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The PGA Tour got a wild hare this week and decided to let its players cut loose at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. In honor of the rich tradition of the host city, players can now make potentially embarrassing decisions that could be captured on camera and shown to millions of people worldwide.
That’s right – players can pick walk-up songs for the first tee.
It’s a shame NBC isn’t on the call for the tournament so Johnny Miller can tell us for the fiftieth time that he didn’t need a walk-up song to shoot 63 at Oakmont in the 1973 US Open.
But I like the move, and I think it will add a little bit of fun to what is already an unconventional event. The Zurich is a two-man team tournament, so partnerships have to collaborate on picking songs while they’re busy figuring out the best way to go about the best-ball/alternate-shot format. There’s also an incentive to make the cut other than cash, as the songs will only be played during the final two rounds over the weekend.
It’s just a shame that Tiger isn’t here to walk up to the first tee in a Sunday Red blade-collar Nike shirt with Ludacris’ “Area Codes” blasting from the speakers. (Love you, Big Cat)
All of the partnerships that have turned in their songs have been made public on the PGA Tour website. Let’s take a look at the best, the worst, and the most head-scratching selections from the Zurich.
GROUCHIEST PARTNER: Charley Hoffman reportedly told partner Sam Burns he didn’t want any “crap rap” for a walk-up song, which is weird, because I didn’t know my dad and Charley Hoffman were the exact same person. Charley – lighten up, chief. Do a little something for the kids. The duo eventually settled on the Garth Brooks version of “Callin’ Baton Rouge,” which makes sense because Burns attended LSU. Not picking the New Grass Revival version was a missed opportunity because Garth Brooks is certified trash, but all in all, it’s not a bad choice.
No Yeezy in these headphones, folks.
Charley is dialed the fuck in this week pic.twitter.com/1kePKaaYwp
— David Ruff (@dcarterruff) April 4, 2018
MOST EUROPEAN PICK: Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson decided to go ahead and enrage Americans in anticipation of the Ryder Cup by picking a Spandau Ballet song, and not even one that I’ve heard of. Granted, I was born 10 years after Spandau was relevant, but something tells me “Gold” isn’t going to get people fired up on the first tee. At least pick “True.”
This isn’t a weird, dark discotheque in Munich, guys. Do better.
MOST UNORIGINAL PICK: Three teams — Ben Silverman/Matt Atkins, Chris Stroud/Brian Stuard, and Ryan Armour/Johnson Wagner – all picked Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” which is the walk-up song for people that googled “best walk-up songs” and just went with the first choice. That’s ironic, because a google search for “professional golfer” won’t bring up any of those guys on the first ten pages of results.
FUNNIEST PICK (TIE): Harold Varner III and Robert Garrigus will be walking up to the smooth sound of “Ebony and Ivory,” by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. Varner’s one of the few black golfers on tour, while Garrigus is white. It’s nice to see them having some fun with it (and both have the game to go low and surprise some people this week). You’d have to think their second choice was a Paul Wall/Chamillionaire song from back when they were churning out mixtapes together. Those guys are Living Under Par.
I’d be remiss to leave out Dillon Cheverere’s favorite golfer and best buddy John Peterson, who will partner with Cody Gribble this week and walk out to George Michael’s “Careless Whisper.” The saxophone lick, the crooning, the beautiful flowing 80s hairdo on Michael in the music video – stunning choice, all the way around. Top marks.
SADDEST PICK: Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly, otherwise known as those two old guys that stand around your local country club green and hustle unsuspecting passersby for money, will walk out to Toby Keith’s “I Ain’t As Good As I Once Was.” This is almost a little bit too on the nose, as both were Top 20 players in their primes, and both have since been relegated to the relative obscurity of the Champions Tour. Stricks is one of the most well-liked guys on the circuit by his peers, and it’s a shame he never won a major. Kelly has a harsh goatee and looks like your grumpy uncle that doesn’t participate in family games at Thanksgiving, but I bet he’s got a secret soft side. Pour one out for my boys.
BEST PICK: There were a few contenders here, but in terms of sheer hilarity combined with inexplicableness, there’s no other choice but Kevin Na and Byeong-Hun An, who will walk out to Master P’s “Make ‘Em Say Uhh.” Master P is a New Orleans legend, it’s true, and that song is a certified heater. (I’d also like to digress for a moment and note that Spotify spells the word as “ugh,” while Wikipedia and the PGA spell it “uhh.” It’s truly a linguistic dilemma for the ages)
But that song also contains the line “hittin’ nothin’ but tight bitches/call me, I might hit ya.” Na and An don’t exactly give off the vibe of guys that a.) know who Master P is, and b.) spend a lot of time chasing “tight bitches.” I would 100 percent read an oral history of how this song got chosen by this pairing.
Can’t wait to see if they make the weekend, though. I’ve got my DVR set already..
Hear Touching Base’s hypothetical first tee songs at the 55 minute mark of this week’s episode: