Pro golfers make television acting debuts

January 22, 2010

Pro golfers Natalie Gulbis, Duffy Waldorf, Rocco Mediate and Kevin Na made their network-television acting debuts playing themselves on an episode of CBS's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" titled "Long Ball" Thursday night, and it was a cringe-worthy doozy. The players' acting chops were nowhere near par (if Screen Actors Guild cards were to be doled out, the only golfer worthy of inclusion would be Mediate, who at least seemed somewhat relaxed; Gulbis and especially Waldorf looked like they needed a sedative), but still -- they had a good excuse. They're not actors. It was the episode's preposterous golf-focused plot that made it hard to watch.

Try to follow me here: During a fictional PGA Tour event in California, Mediate's ball lands in the lap of a dead body that's sitting in a golf cart in some O.B. bushes on the course. The ensuing investigation shows that the dead man is the father of the player leading the tournament, who had shot a miraculous 61 in the first round the day before. Through much scientific research (including clubhead CT and volume tests using machines that have never before seen the inside of a CSI lab), it is determined that Danny, the dead man's son, had been cheating by using golf balls that had been X-ray-laser-beamed to have a harder core so they went 50 yards farther than they should (because that would naturally make him hole more putts -- or...?). Danny's caddie, who had been demoted from PGA Tour player to caddie 20 years earlier when the dead guy had outed him for using performance-enhancing drugs (which, incidentally, wasn't a crime on the PGA Tour until last year), had supplied the balls to his unwitting boss, who apparently thought his sudden increase in distance was pure luck. Who was the murderer -- the disgruntled caddie? The son whose father was mad at him for betraying the "honor" of the game? The son's sex-crazed step aunt who had given the caddie the "juiced" golf balls? The father's ex-wife who didn't want to see her favorite stepson lose a tournament over his father catching him cheating?

I could go on, but it just gets more ridiculous from there. In the end, a swing robot helps confirm that the death was not a crime after all, but the result of an angry man slamming his driver in the ground, the shaft snapping and the clubhead end of the club bouncing back up to lodge the shaft stump in the victim's jugular (ever heard that one before?).

Here's a clip of the first eight minutes of the show, with the players' cameos. Gulbis' lone line comes at the 6:38 mark:

--Stina Sternberg