With a Happy Gilmore sequel coming soon, we have to ask. How well would Happy Gilmore do at Augusta National and the Masters? Photo Credits: Universal Pictures, Adam Cairns / USA TODAY NETWORK Photo Credits: Universal Pictures, Adam Cairns / USA TODAY NETWORK

News broke recently that we’re going to be getting a sequel to Happy Gilmore, one of golf’s most beloved movies. We can only help that it’s better than Caddyshack 2 was. Time will tell. 

In the meantime, there’s a more pressing issue that must be addressed. How would Happy Gilmore fare at the Masters? Given that golf’s top event is here, there’s no better time than now to answer that question.

Why there’s doubt?

Outside of the Ryder Cup, it’s rare to get a true home course advantage in golf. Happy, though, seemed to get that everywhere he went. That seemed to make him play better and get into the head of his opponents. But the Masters crowd is different. It’s hard to get tickets to the Masters. And if any rowdy fans do manage to get onto the course, they won’t be at Augusta National for long. 

One heckler threw Happy off of his game so much that he started throwing hands with Bob Barker, his playing partner. Even worse, Happy lost that fight — handily. If one man was able to throw Happy off of his game that much, we have to wonder what would happen if most or all of Augusta National’s patrons turned on him. Golf is a mental game, after all. We saw how much the hostile crowds hurt a far more experienced player in Shooter McGavin. It will definitely be a lot for Happy to work through. 

As far as his golf game goes, we have to remember something. Happy’s short game is every bit as shaky as his long game is good.

The difference between a great shot and a terrible shot at Augusta is razor-thin. Yes, he managed to put it all together to win the Tour Championship. But Clubber Lang also knocked out Rocky Balboa. After Apollo Creed began to work with Rocky, Clubber was no longer a match for him. The same logic applies here. One great tournament does not make Gilmore a great golfer.

Finally, we hate to go here, but we have to. Happy’s motivation for getting into golf and improving his game all centered around his undying love for his grandmother and winning her house back. Unfortunately, his grandmother passed away years ago. With that motivation gone, would Gilmore have the same motivation? Remember, this is a sport that he showed disdain for, even as he was becoming one of its biggest stars.

Why we like his chances

While it’s not his only edge, we have to start with what would be Gilmore’s biggest advantage by far at Augusta — his overwhelming length off of the tee.

The Masters has long favored the bigger hitters. This has been especially true since Tiger Woods’ historic win in 1997, as Augusta’s attempts to “Tiger-proof” the course by lengthening it really only thinned the competition out most years.

It’s also worth mentioning that Happy’s incredible length off of the tee generally didn’t come at the expense of accuracy. But even if it did, the success that guys like Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Bubba Watson have enjoyed at Augusta tells us that inaccuracy off of the tee isn’t a deal breaker. The grass at Augusta is not as long as we generally see in U.S. Opens, and while there are trees all over the course, there are also windows to hit through those trees — like Mickelson in 2010.

Gilmore doesn’t have the short game that most of his rivals have. But if his driver is firing on all cylinders, he’ll have a far bigger margin of error than any of them.

But as we detailed, the driver isn’t his only edge.

Augusta is a course that favors creative shot-makers. That was never more on display than in 2012, when Watson power hooked a wedge from the pine straw around the trees, hitting the ball onto the green, helping spark him to victory in the playoff over Louis Oosthuizen.

Remembering that, we also must remember the shot that Happy hit to win the Gold Jacket.

That kind of creativity and imagination would do wonders for his pursuit of a Green Jacket.

How would he do?

If we’re just talking about one tournament, it’s tough to feel great about his chances to win. Happy’s driver would lead him into contention — which gives him a chance. Ultimately, though, his game is too raw to predict victory at Augusta in a given year.

That said, if we’re looking at several years, we like his chances a lot. It’s hard to imagine Happy winning the Masters in any one year. But if he played every Masters over a 10-year period and got to know the course, it’s impossible to think he wouldn’t bring at least one Green Jacket home.

About Michael Dixon

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