Courses & TravelFebruary 9, 2009

Macdonald On Millionaire . . .


A few weeks ago I wrote a story about the Greenbrier for Golf World. This morning the Greenbrier was a topic of conversation on the Howard Stern Show. Stern's guest was comedian and avid golfer, Norm Macdonald. It turns out, back in 2000, the host of Celebrity Millionaire, Regis Philbin, asked Norm Macdonald the $1,000,000 question:

"During the Cold War, the U.S. Government built a bunker to house Congress under what golf resort?"

His choices were:

A)    The Breakers

B)    The Greenbrier

C)    Pinehurst

D)    The Broadmoor

Macdonald was playing for the Paul Newman charity, Hole in the Wall Camps. Macdonald was out of the allotted three lifelines and if he got the answer wrong he would've walked with only $32,000. But, as they discussed on the Stern show, Macdonald's a bit of a gambler and he seemed willing to play on.

Here's the transcript of the last few minutes of the show as Macdonald and Philbin bantered about the answer and whether or not Macdonald should risk $500,000:

Norm Macdonald: They always say don't go for the obvious one, right? That's what someone told me backstage. See, here's the problem: Let's say I lose all that money and it gets back to Paul Newman?

Regis Philbin: That's going to be a problem. You'd lose $468,000.

NM: I wouldn't lose it. The children would lose it.

RP: Of course, the children would lose it. But you'd lose it for the children. You don't want to do that. Do you?

NM: I don't know man . . .

RP: You got a little gambling streak in you, don't you? You want to see if you can beat the game, don't you? You want to win a million dollars, don't you?

NM: I'm going to say Pinehurst.

RP: You're going to say what?

NM: I was thinking of Pinehurst but you say don't go with the obvious. I'll say Greenbrier.

RP: Please. Before you say, "Final Answer," Norm, I'm not kidding you, $468,000, unless you're sure . . .

NM: OK, fine. Forget it.

RP: It could be Pinehurst. Is that what you're going to say?

NM: Give me the half a million. We'll quit.

RP: Do you want to walk?

NM: What?

RP: I have to find out, do you want to walk away?

NM: Well, no. I was going to answer your question.

RP: I quit. It's too much for me. I can't stand it. What do you want to do baby? Tell me what you want to do?

NM: I think Pinehurst is too obvious. So I guess I will say Greenbrier. [Long pause.] What's the matter? What are you making that face for? Forget it.

RP: I'm scared to death.

NM: Forget it. Just give me the half a million dollars.

RP: Alright, take a guess.

NM: I have no idea. I said my guess. I guess I'm wrong. It must've been one of the other two.

RP: Did you say Greenbrier?

NM: I said . . . yeah.

RP: You would've won $1,000,000!

[Crowd and Macdonald react]

RP: $500,000! Come on! Be happy! You were great Norm. You were just fabulous.

Macdonald said today that Newman wrote him a thank you letter for the significant donation. I read that Philbin actually apologized for how he handled the situation the next day on his morning show.

Catch the last few questions and answers at this link to YouTube.

--Matty G.

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