Loopers! Outstanding Documentary In Theaters Friday, Narrated By Bill Murray

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It’s in the hole!

Loopers hits a hole in one!

Carl Spackler is back as a grizzled narrator!

Cannes, you missed out not showing Loopers.

Sorry, doing my worst KFRQ-TV movie ad blurb tryout.

We don’t get many great golf films so run out and see this wonderful look at all things caddie. Here’s the list of theaters and just some of the cameos include: Ben Crenshaw, Michael Greller, Carl Jackson, Rick Reilly, Nick Faldo, Greg Puga, Curtis Strange, Fanny Sunesson, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Steve Williams and Fuzzy Zoeller, plus rare footage from Augusta National!

Josh Sens with a rave review at Golf.com,

The full trailer:

For Immediate Release:

“Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk,” Narrated By Bill Murray, Debuts in U.S. Theaters Friday, June 7

CLEVELAND, OH, USA (June 4, 2019) – “Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk” (www.loopersmovie.com, @loopersthemovie), the most thorough feature-length film documentary ever developed on golf’s historic caddie profession, will make its nationwide theatrical debut on Friday, June 7, with approximately 100 locations in 30 states across the United States.

The film, narrated by famed actor and former caddie Bill Murray, has drawn critical acclaim in early 2019 with positive reviews and best documentary awards from the Cleveland International Film Festival in early April and the Newport Beach (CA) Film Festival in early May. The film concluded the film festival circuit last Sunday with the Greenwich, CT, International Film Festival.

The “Loopers” U.S. theatrical release begins on Friday, June 7 – the week before the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. A listing of locations, to be continually updated throughout June, is included at https://www.loopersmovie.com/see-the-movie.

Reviews of the film have touted the film’s accuracy and interest beyond just golf: 

  • “… wishing ‘Loopers’ could be a series with each vignette an episode. Better yet, with striking panoramics of St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Bandon, Carnoustie and other world-renowned courses, “Loopers” is reminiscent of the BBC’s “Planet Earth” series, educating while aesthetically captivating.” – Golf Digest (March 2019)

  • “(Bill Murray) does not have a demanding part – he narrates the 80-minute long documentary and makes a short on-camera appearance – but it is sure to be regarded as one of his finest films.” – Chicago Tribune (June 3, 2019)

  • “I’ve only played a handful of rounds of golf in my life, and I don’t particularly care about the sport. Still, I found ‘Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk’ compelling. Any time you get somebody talking about their life’s work you’re probably going to get some good stories.” – Filmthreat.com (February 15, 2019).

  • “Loopers charts the history of golf from its origins in Scotland to modern times. Traditionally, the caddie’s mantra was to ‘show up, keep up and shut up.’ They were banned from the clubhouse and treated poorly. However, they became an important part of the sport, acting as the player’s technical adviser, psychologist and confidant.” – Sunday Times, Ireland (February 2, 2019).


Also, private viewings for clubs or organizations can be made by going to www.loopersmovie.com/request-a-screening. An international debut in Europe is scheduled for June 21 at the Edinburgh (Scotland) International Film Festival – www.edfilmfest.org.uk/edinburgh-international-film-festival.

Dates/Times: June 7 throughout the summer.

Locations/Tickets: https://www.loopersmovie.com/see-the-movie

Trailer: Go to www.loopersmovie.com

Directed by Jason Baffa (@jasonbaffafilms)

Produced by David Brookwell, Jim Packer, GEM Pictures, Clark Cunningham, Ward Clayton

Written by Carl Cramer (worked with Baffa as film editor on his previous films)

Narrated by Bill Murray

80 minutes 

New Caddyshack Book Excerpted: Rodney Got Just $35K To Play Al

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Chris Nashawaty's upcoming book on the making of Caddyshack has been excepted on Golf.com and this preview is a fun read, focusing on casting with all sorts of detail.

“We brought Rodney in to the studio,” says Jon Peters, Caddyshack’s executive producer. “He comes in wearing this aqua-blue leisure suit and takes out a plastic bag and does two lines of coke. He undoes his shirt and says, ‘Where's the p----?’ ” It was a hell of a first impression. Dangerfield would end up getting $35,000 for his role. And though he would always credit Caddyshack for launching his movie career, he would often do so while complaining that he actually lost $150,000 on the film, having given up a month of headlining in Vegas to shoot it. 

