Ranking the Best Celebrity Golfers at the 2015 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Ever since the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am was a much more informal event hosted by Bing Crosby, where participants ate baked clams and enjoyed the temperate breeze off Carmel Bay, celebrities have been a part of the tournament on the Monterey Peninsula.
This year, of course, is no exception as the pro-am field is packed full of stars. Some can actually play golf, and some are like Chris Berman.
Here's a look at the top 10 confirmed celebrities for this year's tournament (according to the tournament website).
10. Clay Walker
As a musician, having a good pastime on the road is a great way to get a little bit of exercise, and to get out and unwind after a concert the night before. I think a lot of musicians love to play golf for that reason; it's a beautiful distraction and has helped me deal with my multiple sclerosis.
I was diagnosed with MS in 1996. Golf has been a great barometer for where I am with the disease. If something is not exactly right, I can feel it in my golf swing immediately.
9. Craig T. Nelson
Known for playing Hayden Fox in Coach and currently starring in the TV series Parenthood, Craig T. Nelson plays a lot of golf in Hawaii, where he spends most of his time when he isn't filming.
He primarily plays public courses with locals. Here's how he plays, per an interview in Golf Digest: "There are no handicaps involved...it's however good you are; you've gotta beat 'em. It's fun to play that way."
8. Chris O'Donnell
Another five-handicapper, Chris O'Donnell doesn't get to play as much golf as he'd like to these days between filming episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles.
O'Donnell is a solid golfer who has been coming to Pebble Beach for years. He told Golf Digest about his dream foursome: "I can't wait for the day when I can take a trip to Scotland or Ireland with my boys. That is my ultimate foursome."
7. Tom Dreesen
Comedian Tom Dreesen's website states: "Tom has made over 500 appearances on TV as a stand-up comedian, including over 60 appearances on the Tonight Show. He’s a frequent and favorite guest of David Letterman."
Interesting bit of Dreesen trivia: He released a comedy album called That White Boy's Crazy, which was recorded in front of an all-black audience.
6. Jake Owen
Jake Owen has been something of a fixture at PGA Tour events in recent years, seemingly performing or appearing at every other event.
Owen was a star junior golfer who planned to play golf at Florida State. Following a wakeboarding accident, Owen was unable to play much golf. To pass the time, he taught himself to play the guitar.
The rest is (country music) history.
5. Charles Kelley
Member of country music trio Lady Antebellum, Charles Kelley is a avid golfer, but he was facing a unique problem.
An employee of golf equipment giant Callaway helped him out as he told Taste of Country:
"I met a guy, he’d come to our show and worked for Calloway [SP],” Kelley says, remembering the moment. The gentleman told the singer that he’d be happy to customize a set of sticks for him. And it was one of the best decisions he ever made. "I’m 6’6". It’s hard to find golf clubs that fit you right and work right."
4. Lucas Black
It's not Lewis Black, but rather Lucas Black who will be teeing it up at Pebble Beach this year. Presently appearing in NCIS: New Orleans and noted for his roles in Sling Blade and Jarhead, Black maintains a pretty respectable handicap.
Not the only golfer to play professionally on this list, Black played briefly on the NGA Pro Golf Tour.
3. Kelly Slater
Narrowly edging out Lucas Black, surfer Kelly Slater didn't start playing golf until he was 23.
He's largely self-taught, as he told PGATour.com's Mark Stevens: "I just kind of got into it on my own. Started reading the Ben Hogan book and then became a Moe Norman fan. I've always watched a lot of stuff on TV and picked up tips there from Dave Pelz to Rick Smith to Butch Harmon."
2. Kenny G
The top two golfers on this list are a cut above the rest.
When the world's most recognizable jazz saxophonist topped Golf Digest's inaugural "Top 100 in Music Ranking," the publication wrote:
The career explosion caused Kenny to put golf aside for nearly 20 years. But set for life in his early 40s, (he's one of the 10 original investors in Starbucks), he returned to the game with a passion. ... He's a club stroke-play champion at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where his most frequent partner is actor Craig T. Nelson. Kenny has shot 67 at Riviera.
1. Colt Ford
Not to stereotype, but I doubt most golf fans would imagine the gentleman pictured above was a touring professional golfer.
Country singer Colt Ford played briefly on the then-Nationwide Tour as Jason Farris Brown. He appeared on Golf Channel's Morning Drive recently to talk about his golfing past.
Billy Duke of Taste of Country wrote about the country singer's decision to quit golf: "Colt Ford once had two professional loves: country music and golf. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to be successful at both, so the singer...dropped his clubs for the pen and microphone."