The Golf Boys: Ranking Ben Crane and the PGA's Newest Boy Band
Aside from Arnold Palmer, there really hasn't been a charismatic, magnetic figure in the modern world of golf. As beloved as Jack Nicklaus was and still is, he was widely considered "drab" and "robotic" during the early years on Tour.
And while there have been plenty of colorful heroes along the way—Lee Trevino, Sam Snead, John Daly, etc.—the PGA Tour doesn't have quite as many "characters" as some of the other sports. After all, that's what you'd expect from a country club sport that prides itself on integrity and tradition and is so much a "gentleman's game" that players keep their own scores and enforce their own penalties.
And while that probably won't change any time soon, it's nice to see that some of the younger generation of golfers can still be goofy and a bit silly even in such a buttoned-up sport.
Case in point the new internet videos featuring Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Ben Crane and Bubba Watson (my choice to win this week at Congressional).
They've put out a faux music video and introspective look into the mind of a PGA Tour pro. Judge for yourself, but here's a ranking of worst to best.
No. 5: Ben Crane Better Correct That Slice
Best Word To Describe Video: Plagiarism
I think Crane tried to drive the green here on a long par-four and ended up slicing the tee shot OB.
This video is a total knockoff (or I suppose "homage" to the more forgiving eye) to Ty Webb's zen-golf approach to the game in "Caddyshack"...and to a lesser extent, "Caddyshack 2."
He's one step short of putting on a blind fold and telling the camera man to "be the ball" and "see your future, be your future. May, make, make it, make it. Make your future Danny. I'm, I'm a veg."
Again, the only saving grace on this one is the unitard-helmet combo he's wearing. Would love to see that as his final-round attire this week at Congressional.
No. 4: Ben Crane and the Dance Academy
Best Word To Describe Video: Creepy
In classic US Open form, Crane followed up that disaster (the last video) at the previous hole with another nightmare effort.
There's nothing wrong with Crane getting his swerve on, but the costume and facial hair changes—and worse yet, the no-shirt look—just are too much.
I assume he's going for some kind of Andy Samberg, so-weird-it's-funny approach but if this were a golf shot, he completely flew the green.
The only thing cool or interesting about this video is the first three seconds when he smacks a putt that hits the flag stick.
I hate to say it, but the old man might need to leave the yuck-yucks to the younger kids.
No. 3: Ben Crane Scrambles for a Par
Best Word To Describe Video: Redemption
Crane righted the ship and kept his round from spiraling out of control with this nice effort.
If you've been to the gym lately you see a lot of abs workout wonders—thanks a lot, Jersey Shore—attempting the latest and greatest new routine with a ball or an ab-doer or a rope or a hockey stick or a jar of grape jelly or whatever.
I think Crane and the Golf Boys find the craze a bit absurd and that's where they went with this one.
For one, the helmet is PRICELESS, but the "snake shaker" is the clincher as is the wack-a-mole.
No. 2: Ben Crane's Slow-Play Woes
Best Word To Describe Video: Crowd-pleaser
Another solid, not spectacular, effort here from the former Oregon Duck.
It's nice to see him take a jab at the slow players on Tour, who probably frustrate their peers far more than it does us watching at home. And, as he hints, the backing off a putt is far more maddening than just standing over the ball for 20 seconds.
The antics around the green and on his way from hole to hole are cute and comical, but I think it's the understated elements that keep this from being a bogey or worse.
The quizzical look and eyebrow raise he gives the camera when mentioning he needs more time, the rhetorical "do you like everything about yourself," the whispering of his mantra "you can play faster" are all far more subtle and as a result far more hilarious than the slapstick.
No. 1: Oh Oh Oh Video
Best Word To Describe Video: Teamwork
Like the Ryder Cup, a group effort got it done here.
Crane's shtick still works, largely because of the outfit, but it's Mahan, Folwer and Watson that seal the deal.
The choreography is an awesome retro 1990s boy-band jab, made even more funny considering Mahan looks like Dirk Nowitzki and Fowler looks like Wilmer Valderrama.
But—like I think he will this week at Congressional—Bubba steals the show.
The hair—both chest and head—is hilarious, as are the overalls (and no shirt) which I guess is a trope to his country-ness. And that blank stare he delivers somewhere off in the distance. Wow, just wow.