Golf-Crazed Celebs

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Golf-Crazed Celebs

February 02, 2014

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Michael PhelpsThe Olympic star's golf career has been fruitful enough to land a Golf Digest cover, a Golf Channel show, and an endorsement contract with Ping. "This is a passion that I have and I'm going to do everything I can to improve and get to where I want to be. I have friends that are single-digit and scratch golfers that I would love to be able to compete with," Phelps told Golf World's E. Michael Johnson. "I know it is a very challenging sport. It's the most humbling sport I've ever played in my life."

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Minka KellyThe former "Friday Night Lights" star was one of several celebrities to play in the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am in Haikou, China in October of 2012. Did she play well? "I'm learning," Kelly told reporters. "It's not easy." At the time Kelly said Ian Woosnam is her favorite golfer -- presumably not because she watched endless footage of the 1991 Masters as a little girl, but because Woosnam gave her swing tips during their pairing together in the pro-am.

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Justin Bieber

The teen star has had his recent run-ins with the law, but his passion for golf dates back much longer. In fact, according to a Rolling Stone profile, Bieber's music career is a byproduct of his not having enough money for golf. When he sought to scrounge up $20 for green fees, Bieber took his guitar to the steps of a downtown theater and played for cash. When he came home with $200, Biebermania was born.

Adam LevineAs the Maroon 5 frontman and star of "The Voice" explained, golf wasn't always an obvious choice. "I grew up programmed to hate everything about it," he said. "It's very proper." But the touring lifestyle and the sense he was missing out on something forced Levine to change his mind. The result of his new passion was a stint under Hank Haney's tutelage in a season of "The Haney Project." "All my buddies play and I kind of want to be included in it because it seems like they had so much fun together going golfing," he said on the show.

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Andy RoddickThe retired tennis star is the rare celebrity who can say he played in the Masters . . . sort of. As a guest caddie for Zach Johnson in the 2011 par 3 contest, Roddick was able to get in a swing himself (above), although his ball landed in the pond. Roddick will get another crack at the big stage when he plays in the 2014 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He's also the star of a series of Travis Mathew golf ads.

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Mark WahlbergThe star and producer of the Oscar-nominated film, "The Fighter," Wahlberg's 97 at Pebble Beach made him the lone participant in the 2010 Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge to break 100 (he was also the only non-athlete to earn medalist honors). He was 26th in our last ranking of Hollywood's 100 Best Golfers with an 8.7 index, but as instructor Jim Flick learned when meeting Wahlberg in preparation for the Challenge, the actor could be closer to a scratch if he didn't work so hard.

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Justin TimberlakeThe only two-time participant in the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge, the singer/actor has taken his golf passion to a whole other level. Timberlake not only works with famed instructor Butch Harmon, he is also responsible for restoring a municipal course in his native Memphis, and was until recently the official host of the PGA Tour stop in Las Vegas. "Golf is my getaway," Timberlake told Craig Bestrom in a 2008 Golf Digest Interview. "For me, golf is one of those things where you go out and forget about everything else."

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Catherine Zeta-JonesThe Welsh beauty is a popular draw on the celebrity circuit, and a perfect companion to husband Michael Douglas. "I was just bowled over by Catherine," Douglas told the Daily Telegraph last fall. "When I discovered she loved golf, I realized all my fantasies had come true." Jones was 88th in Golf Digest's last Hollywood rankingwith a 25.4 index.

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Matthew McConaugheyOff screen, the actor is likely to be photographed one of two ways: without a shirt; or with a shirt on and playing golf. He was among a group of celebs who played in the 2010 Mission Hills Star Trophy, which didn't always treat him kindly (This clip, for instance,shows him shanking a tee shot), but he is mostly competent on the course. McConaughey was listed as having an 8.6 index in our last Hollywood ranking.

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Tony RomoThe Dallas Cowboys quarterback has made an annual rite of trying to qualify for the U.S. Open, although he has yet to make it past local qualifying. Still, he earned the top spot in our 2009 ranking of athlete golferswith a plus-3.3 index, and with an 84, was low man in the inaugural Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge at Torrey Pines.

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Cameron DiazThe starlet's breakthrough role in "There's Something About Mary" included a scene of her hitting balls opposite Matt Dillon at the driving range, but Diaz's golf passion is real. "It's kind of like crack cocaine to me... I'm getting my clubs fitted... and I'm very excited," Diaz said in a 2011 interview with Starpulse.com.

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Bill MurrayFair or not, Murray will forever be identified in golf circles as the loopy assistant greenkeeper Carl Spackler from "Caddyshack," meaning he can't step on a golf course without hearing the words, "It's in the hole!" or "Cinderella story" (*read more on "Caddyshack"*). That hasn't scared him off too much. Murray is a mainstay at the AT&T, and carries a single-digit index. He backed that up by winning the pro-am in 2011 with partner D.A. Points.