Holy cow...not even last place money in a WGC event. Rodney in Caddyshack was living under the actor poverty line.

The book is out April 24th.

Summer Of '76 Preview: Q&A With Rich Lerner

Golf Channel Films unveils its next project – Summer of ’76 – Tuesday, July 18 at 9 p.m. ET and, if you've seen the promos, there is no shortage of 70s fun and funk. But that's a mere teaser for what is the most unusual and spunky production Golf Channel has put on the air.
While the film centers around the Johnny-Seve duel at the 1976 Open, it's also a film about 70s. Narrated by actor Tim Matheson and co-produced by Israel DeHerrera, Golf Channel host Rich Lerner and James Ponti, it is written by Lerner who answered a few questions in advance of Open week and the film's Tuesday debut.

GS: You’re credited as a writer and co-producer with Israel DeHerrera on this, so tell us how this project came about and what inspired you to add more work to an already full slate as Golf Channel’s lead announcer?

RL: As part of our relationship with the R&A, we’re producing one documentary film each year.  With The Open returning to Royal Birkdale, we began to look closely at 1976 because of the two principal characters, Johnny Miller and Seve Ballesteros, both charismatic and even transcendent figures. But what really excited me was the chance to explore the 1970s, with all those legendary tough guys with homemade swings, the cool style, wood and steel, and so the piece is as much about that period as it is the Open of 1976 and I think people are going to really enjoy it.

In terms of the additional work, it’s always a labor of love.  Plus, I need projects to pass the time with all my travel!  And Izzy DeHerrera, who’s dogged and brilliant, did a lot of the heavy lifting along with James Ponti and Max Miller.  Also, I’d done long form specials years ago, like New York Stories, in which I followed five people, involved in some way in golf, who were impacted by the events of 9-11;  Se Ri Pak, A Champion’s Journey; and an hour on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  In terms of storytelling, I wanted to get back to that sort of depth.

GS: How was the process of a film like this different than your day-to-day job covering live golf and did you enjoy it?

RL: It’s similar in some ways to doing a long feature story, though in this case you’re constructing six and trying to keep them connected over the course of one hour.  We lay out a storyboard and get busy, knowing we’re going to do an entire segment on what the golf scene was like in the 1970s, another on Europe’s inferiority complex with Americans having dominated, another on Seve and who he was and where he came from, another on Johnny and just how ridiculously good he was at that time.  The interviews were a blast, talking with Johnny and Peter Jacobsen and Roger Maltbie.  That was their time, and they light up and get totally engaged when you take them back 40 years. 
GS: The promos have some great footage and music for fans of the 70s, was part this to highlight the culture once lampooned and now better appreciated from an arts or sports perspective?

RL: Look, we all have the same reaction when we look at our old pictures from the ‘70s.  What was I thinking?  But that’s what it was, big hair and platform shoes and wide collars and Sansabelt slacks.  I mean, even Jack Nicklaus, who came of age in the brush cut 1950s, let his hair down.  People weren’t so buttoned up.  In fact, they were showing chest hair!  We try to capture the vibe in interviews with among others, Peter Frampton and one of my all-time favorites, Walt “Clyde” Frazier.  And yes, it’s easy to poke fun at that decade but what also made it great was that it wasn’t so corporate.  It was looser and boozier, with stiff shots on and off the course.  Think too about how good it was musically with originals like David Bowie, The Allman Brothers, The Ohio Players and golf had plenty as well like Trevino, Floyd, Wadkins, Miller and of course, Seve.  They don’t make ‘em like that anymore, do they?  So yes, I do think people will come away with a renewed appreciation for that time, or at least smiling at the memories.

GS: What in particular are you most pleased with in how the final product came out?

