There is a long list of movies that have been done where golf is a central theme. The list of quality movies in that genre is considerably shorter. There are a couple of golf comedies that generate a large audience; Caddyshack and Tin Cup probably foremost among them.
For golf movies with a more serious story line, making a quality film is harder than hitting a 1-iron in cold weather. But a new film breaks that mold. Phantom of the Open, starring Academy Award-winning actor Mark Rylance is a new release that tells the story of Maurice Flitcroft, a humble crane operator from the north of England whose first encounter with golf inspired him to enter the British Open. The results are the very definition of tragic-comic, with Flitcroft posting a score that looked more like the high temperature in Death Valley.
Undaunted, Flitcroft endures the jeers of the golf establishment, fans and even his own family to continue express his love for the game through competition. Writer Simon Farnaby says that the story is appealing because it isn’t really a story about golf. “Maurice Flitcroft was thought to be kind of a clown. But he was actually an intelligent, well-read man. He loved his family and he loved golf, and the movie is about his two loves.”
Phantom has opened to broad critical appeal and will be in wide release in the United States this summer. It is a heart-warming story about a man who’s love for golf is equal parts pure and relentless. His game is rank amateur, but his spirit is Hall of Fame.
Hit the play button to listen to the episode, and look for more from the 19th hole with Michael Williams coming soon.