Mexico Meets Canada in California


2005 Bob Hope Chrysler ClassicGeorge Lopez scratched his thick black hair, wondering about his playing partner at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
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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