RL: From the start, we approached this with the idea that we were in a Mustang with the top down and an eight track cranking tunes.  Let’s just have some fun.  And I think that’s what I’m most pleased about, that it’s a good time.  Plus, it’s “golfy” in plenty of places.  I love the Seve back story, coming as he did from a farm in Spain.  And when Johnny explains that he actually mimicked several different swings from several other legends, it’s just a fantastic insight into the way high level performers approach their craft.   
GS: The Open returns with a bit of chaos at the top of the sport, with seven straight first time major winners and a few who’ve already seem declines in their games immediately after winning. After putting this film together and exploring that generation, do you think we have the potential to enjoy a similar decade with a group of stars or do you sense the amount of money in the game will make careers shorter?

RL: Both Johnny and Tom Watson are adamant that the 10 best from the ‘70s would be tough to beat in a head-to-head against the 10 best from today.  Why?  Because you had to win back then to really earn.  Guys knew how to close.   Now, we all agree there’s far more depth of talent today. 

But when you’re 23 years old with 7,000 square feet and an ocean view you might be inclined to say, “This is good enough.”  That said, I do think today’s great young stars want it as badly as those from previous generations.  And I also think about Arnold Palmer after he won The Open in 1961 at Royal Birkdale.  He arrived back home in Latrobe to a big celebration.  His father, Deke, said, “Congratulations son, now the back nine needs to be mowed.”  Arnie put down the Claret Jug and hopped on the tractor at the club where he grew up.  There comes a time when a man, no matter how rich and how famous, needs to get back to work.

The trailor:

Roundup: Tommy's Honour Reviews, Filming Backstory

The LA Times' Kevin Crust gives Tommy's Honour a very positive review, calling the film "handsomely produced" while weaving in current (golfing) events with his review.

He writes:

Connery and his crew, including director of photography Gary Shaw, production designer James Lapsley and costume designer Rhonda Russell, richly evoke the harsh beauty of Scotland, while warmly re-creating the style and manners of the period. There’s a certain “Chariots of Fire”-like reverence for all things golf and Scottish, but the woolly courses, a far cry from the manicured fairways of today, and comparatively crude implements used by the players, provide an earthy balance.

Variety's Peter Debruge gives a largely glowing review though does take issue with the golf swings.

While there's a certain charm in seeing these early sportsmen dressed as though ready for mass (no kilts, alas), the golf scenes are undone by the fact that no one can actually swing a club. For some roles, actors will learn to play an instrument of master a manual skill, but there's none of that authenticity here. Instead, Connery has gone back in post and unconvincingly inserted digital balls, which defy the laws of physics as blatantly as the CG goo in Disney's "Flubber." The strategy robs us of what little thrill golf has to offer, whether spectating live or on TV, as impossible shots remain precisely that: impossible.

Thankfully, Connery has kept the story's human side grounded in the real world, and those are the only stakes that matter.

Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times slaughters the film, calling it staid.

Redolent of damp wool and dour personalities, “Tommy’s Honour” wants to convince us that watching two men bicker and bang balls into tiny holes for the better part of two hours is the height of entertainment.

Not that I wasn’t open to persuasion. For one thing, this staid biopic was prettily filmed in my beloved Scotland and directed by Jason Connery (the son of Sean Connery).

Peter Rainer, reviewing for the Christian Science Monitor leads by saying Tin Cup is the best golf movie ever made and...I stopped reading.

Adam Schupak in the Morning Read talks to the film's producers about what inspired their desire to turn Kevin Cook's book into a film.

The Old Course in its present state was too manicured to represent the 1860s and ’70s. Striving for authenticity, the filmmakers found Balcarres estate, about 30 minutes south of St. Andrews. Funny enough, golf's most cherished temple was reproduced in a cow pasture. Once the filmmakers relocated the cows and cut down the weeds, they built two holes, including the famed 18th. That meant digging a Swilcan Burn and the bridge that golfers know and love.

"There's a little movie magic involved," said Keith Bank, one of the producers, noting that the snow in a winter scene was shot with paper on a 60-degree day.

Positive Tommy's Honour Reviews In Advance Of Friday's Theatrical Debut

Long anticipated and getting an incredible marketing push (at least based on television ads in the States), Tommy's Honour hits theaters Friday. I haven't seen it but the buzz seems very positive.

