Ron Shelton once teamed with Kevin Costner to deliver one of the top-10 sports films of all time (and the second-best baseball film to star Costner) with Bull Durham. As a one-time minor league baseball player, Shelton was hardwired to tell that story, but he wasn’t done. He also wrote (and directed or produced) White Men Can’t Jump, Blue Chips, Play it to the Bone, and another sports-themed collaboration with Costner, Tin Cup.
Roy McAvoy (Costner) is working as a golf pro at a driving range in West Texas because he lacked the motivation to maximize his talent on the PGA Tour. When his former teammate David Simms (Don Johnson) and Simms’ girlfriend, Dr. Molly Griswold (Rene Russo), show up, Griswold to get a golf lesson and Simms to use McAvoy as a caddy, the plot thickens. McAvoy falls for Griswold, too, and challenges Simms’ pride by calling his ability into question on a 230-yard shot that McAvoy makes while the crowd at a benefit event watches. Simms fires McAvoy, and McAvoy decides to try and qualify for the US Open with the help of Griswold as his shrink and his buddy Romeo Posar (Cheech Marin) as his caddy.
Stereotypical sports moments galore! Sexy romance! Funny asides! Shelton’s formula is pretty much that of the correct chemistry into every sports fan’s heart, and Tin Cup is no different.
In between comparing golf to poetry (yep, that’s in here), McAvoy says things like, “If I had to do it again, I’d still hit that shot,” and Romeo says back, “Man, you’d bury yourself alive just to prove you could hold the shovel.” McAvoy is both deep (“When a defining moment comes along you define the moment or the moment defines you”) and shallow (“Well, if you can remove the sexual overtones and add a golf theme, then Romeo, I am your Juliet” to Romeo).
Of course, the golf isn’t bad either, thanks to golf “consultant” Gary McCord who supplied some of the more exceptional (the truth is always stranger than fiction) moments on the course, and coached Costner up so that he actually looks and plays like a golfer – even hitting many of the shots during filming. That’s the one thing that the true sports fan is looking for — the moment when the film actually captures the reality of the sport they love – and Tin Cup does just that.
Thanks to Warner Archives, fans can now own the film on Blu-ray. Putt away!