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George LopezThe comedian and host of "Lopez Tonight" had a 10.8 index in our last Hollywood ranking.He is even better when it comes to entertaining on the course, however, having served as the host of the Bob Hope Classic. In recent years, he has been a staple at the AT&T. That shouldn't be too surprising, though, since he has a house in Pebble Beach.

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Kevin CostnerHe once had a chance to win the U.S. Open at Pinehurst with one hole to play. OK, so maybe it was in his fictional role as a West Texas driving range pro in the film, "Tin Cup," but Costner at least had the golf swing to make it look plausible. A regular at the AT&T, Costner was ranked 39th in our last ranking of Hollywood golfers,with an 11.2 index.

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Samuel L. JacksonJackson's golf addiction is significant enough he reportedly had a clause written into his contract that says he can take two days off a week to play. When he was filming "Star Wars II," Jackson said he carried a light saber around in his golf bag. "I had to practice whenever I could because there were 109 movements to learn," he said in a 2005 My Shot with Golf Digest's Guy Yocom. "One of those moves is similar to a golf swing, used to block an overhand blow. The hands lead, like you're playing a knockdown shot, and the block comes high in the follow-through." Jackson was 11th in our last Hollywood rankingwith a 6.9 index.

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Ray RomanoThe "Everybody Loves Raymond" star has never been shy about sharing his golf frustrations with the masses. He made a documentary with buddy Kevin James about trying to make the cut in the AT&T, and was the star of the second season of Golf Channel's "The Haney Project." Romano also wrote in the April 2006 issue of Golf Digest about trying to break 100 from the tips at Augusta National (he shot 101). "Here's the beauty of playing Augusta," Romano wrote. "Even after six-putting, the smile never left my face."

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Wayne GretzkyThe Great One became the greatest scorer in hockey history playing left-handed, but he only had access to righty clubs when first taking up golf. "I wish I'd have learned as a left-handed player," he told GolfDigest.com's John Strege in 2009. "I hit balls left-handed on the range from time to time and probably hit the ball better from that side." Not that Gretzky, 53, has fared all that poorly as a right-handed golfer. He provided the highlight of the 2010 Golf Digest U.S. Open Challengewhen he holed out for birdie from a bunker on the famed seventh hole at Pebble Beach. He's likely to get help from his soon-to-be son-in-law Dustin Johnson, who is engaged to Gretzky's daughter Paulina.

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Kenny GThe face and sound of smooth jazz, Kenneth Gorelick told Jaime Diaz in 2006that he originally made the golf team in high school, but not the jazz band. He has since gone on to thrive with both a golf club and a saxophone, earning the top spot in Golf Digest's original ranking of the top 100 Golfers In Music (although he was surpassed in the second ranking in 2008by Rudy Gatlin).

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Jack WagnerThe veteran of daytime TV and "Melrose Place," Wagner was ranked first in our most recent ranking of Hollywood's top golferswith a plus-0.3 index, surpassing fellow Bel-Air member Dennis Quaid, who was first in 2005. "It actually inspired me to win the next Lake Tahoe event," Wagner says of his 11th-place ranking in 2005. His golf success dates back much further, however, having won the 1980 Missouri junior college championship.

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Michael JordanThe basketball legend said he was never more nervous than when he shot 86 in the 2009 Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge at Bethpage Black. "When you step outside your field, it's a whole different atmosphere. You become human, and I was nervous," Jordan said. It's not that Jordan is out of his depth on the course. He has played often with his friend Tiger Woods, and carried a 3 index according to our 2009 ranking of athlete golfers.

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Jack NicholsonThe three-time Oscar winner and 2007 Golf Digest cover boy, who sharpens his game by bombing range balls off his back porch and into a canyon below, joined a bunch of L.A.-area clubs, including Riviera, Bel-Air, and Lakeside when he first took up the game at age 50. Which is not to say he embraced all aspects of golf culture. "Frankly I was joining a golf course, not a social club," he said in a 2007 Golf Digest Interview.So if you expect me to attend the fish soiree, don't have me in."

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Selena GomezDoes Selena Gomez really play golf? We can't say for sure. What we do know is that A) she was photographed playing at least once alongside another teen idol Nick Jonas; B) she played "Shoe Golf" once on Jimmy Fallon; C) she prefers Chuck Taylor lowtops over, say, Foot-Joys; and D) she has more than 17 million Twitter followers -- which is about 14 million more followers than another celebrity golfer, Tiger Woods.

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