Joel Beall has a quick assessment of early reviews at GolfDigest.com, noting that the early Rotten Tomatoes score puts it ahead of that modern masterpiece Tin Cup. Down boy, down! 

Author Kevin Cook, who was interviewed last July on this site before the film was sold to American distributors, also answers nine questions from the USGA's Mike Trostel.

A link to the final (full length) trailer.

A nice map of filming locations that'll come in handy once we've seen the film. 


Tin Cup "Wishes Nothing But The Best" For Seve The Movie's U.S. TV Debut

Brace for impact: Seve The Movie has (at least temporarily) bumped Tin Cup from Golf Channel's prime time.

Pointing to a pair of Tuesday morning airings as assurance that character actors Gary McCord, Peter Jacobsen and John Cook will still receive their normal residuals, the Tin Cup team has assured us fans they will be back. The team suggested a comeback is in order once everyone sees how Seve The Movie lacks the layered roles, original plot twists and the nuanced writing making Ron Shelton's 1996 film a Golf Channel staple.

"We stand by our timeless story and the many, many lives changed by better understanding the plight of struggling mid-90s mini-Tour players," the cast and crew said in a statement. "We know that Cheech Marin's supporting performance remains one of the Academy's great oversights and we're confident the many Golf Channel airings have proven this. However, we wish nothing but the best for Seve The Movie."

While Tin Cup is entirely fictional, Seve The Movie (8 pm ET, Tuesday March 7) is a "docudrama" that sounds utterly fascinating. From the Golf Channel description:

Combining archival footage with dramatic recreations, the film will delve into the life of the beloved Spaniard from his young upbringing – where at age six he taught himself the game with a broken 3-iron strapped to a stick – to becoming the top-ranked golfer in the world.

Ballesteros was one of the sport’s leading figures from the mid-1970’s to the 1990s. He won more than 90 international tournaments in his career, including five major championships, and is widely regarded as playing a leading role in the re-emergence of European golf by helping the European Ryder Cup team to five wins both as a player and a captain. In 2011, Ballesteros passed away at age 54 after a long bout with brain cancer.

The Guardian's Ewan Murray gave the 2014 film a rave review.

Here is director John-Paul Davidson explaining the project and what Seve meant to him.

In other news to keep an eye on for Tin Cup's diehard fans, Golf Channel is debuting "The Making of Tommy's Honour" immediately following Seve The Movie. Tommy's Honour hits theaters this April.

From the release and note Jordan and Shawn Spieth's role in the show:

Golf Channel will take a behind-the-scenes look into the Making of Tommy’s Honour, a historical drama based on the challenging relationship between “Old” Tom and “Young” Tommy Morris – the father-son team who ushered in the modern game of golf – in a half-hour special airing tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Tonight’s behind the scenes special will include interviews with the cast, director Jason Connery, producers and key crew. Jordan Spieth and his father, Shawn, also will be a part of the special, dressed in the wardrobe of the “Morris era,” playing a round of golf with replica hickory golf clubs and discussing what it would have been like to play in that era. Tommy’s Honour, which premiered in 2016 in the U.K. and won the Best Feature Film Award at the 2016 British Academy Scotland Awards, is scheduled to make its U.S. theatrical debut on Friday, April 14.

Here is Seve The Movie's trailer

Trailer Released: Tommy's Honour (U.S. Edition)

As I watched a few minutes of Tin Cup today prior to the start of the 2017 season, I became wistful thinking that some day soon it will only run 20-30 times a year on Golf Channel instead of 400.

That's because Golf Channel has the television rights to Tommy's Honour, directed by Jason Connery, written by Pamela Marin and Kevin Cook and based on the novel by Cook. The film stars Jack Lowden, Peter Mullan, Ophelia Lovibond and Sam Neill.
Roadside Attractions will release Tommy's Honour in theaters on April 14, 2017. This newly-released trailer gets the juices flowing if you love the book or simply would like to go back in time to see the early glory days of golf.

The trailer:

Tommy's Honour Coming To U.S. Theaters In March 2017

Look out Tin Cup! We may only get thirty chances to see you next year! How will Cheech get by without those residuals!?

