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Televised golf could use a big injection of humor and irreverence

Tim McDonaldBy Tim McDonald,
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Bill Murray, who has done some baseball commentary, would be a great golf analyst. (Courtesy photo)

Bill Murray, Chris Rock, Norman Schwarzkopf and Charles Barkley would be excellent part-time color TV commentators who could draw newcomers to the game.

Televised golf needs a kick in the pants. It seems every announcer, with the exception of Johnny Miller and possibly Nick Faldo, is too worried about saying something that will get him in trouble. Just ask Kelly Tilghman.

Miller is seen as a blunt-spoken rebel only because he works in the comparatively bland and uptight world of golf commentators. In most other domains, he would simply be thought of as honest.

They need to spice it up. They'd draw more fans.

Remember when ABC tried out Dennis Miller on Monday Night Football? Yes, it was a disaster, but it was a good idea - well-conceived, just poorly executed.

You might remember Bill Murray doing commentary for the Cubs. It was hilarious and added to, not detracted from, the broadcast.

This is what golf needs, if only on a part-time basis. I have some suggestions for the networks and cable outlets.

This is not a joke. I'm serious.

Bill Murray: Murray was pulled over in Stockholm for admittedly driving drunk in a golf cart. He refused a breath test, saying he was protected by U.S. law. Later, Murray responded: "[The police] asked me to come over and they assumed that I was drunk and I explained to them that I was a golfer."

He's an avid golfer and once worked as a greenskeeper at the Evanston Community Golf Course.

He's written a book called: "Cinderella Story - My Life in Golf."

At the height of his fame, after "Ghostbusters," Murray took off four years to study French at the Sorbonne. He isn't your typical Hollywood swell. He doesn't even have an agent or manager.

Norman Schwarzkopf: I'd love to see "Stormin' Norman," the blunt-spoken former general, do golf.

"When you get on that plane to go home, if the last thing you think about me is 'I hate that son of a bitch,' then that is fine because you're going home alive," he told his troops.

He got a reputation for a famous temper while radioing passing American Hueys to stop and pick up his wounded men. He ain't going to put up with any nonsense. The players would love him because if they went down, they'd know Schwarzkopf had their back.

Charles Barkley: The worst golf swing in the world analyzing the best.

Ellen DeGeneres: DeGeneres did a hilarious interview with Tiger Woods. She seemed to have a very good rapport with him, asking him: "Did you ever go through a period when you were just wild?"

Woods smiled and said no.

"Why don't you do yoga?" she asked him.

"Too slow," he said.

"So is golf," she said.

Chris Rock: On his show, Rock went to Harlem in a golf cart, asking people provocative questions about Tiger Woods and other golf subjects. Asians rejected Woods as one of their own, as did African Americans.

Rock then took to the tee, where he flailed wildly.

A helicopter buzzed overhead with a loudspeaker: "Negro, get off the golf course before you hurt yourself and others."

Hilarious.

Sophie Sandolo: She'd be better as an on-course reporter. Full-body shots.

Chris Matthews: Matthews is probably the only media person who would interrupt Woods during an interview.

John Stewart: He's just funny.

Others who could audition:

Sharon Stone credits golf with saving her father's life when he went through radiation and chemotherapy. She plays in the Los Angeles area to a handicap of around 40.

Hugh Grant plays to a 7.4 handicap, often at Dunhill Links in Scotland. You can never get enough British accents in golf, especially spoken by the bumbling, affable Grant.

Dennis Kucinich. Wacko politicians are always welcome.

Ron Paul. See above.

Cheech Marin. Cheech plays to a 9.8 handicap. He could tell us why he and Chong are getting back together.

Sylvester Stallone. Rocky plays to an 11.4 handicap. If ever there was a voice not made for golf, it's Stallone's. They should team him up with Grant.

Don Rickles, the king of insults. Imagine his post-round interviews. How would Rory Sabbatini react when Rickles called him a "hockey puck?"

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Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

 
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