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The Masters, Carl Spackler & "It's In The Hole!"—Intertwined For All Time

The Masters, Carl Spackler & "It's In The Hole!"—Intertwined For All Time

Augusta and The Masters in November. Who ever thought they'd see the day.

If we've learned anything about 2020—it's to expect the unexpected and to throw any game plan out the window, as this year is running its own show.  

A fan of the brand shared the above image with us years back—Bill Murray on property, creating moments and memories as he's prone to do.

When captioning this photo, it evokes memories of the old I'm-not-a-doctor-but-I-play-one-on-TV Vicks commercial from the 1980's

"I'm not a greenskeeper, but I once played one in a movie", as Bill channels his inner Carl Spackler and finds himself working on golf's most-hallowed ground—most-likely an improvised moment as the two crossed paths on this random outing. 

Anyone who's watched The Masters over the past four decades—you'd be hard-pressed to find a fan of both comedy and golf who hasn't connected everyone's favorite Southern-fueled major with Spackler's iconic monologue from Caddyshack

Cinderella boy from out of nowhere—tears in his eyes—leading the pack at Augusta National; the normally-reserved crowd on its feet as this from out of nowhere greenskeeper becomes the Masters champion. 

Those poor mums never stood a chance. 

Be it The Masters, or next week's RSM Classic at Sea Island—the iconic, improvised lines from 1980 are still on display today on just about any televised round of golf. 

"It's in the hole." ... "Boy, he got all of that." ... "Cinderella story." 

As incredible as that timeless, minute-and-a-half of comedy magic is—hard to imagine it almost never even happened. 

For those who've read Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella by Chris Nashawaty—that little blurb for Scene 244 didn't call for much, yet it proved to be the perfect storm for a 30-year old Bill, who made the trek from New York to South Florida to film the scene, while on break from Saturday Night Live, in the summer of 1979.

As Nashawaty explains in his book, those 27 words were all Murray had to work with—that, and a little motivation from friend and director Harold Ramis.

"When I used to jog during a brief period of physical fitness in my life, I would encourage myself by pretending I was the announcer at the Olympics," Ramis shared with Murray.

"Like, 'They're coming into the stadium. Ramis is in the lead!' So I said to Bill, 'Did you ever do imaginary golf commentary in your head?' And he said, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, don't say anymore. I got it.'"

Just as Bill shows his attention to detail with William Murray designers—"Tip a few of those whiskey glasses over with the Old Fashioned pattern, as every good night ends with some spilled drinks"—he had an idea that would bring Spackler's soon-to-be-iconic scene home. 

Have the flowers changed from tulips to some bulbous-style mums—and with that, the legendary scene was born. Carls choked up on his grass whip, stepped up to the flower bed, waggled those hips and let 'er rip.

CARL SPACKLER: What an incredible Cinderella story. This unknown comes outta nowhere to lead the pack at Augusta. He’s at the final hole. He’s about 455 yards away, he’s gonna hit about a two iron, I think … (Carl reels back and swats the head off of a mum. Petals fly like confetti) Boy, he got all of that. The crowd is standing on its feet here at Augusta. The normally reserved Augusta crowd is going wild … (he pauses as he notices some golfers coming) for this young Cinderella who’s come out of nowhere. He’s got about 350 yards left. He’s going to hit about a five iron, it looks like, don’t you think? (Carl pulls the grass whip back to demolish the next mum) He’s got a beautiful backswing … That’s … Oh! He got all of that one! He’s gotta be pleased with that. The crowd is just on its feet here. He’s a Cinderella boy, tears in his eyes, I guess, as he lines up this last shot. And he’s got about 195 yards left, and he’s got a, it looks like he’s got about an eight iron. This crowd has gone deadly silent. Cinderella story, out of nowhere, former greenskeeper, now about to become the Masters champion. (Carl reels back one last time and — Swat! — blasts the third mum to smithereens) It looks like a mirac . . . It’s in the hole! IT’S IN THE HOLE!!!

Nashawaty goes on to explain that Murray did the entire sequence in one unbroken take. 

"I was good back in those days. I could do something when they turned the camera on. I was wired into what I was talking about. Improving about golf was easy for me—and it was fun," Murray mused.

"I wasn't difficult to come up with stuff. And there was a great crowd of people there to entertain. If you made Harold laugh, you sort of earned your keep. You made your bones." 

Working on borrowed time—as Bill had to be back in New York for SNL in mid-October—Ramis brainstormed with Murray, finding ways to create moments for the Spackler character—fully realizing they had something special and just six days to capture lighting in a bottle. 

The approach was just to capture as much gold as possible, figuring out where to incorporate it into the film during the editing process.

"Everything we shot with Bill in the movie was just him riffing," Ramis shared years later. "We just described the physical action and made up the lines. He'd done so much improv at the [National] Lampoon, he could just go. He would just turn up and do weird stuff. That's how he worked." 

As they say, the rest is history. Caddyshack was released on July 25th the following summer, where it grossed almost $40M at the domestic box office—the 17th-highest grossing film of 1980—while going on to earn cult-classic status for years to come.

Years later, ESPN would call it, "perhaps the funniest sports movie ever made"—as proven by the quotability of the film; especially in the gallery during tense moments on the course, down the stretch on a Sunday.

The combination of Caddyshack and a successful run on Saturday Night Live went on to shape Bill's career. Stripes was next up—another collaboration with Ramis—which paved the way for Ghostbusters, which obviously blew Bill out of the stratosphere. 

As the four-plus decade career rolls on, incredible to take a look back at Caddyshack and a small opportunity—on paper—which in the end, turned out to be a momentous moment in Bill's career. 

Let is serve as a reminder to all—be available and take chances—which ultimately has been Bill's not-so-secret sauce for all these years. 

"I try to be available for life to happen to me. We're in this life and if you're not available, the sort of ordinary time goes past and you didn't live it," Murray shared years back. "But if you're available, life gets huge. You're really living it."


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