Anyway, I can't wait to see the film adaptation of one of my favorite books. You can see clips of it here and read this Q&A with author Kevin Cook from earlier this year.

For Immediate Release:


Deal includes unique partnership with NBC Sports to promote “Tommy’s Honour” from theatrical release through its debut on Golf Channel

September 20, 2016 – Roadside Attractions has acquired from Gutta Percha Productions the U.S. rights to TOMMY’S HONOUR, the critically-acclaimed drama that was the Gala Opening Night film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The film is about the real-life founders of the modern game of golf and is directed by Jason Connery (THE PHILLY KID, 51, THE DEVIL’S TOMB). Pamela Marin and Kevin Cook wrote the screenplay, an adaptation from Cook's acclaimed book of the same name, which won the United States Golf Association's Book of the Year award in 2007. Keith Bank of KB Partners (HEAVEN IS A PLAYGROUND), who negotiated the deal, serves as producer along with Bob Last of Holdings Ecosse (L’ILLUSIONISTE, SUNSET SONG), Jim Kreutzer of Wind Chill Media Group (JUST WRITE, LAST GREAT RIDE) and Tim Moore of Top Dawg Productions (SULLY, AMERICAN SNIPER, GRAN TORINO, INVICTUS).  Tony award winner Kenneth Whitney executive produces with Keith Bank. The film will be released theatrically on March 24, 2017.

Roadside’s deal covers theatrical, DVD, VOD and pay rights with Golf Channel securing basic cable rights..Beginning with the theatrical release, there will be strong synergies between Roadside, Golf Channel and NBC Sports Group to maximize exposure during televised golf tournaments, via its digital reach with sports fans and other key promotional opportunities.  International Sales are being handled by Timeless Films.

TOMMY’S HONOUR is an intimate and powerfully moving story of the fractured relationship between Scotland’s Golf Royalty -- Tom and Tommy Morris, the dynamic father-son team who ushered in the modern game of golf.  

Matching his father’s success by winning his first of four Opens  at the age of 17, Tommy’s (Jack Lowden, DUNKIRK, '71, DENIAL ) flamboyance and fame outshine Tom’s (BAFTA nominee Peter Mullan) stellar playing record and respect as founder of the first Open Championship and local caddie master, greenskeeper and club and ball maker. Set against the early days of the sport and stunning landscape of Scotland, the story speaks to the universal themes that still exist today -- familial disharmony, class struggle and complicated love stories. Tom’s jealousy of his son’s success taints their personal relationship but together their professional relationship is front-page news.  Against Tom’s wishes, Tommy rebels against both the aristocracy led by R & A chief Alexander Boothby (Sam Neill, JURASSIC PARK, THE PIANO) and against his parent’s wishes in his compelling yet tragic relationship with Meg Drinnen (Ophelia Lovibond, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, MAN UP).

"We're very excited to release this emotional and beautiful film set in the sport's original home of Scotland.  We expect it will appeal to both the smart film crowd and golf aficionados alike," said Howard Cohen, Co-President of Roadside Attractions.

Q&A With Kevin Cook, Author Of Tommy's Honor

I resisted picking up Tommy's Honor in my usual fear of fictionalized versions of real stories and a cover that suggested it was going to be a downer. But for me it has become the best pre-Scottish golf pilgrimmage reading and one which I now crack open before heading to Scotland. (Note to self: don't judge a book by its cover.)

Any concerns about the Tommy's Honor storytelling related to golf's founding father and his decorated son are promptly eliminated when Kevin Cook takes us back to Old Tom's days in Prestwick. He captures a genuine sense of what these brave, slightly-nutty characters did to transform the idea of whapping a ball around on fescue turf and into the sport we have today. The former Golf Magazine editor does it with a perfect mix of historical accuracy, soulful storytelling and cinematic flair.

Cook's 2007 book, winner of the USGA book award, is an essential and entertaining way to learn about the early days of golf and The Open. It's become an essential piece of reading prior to making a Scotland golf pilgrimage.

