This amazing Shooter McGavin story will make you love him even more

The actor Christoper McDonald — best known to golf fans as Shooter McGavin — at the 2018 Northern Trust Open.

getty images

Christopher McDonald has played well more than 100 roles in his impressive Hollywood acting career: Ward Cleaver in Leave it to Beaver (1997), Darryl Dickinson in Thelma and Louise (1991), T-Bird member Goose McKenzie in Grease 2 (1982). But there is seemingly no performance he has clung on to more tightly — and proudly — than his portrayal of Shooter McGavin, the smarmy touring professional in the 1996 comedy Happy Gilmore.

Just last month, McDonald — in the role of McGavin — schmoozed with fans in a promotional appearance at the Houston Open. McDonald also has an online shop that hawks all manner of Shooter McGavin merch, including a hoodie emblazoned with one of his more memorable lines: “Choke on that, baby!” At the 2015 (tennis) U.S. Open, McDonald snapped a selfie with Tiger Woods. The photo landed on Shooter McGavin’s Twitter feed with the caption, “Two golf legends catching up with each other.”

Earlier this year, McDonald appeared at a media event at the Tour Championship, in Atlanta, for the video game PGA Tour 2K23, in which McGavin is a character. “There’s far more to McDonald than Shooter, but you’ve got to give the people what they want, and in a weird blurring of the lines between fact and fiction McDonald was seemingly in character throughout his time at the media event,” wrote Garrett Martin, who was on the scene for Paste. “Or at least he was more than willing to slide into character whenever anybody wanted him to, which seemed to happen a lot.” 

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McDonald has even channeled McGavin at the GOLF.com offices. Years ago, he dropped by for a sit-down interview, and also happily agreed to play McGavin in a few video skits with our staff. In one such role, he played a GOLF.com editor and berated a staffer for not hitting his deadlines.

Point is, the spirit of Shooter is alive and well, and that — to the delight of Happy Gilmore fans everywhere — seems likely to continue to be the case. Which brings us to the latest piece of Shooter lore. This story comes via a Reddit user, who reported that two of his friends spotted McDonald at the Los Angeles International Airport. When they approached him, McDonald said something along the lines of, “That was 15 years ago. Grow the hell up.”

It was actually 26 years ago, but we digress.

The Shooter fans were put off, but then came this delicious twist. As the Reddit user described the scene: “Almost immediately after that, Shooter turned around and said, ‘choke on that baby!’ Took out the air pistols and said ‘Shooter!’ And turned around and walked away. It’s one of the greatest stories I’ve ever heard.”

And verified by McGavin/McDonald himself.

On Wednesday, Shooter’s Twitter account posted the Reddit story with a two-word message: ‘True Story.”

Shooter, we salute you.

Alan Bastable

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s executive editor, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and highly trafficked news and service sites. He wears many hats — editing, writing, ideating, developing, daydreaming of one day breaking 80 — and feels privileged to work with such an insanely talented and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Before grabbing the reins at GOLF.com, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and foursome of kids.