From Subway’s biggest enthusiasts to bitter ex-hockey players to people who hate alligators to golfers who swear up a storm on the course, Happy Gilmore reached across aisles and spoke to a pretty strange group of people when it made more than $40 million all the way back in 1996. In the more than a decade and a half since, those bizarre demographics have widened quite a bit to the point where an extremely high percentage of comedy fans are very familiar with the film. Many would probably even cite it as their favorite Sandler movie, at least if they're smart enough not to eat pieces of shit for breakfast.
Numbered among those enthusiasts are apparently quite a few professional golfers. In fact, when the European Tour asked some players to agree to be filmed trying Gilmore’s patented run-up drive, the response was very enthusiastic. Phil Mickelson, Paul Lawrie, Padraig Harrington and a large group of other players all showed up to try and do their best Happy dance. The resulting footage was then edited into a promo for the European Tour, and in just a few short days, more than five hundred thousand people have watched the above clip, which features, among other things, a three hundred and twenty-plus yard Happy Gilmore drive by Harrington.
The PGA Tour might boast more star-studded line-ups during the average event, but when it comes to publicity, the European Tour absolutely blows its counterpart away. From convincing phenom Rory McIlroy to battle a robot to see who could hit more golf balls into a washing machine to pitting many players against one another in a test to see who could hit a tiny gong from two hundred yards away, the marketing experts are incredible at turning random goofy displays of incredible skill into ways to market the larger product, and this footage is obviously a great example of that.
Thanks to failure piles like Jack & Jill, Adam Sandler may have lost a certain percentage of his fans, but that doesn’t mean millions of people won’t always have a soft spot for Happy Gilmore. For the European Tour’s sake, I hope a few more of them develop a soft spot for golf too. The beautiful sport still plays to a bit of a niche audience on both sides of the pond (at least compared to England’s football or America’s football), but there are few things better than watching the leaders on the back nine of a major on Sunday. Besides, you never know what the hell you might see.
In the spirit of the randomness of golf, here’s another classic European Tour video of players trying to hit a ball inside a barrel of gunpowder floating on a boat…