Given the book's early focus on the first Open Championship at Prestwick and an Edinburgh Film Festival screening of the film version receiving encouraging reviews (here, here, here), the author kindly answered questions about his work.

No distributor has been finalized for the film with a screenplay by Cook and wife Pamela Marin. But since the film has just hit the festival circuit (clip's below Q&A), and we should be able to see it later this year or in early 2017.

GS: What compelled you to tackle the seemingly impossible task of re-creating the life and times of Old Tom, Young Tom and the founding of golf? 

KC: My wife, Pamela Marin, took me to Scotland for my first pilgrimage in 1986. I showed up at the Old Course at dawn and was lucky enough to play with three locals, Peter, Peter and John. They blessed me gravely when I descended into the Hell Bunker and laughed when I hit a grounder and called it a worm-burner. To them that’s a “scalded cat.”

They also talked about Tommy Morris. I knew about Old Tom, but the more I learned about his son the more I was drawn to this untold family drama with a tragic love story at its heart—all revolving around the dawn of professional golf.


GS: How many years was the book in the works research-wise and what kind of interesting things happened along the way in digging through archives for this?

KC: First came 20 years of filing away bits and pieces of the story. Then I got fired as editor of Golf Magazine. Seemed like a good time to write that book! In 2005 I rented a room in St Andrews and spent a couple weeks haunting the university library. That was the first of several trips, with side trips to the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, other archives in Scotland and the library at Royal Liverpool, where Tommy won the first big pro tournament outside Scotland in 1872. I hit a few worm-burners there before the 2006 Open Championship.

Along the way I made friends. One I’ll never forget was the late David Malcolm, a St Andrean who was one of the smartest and warmest people I ever met. (His Tom Morris of St Andrews: Colossus of Golf, co-written with Peter Crabtree, is a more scholarly approach to Tom’s life.) We compared notes and shared research. Our families became close, and we even house-swapped. David and his wife, Ruth, a gifted artist, got our pad in New York while Pamela and our kids and I stayed in their home in St Andrews.  


GS: Old Tom’s Prestwick years have always seemed to be a bit of a mystery, yet you get right into them early on in Tommy’s Honor. What went into the Prestwick research and does Old Tom Morris get enough credit for his role in helping create The Open?

KC: Ian Bunch, then the club secretary at Prestwick, welcomed me to the upstairs archive where I pored through records of Tom’s 14 years there, including the invitations (on robin’s-egg blue paper) summoning crack golfers to the first Open Championship in 1860. Tom organized the whole thing, working with his patron James Ogilvie Fairlie and the wealthy, sporty Earl of Eglinton. Tom hit the first tee ball—just as the wind blew his necktie up over his face, blocking his view—and came in second to his rival Willie Park.                 

Kevin Cook and Pamela Marin, photo by Ken Kubik
GS: As a writer and historian, did you struggle at all with taking what you researched and how you made it into a narrative, even if you were perhaps fictionalizing at times? (As a reader you never come across as either uncertain in your take, nor overly presumptuous about the circumstances they faced). 

KC: One surprise was how much specific information there was to tap into. During a time of what was called “Golfomania,” newspapers in Scotland and England tried to outdo each other in covering the game. I wore out a microfiche machine or two reading shot-by-shot accounts of famous matches. It was like discovering box scores from the very first baseball games.

Tom lived until 1908. As an eager publicist for his sport and his town (and his clubmaking business) he gave loads of interviews and loved to reminisce about Tommy. Many of their contemporaries wrote memoirs and gave interview of their own. David Malcolm’s research turned up fascinating details about Margaret, Tommy’s wife, which he generously shared with me. One of the great pleasures of writing the book was connecting the dots between countless details and putting them in context.

Yes, it had to hold together as a narrative. I was lucky to have a story that’s inherently dramatic, literally life and death. But there are times when you make storytelling choices, which boil down to educated guesses. For instance, I’ve got Tommy needling Tom about his lousy putting: “You’d be a fine putter, Da, if the hole were always a yard closer.” Now, I certainly don’t claim to know that Tommy said that on the hole where I’ve got him saying it, but he did tease his father, and Tom remembered that line decades later.          

