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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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry