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Punch Shot: Which celeb do you want as partner?

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As we inch closer to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, writers debate which celebrity they'd like to spend the day with. While there are some obvious answers, others fly a little bit more under the radar. Good thing about this question is, there really is no wrong answer. Give us your take in the comments below.


Two years ago, I was dispatched to the Travelers Championship to shoot a TV piece with Carl Spackler himself, Bill Murray.

Instead of the standard Q&A that we've all seen a million times before, I aimed for something different. My goal was a feature in which I'd follow Murray around the course during his pro-am, talking to him as if we're old buddies and he wouldn't say a word. I know, I know. But trust me: It was even less hilarious than it sounds.

So I approached him on the driving range before he teed off, introduced myself and told him that I might ask him a few questions during the day, but he can just totally ignore me. "Well, I can do that!" he said extra cheerfully.

I didn't intrude too much, only speaking to him when he was walking down fairways and wasn't talking to any playing partners or signing autographs. And true to his work as brilliant actor, Murray ignored me the entire time.

To this day, I'm still not sure if he was ignoring me because that was the idea or because he just didn't want to be bothered. My guess is it was a little of both.

Anyway, he'd be the celeb I'd most want to hang with at Pebble Beach. I'd probably keep talking his ear off, acting like we were old buddies. Hopefully he'd actually respond back this time.


There are so many delightful possibilities, aren’t there? An NBA world-beater like Kris Humphries. A talented musician like Soulja Boy. A multi-platform star and entreprenuer like Nicki Minaj. Hey, maybe one day we can form that dream foursome.

But really, if I’m going to spend five-plus hours at Pebble Beach, soaking in the sun and ruining all of the spectacular views with atrocious shots, it better be with Will Ferrell.

The reasons, I suppose, are obvious. He’s a Cali dude, so he’d know his way around, both before and, most importantly, after. He actually plays golf, which is a bonus. He knows how to tell a good story. And he’d keep the mood light, which means I’d play terribly and not care in the least. 


Assuming that Ryan Lavner is unavailable, I’ll choose to play alongside Adam Duritz, the outspoken lead singer of the Counting Crows. Duritz may not carry a USGA handicap index, but he’s an avid sports fan and, let’s be honest – the scorecard takes a backseat when making your way around a course as beautiful as Pebble Beach.

A round of golf on the Monterey Peninsula is in and of itself a privilege, but to spend five hours (or so) shooting the breeze with one of the best songwriters of my generation would certainly add to the experience. If nothing else, we wouldn’t lack for conversation topics and the ever-relaxed Duritz likely won’t lose his cool when we inevitably combine for a three-putt double.


Bob Hope was “Mr. Golf.”

In the golden era of PGA Tour pro-ams, golf’s biggest stars were practically overshadowed by Hollywood’s stars. Hope, though, is one of just three celebrities enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame, joining Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore there.

Hope played in the 1951 British Amateur at Royal Porthcawl. He was once a 4 handicap. As a funny man, though, he was better than a scratch player. He documented his passion for the game in the book, “Bob Hope’s Confessions of a Hooker: My lifelong love affair with golf.”

Hope’s combination of skill and humor might have made him the greatest celebrity pro-am partner ever. He could reel off more entertaining one-liners in a round than any great pro could reel off birdies.

“I’m an international player,” Hope once said. “I can say `shank’ in 27 languages.”


Five hours with funnyman Bill Murray at Pebble Beach would be time well spent. Ditto for Ray Romano and Darius Rucker. But if you had to pick one all-time celebrity partner to play with at the National Pro-Am it would be the man himself, Bing Crosby.

The event that set the standard for celebrity golf is still referred to in these parts as the Crosby Clambake, the name it held until 1985 in honor of the famous crooner who invented the concept of the celebrity pro-am.

Crosby hosted the first Clambake in 1937 and the event is as unique now as it was then despite notoriously poor weather and a golf course rotation that has not exactly been among the most well-liked among PGA Tour types.

That’s all thanks to Crosby, who gave his name and personality to the event. He wooed his Hollywood friends to Monterey, including many members of the famed Rat Pack, and merged entertainment with sport in a way that had never been done before.

But more than anything Crosby was cool, entertaining galleries and amateurs with the perfect backdrop – Pebble Beach.

Arnold Palmer may have brought golf to the masses and Tiger Woods certainly introduced the game to an entirely new generation, but Crosby made golf cool.