GS: How did getting the book to the big screen come about? 

KC: A movie producer named Jim Kreutzer picked up my book on a golf trip to St Andrews and called to ask me about it. This was in 2012. Good timing. My wife, Pamela, a journalist and author of a well-received memoir, was remaking herself as a screenwriter. It’s an utterly different kind of writing—and thinking—and she’d written a script that got attention in Hollywood. That one didn’t get made, but it proved her ability. When the time came to make a deal for Tommy’s Honor, I optioned the book with one proviso: We write the script.

GS: The film looks visually stunning, but naturally, all golfers want to know is: did they make the golf scenes realistic?

KC: Jim Farmer, the R&A’s honorary professional and a former British Club Pro champ, did a terrific job as the actors’ golf coach. He got a surprise at first. During the casting process Jack Lowden, who plays Tommy, said, “Oh yes, I’ve been a golfer for years.” Because that’s what you do as an actor—if they ask if you can ride a horse or breakdance, you say yes. Later he told Jim he’d never swung a club in his life. But Jack’s an athlete as well as a brilliant young actor, and with Jim’s help he built a swing that’s authentic to the period. One thing I loved about Jim Farmer’s work was that the swings are authentic but different. Willie Park’s swing isn’t like Tommy’s.

There’s a crowd reaction that’s totally real. The great Peter Mullan, who plays Tom, had to make a ten-foot putt on a bumpy 19th-century green. He must have missed fifteen times. Each time, director Jason Connery reset the shot and the gallery got pumped up again. At last Peter knocks it in and the crowd goes genuinely wild.

The CGI people did a remarkable job recreating the blizzard of 1875 for one key sequence. And the biggest laugh in the movie comes during a favorite scene of mine, a caddies’ tournament that’s straight from the archives.       

GS: How did the trimming process go for making the book into a film?

KC: As the screenwriters Pamela and I did our own whittling, sitting side by side at the computer in early 2013. If I showed you our first draft you’d see that its structure, tone and dialogue account for about 80 percent of what wound up onscreen. Jason Connery was a joy to work with and had a bunch of good ideas that we incorporated. Jason grew up playing golf with his famous father; he’s got this story in his bones.

GS: Is there anything since the book was published that you have learned that might have changed your approach to the “characters”?

KC: I think we got it right. Tom Morris was modern pro golf’s founding father. Tommy invented a new role—he was the first touring professional. Tour pros should tip their hats to Tommy every time they tee off on Sunday.

And I think or at least hope that my work, and the script of which Pamela was the lead writer, will remind readers and moviegoers that the game’s pioneers weren’t stained-glass icons out of ancient history. They were brave, tough, star-crossed strivers living in a fascinating time.


GS: What does it mean to you that your book is now often cited as required reading before golfers make the pilgrimage to Scotland for the first time?

KC: That’s the best compliment I ever got. Tommy’s Honor began with my first pilgrimage to St Andrews. If the book and movie contribute to others’ experiences, I’ll have done my bit to honor Scotland and its people. 

Tommy's Honour clip one:

Tommy's Honour clip two:

First Review Of Tommy's Honour

The Independent's Geoffrey McNab reviews Tommy's Honour following the film's debut at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Based on Kevin Cook's terrifc book, it is directed by Jason Connery.

He writes:

There are a lot of whiskers and sideburns and plenty of thick tweed on display in Jason Connery’s Tommy’s Honour, which opened the Edinburgh Film Festival on Wednesday night. This is a golfing movie but not one in the vein of Happy Gilmore or Tin Cup. It is a sturdy, handsomely made Scottish costume drama, set in St Andrews, Fife, in the late 1860s and early 1870s. The film tells the story of Tom Morris Sr and Tom (“Tommy”) Morris Jr, a father and son who transformed golf and won multiple British Opens.

“Are you daft? You need a mashie,” one character is told in the middle of a game. That’s a reference to a club called the niblick, not to a way of cooking potatoes.

Connery evokes an era in which players strutted the Old Course at St Andrews in heavy jackets and caps, hats and bonnets, using wooden shafted clubs to hit hand-made golf balls off very rough looking fairways onto bumpy greens.

