The best golf movie in history turns 25 today.
No, not Caddyshack. Tin Cup, which hit theaters on this day in 1996. And while Caddyshack fans will read this as an obvious slight to that film — which, for the record, is a great movie — I will forever argue in favor for the latter. The plot is clean, the writing is solid, it’s sneaky funny, it has a series of good cameos from the golf world, and it has a surprising-yet-fitting twist at the end (Golfweek put together a fun roundup of fun facts if you want more reasons why it’s a great film).
But the movie also contains a fantastic easter egg that, despite watching the movie a million times, I never noticed until eagle-eyed Reddit user Fartchitect spotted it late last year.
It’s about Roy McAvoy’s golf bag. The first real sign of it we get is as he’s heading to the pawn shop. It’s an old-school leather golf bag that fits the character rather perfectly.
Why is he heading to the pawn shop with it, you ask? Because in the scene before, it’s revealed that McAvoy borrowed $12,000 dollars from his ex-girlfriend, Doreen, to bet on a dog race that he then, of course, lost. After avoiding Doreen, he finally goes to the adult establishment that Doreen owns and operates with a peace offering: He gives her the deed to his driving range in lieu of the cash he owes her but doesn’t have.
Doreen, rather generously, cuts him a break by taking the deed, saying it’s worth $10,000, as long as he gives her $2,000 in cash immediately.
Tin Cup accepts the deal, pawns off his clubs for cash, then uses that cash to take on a country club type in a money match. Tin Cup wins the first hole by saving par using a series of garden tools, carried by Romeo in a plaid Sunday bag, which infuriates his opponent so much that he pays out the bet and storms off the course.
Tin Cup gets his sticks (and bag) back, which he uses during his local U.S. Open qualifier where he snapped all his clubs, and in his sectional when he takes over caddying for Earl after he can’t make it through the round.
But by the time the U.S. Open rolls around, Tin Cup shows up with a bunch of new local sponsors on his shirt and, interestingly, a new golf bag.
Who gets the lucrative golf bag placement? It’s tough to tell — for most of the tournament all we can see of the bag is that it’s red with golden tassels hanging from all over it. Until the final round when, right before Tin Cup banks a short off a porta potty, we get a good glimpse of it.
Zoom in and enhance, and we can see there’s an image of a lady with the words “Golden Tassel.”
What’s the Golden Tassel, you ask?
It’s the name of the adult establishment that Doreen owns, which offers live entertainment and $4 steaks.
All of which means that somewhere along the way, the entrepreneurial Doreen managed to get her company’s logo a bunch of free, lucrative airtime for what must have been pennies on the dollar. It also marks the first and last time an advertisement for an adult establishment sponsors the bag of a player in the final group at the U.S. Open.
If we ever get some kind of Tin Cup 2: U.S. Senior Open edition, Doreen will probably be too busy enjoying life on her yacht to care.