This story about Phil Mickelson gambling on a movie set is gold

Tin Cup is one of the better golf films ever made. Thanks to’s detailed oral history of the film, we were treated to some memorable anecdotes. Ron Shelton, the co-writer and director, talked about his insistence that the film uses real Tour professionals throughout the movie:

“We needed to get some professional golfers in the movie to give it a flavor of authenticity. So we started calling, and their agents wanted $50,000 for an appearance, like it was a corporate outing. We were like, “No, we’re offering them $600.” And they all said no way. Then Gary McCord (technical advisor) had a great idea.”


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Tasked with enticing golfers, McCord asked their wives to dinner:

“How’d you like to have dinner with Kevin Costner and Don Johnson? The catch is, your husband is going to have to be on a movie set for a day.” We rented a big room in Tucson and let Kevin and Don loose on the girls. I told them, “Be Hollywood, and bulls— with these women; make them tell their husbands they have to do this movie.” In the end, we got 35 players, four U.S. Open winners.”

With 5,000 extras and a set full of golfing talent, some of the stories that emerged were hilarious:

Phil Loves a bet:


(Source/Phil Mickelson).
(Source/Phil Mickelson).

Cheech Marin: “I’ll tell you a story no one’s ever heard. We were between scenes, standing around, and someone came up with a bet. There was this really tall pine tree, and someone said to Phil Mickelson, “I bet you can’t put your shoulder against the tree, drop a ball and hit it over the tree.” The shot basically had to go straight up. Everybody threw in a hundred bucks. I think there was $1,200 in the pot. And he did it! When the ball was still in the air, Mickelson bent over, picked up the money, and put it in his pocket.”

Houston and temptation:


(Source/CBS News).
(Source/CBS News).

Gary McCord: Houston wasn’t good for a lot of the guys, because it’s got a lot of topless bars. We were sitting in dailies, watching the footage from the previous day, and there were a lot of extras in the background. And Ron goes, “Hold on! Stop!” And he uses a laser pointer to point at these three girls with serious cleavage. And he goes, “All right, whose are those?” And an arm goes up from someone on the crew. The girls were from one of the t—y bars.”

Phil Mickelson seems obsessed with having a flutter. He loves getting amongst the “action” on practice rounds, and to be fair, if I had the disposable income, I would too.

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