A preview clip:

Terry Jastrow Screens His Golf Film, Festival Circuit Is Next

The longtime producer/director perhaps best known for his work at ABC has directed a film called "The Squeeze."

Sounds interesting...but it has a ways to go before the public sees it.

For Immediate Release:

Terry Jastrow Announces Completion of His First Feature Film, The Squeeze, Targeted for Theaters Spring 2015

Los Angeles, CA - Multiple Emmy-winning TV sports producer/director Terry Jastrow announced his first film "The Squeeze" will hit theaters in the spring of 2015. Jastrow wrote and directed the caper-golf movie, which recently had its first industry private screening at United Talent Agency in Hollywood to an enthusiastic audience that included film distributors, cast and crew, Terry's wife and co-producer, actress Anne Archer, and golfer Phil Mickelson.
"The Squeeze" is a true story about a young man from a small southern town who gets caught in between two notorious gamblers, until the stakes become a matter of life or death. The film, which stars Jeremy Sumpter ("Friday Night Lights"), Christopher McDonald (Shooter McGavin in "Happy Gilmore"), Jillian Murray and Michael Nouri has been submitted to the Toronto Film Festival in September.
"Making this movie is a dream come true," says Jastrow, the longtime ABC Sports producer and director. "For many years as a sports director working for the legendary Roone Arledge, I was schooled in the art of storytelling...'the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, the human drama of athletic competition'...and am very pleased to apply those concepts now to movie making."
A seven-time Emmy Award winner, Jastrow has produced or directed more major championships than anyone in history, with 62 U.S. Opens, British Opens and PGA Championships. Now Jastrow has turned his attention to writing and directing feature films and stage plays.
Next up for Jastrow is a play he wrote and will direct this summer at the world's largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The play -- entitled "The Trial of Jane Fonda" -- stars Archer. Performances run July 31-August 24.

Andy Murray Invested In Seve Movie, Admits To Sandbagging

Bob McKenzie reports for the Express that Scottish tennis great Andy Murray invested in Seve The Movie, released June 27th, in part because of his dad's admiration for Ballesteros.

McKenzie writes:

"We went to watch the tournament in Gleneagles quite a few times which was just down the road from our house. I haven't played golf since I started having problems with my back and since the surgery, I haven't bothered trying to be honest.

"I will wait till I have finished (my career)."

Not that you would want to play Murray for 50p by the sounds of it.

"When I used to play for money, I always used to play off 16 or 17," he says with a smile.

"I have never lost a game of golf for money in all the times I have played. I don't know what my handicap was exactly but that is what I used to play off. "Everyone got hacked off when I was playing against them."

Murray plays Kevin Anderson in a fourth round match Monday at Wimbledon, reports The Guardian's Kevin Mitchell.

Henry Fitzherbert of The Express raved about Seve The Movie, calling it...

absorbing, beautifully shot picture (brilliantly edited by Saska Simpson) cleverly combines archive footage of Ballesteros with a dramatic re-enactment of his youth featuring a charming performance from young unknown Jose Luis Gutierrez.

Ewan Murray previewed the film for The Guardian and noted this about the lead actor:

José Luis Gutiérrez, who plays the young Seve in the early part of the film, should be underplayed. This is a role bearing a heavy weight of pressure and responsibility. Even for Gutiérrez – a 16-year-old with a handicap of four – Ballesteros is iconic to the level that he admitted to being “frightened” about not being up to the task.

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw called Seve The Movie “engaging enough” and writes:

a misty-eyed tribute that, in DVD form, is destined to rest on the memorabilia-packed shelves of legions of golf-crazy guys from Dallas to Dumfermline.

No release date outside of the UK and Ireland has been set.

The trailer:

The Light Still Very Much Out In Bill Murray's Closet

Lindsey Boetsch Tweeted a few shots from the Murray brothers' annual charity event in St. Augustine, and it's clear that Bill Murray is determined to look as (beautifully) awful as possible. 

But the Lama shirt is pretty sweet. Wonder how long before his people ask for royalties?