Examiner” – playing “the brother of a dead guy,” in his words – and has a lengthy resume in film, print and television.

Speaking of all the golf-related work that still seems to come his way, Dalton says he has no problem with it, as long as it helps further his career. “A lot of the independent films don’t pay,” he says. “You try to find a balance between things that get you where you want to go and things that pay.”

Those “things that pay” do bring some perks. For his role in the Dick’s Sporting Goods ad with Johnson and Sabbatini, Dalton was flown first class to Los Angeles and spent time during the shoot chatting with both players. He calls Johnson “very laid-back” and tells the story of DJ stopping at a kiosk near the shooting location to purchase his own copy of Phil Mickelson’s short game DVD. During shooting for the Bridgestone ad in Orlando, Dalton was also impressed with the easy familiarity of MacKenzie, who “talked about his journey from the whole snowboarding-and-living-in-a-van thing to being a professional golfer.”

Dalton’s goal is simple: “to be a working film actor.” He says he’s not driven by a need to be an A-list celebrity, but would simply like to be able to support himself and, someday, a family. He adds, “I still have a hard time telling people, ‘I’m an actor.’ A lot of the time, it seems like I’m not really doing anything. There’s work to be done, but sometimes it’s not work in the eyes of other people.”

Trading shots with the likes of Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson? Sounds like a dream gig – but as with most dreams, it takes hard work to get there.

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.