The golf fans didn’t come to The Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions to see Daniel Lawrence Whitney.
They came to see Larry the Cable Guy.
It was hard to miss him.
Larry was dressed in a camo hat, adorned with his catchphrase “Git-R-Done!” and wearing more red, white and blue than a roomful of American flags. His arm sleeves were red, white and blue; his golf glove was red, white and blue; his shoes were red, white and blue; and his socks, stretched to just below his knees, had red stripes in front and stars in the back.
His swing was just as, uh, colorful. The lefty had a slow takeaway, the club gradually gaining speed until the force of his follow-through had the toes of both shoes pointing toward the target.
Not how they teach the swing at your local country club, but Larry the Cable Guy has never followed the norm. He prefers to stand out in a crowd, whether it’s at a golf course or a nightclub.
The 57-year-old has been a stand-up comedian, actor, producer, singer and radio personality since the late-1980s.
He earned his chops as a member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Ron White. Larry has released seven comedy albums that sold more than 500,000 copies and remains the voice of Mater in the Cars franchise.
“As soon as I started getting invited to more celebrity events, I wanted to play better. I got myself a golf simulator from Top Golf and it’s been ‘Game on’ ever since.”
Larry grew up in Nebraska and, prior to becoming famous, he lived in West Palm Beach from the late-1970s to the mid-1980s.
“I grew up on Belvedere Road, just off Parker Street,” he proudly says.
He attended The King’s Academy – where his father, Tom, was the elementary school’s principal – and graduated from Berean Christian School in 1982. Larry eventually moved back to Nebraska, where he lives in Lincoln.
In 2012, he donated $5 million to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando after his son, Wyatt, was cured of hip dysplasia when he was an infant. The hospital opened a new wing called the Wyatt Whitney Wing.
These days, Larry spends most of his time playing in celebrity golf tournaments and trying to improve his game.
He has not yet got that done!
Tee Times columnist Craig Dolch caught up with Larry The Cable Guy to talk about his love of the sport:
What is your favorite course?
It was the Wynn in Vegas until they tore it up. I would say the Quarry in LaQuinta. I love that golf course.
What is your favorite course in South Florida?
This one here … Four Season Golf & Sports Club in Lake Buena Vista. (Obviously, this is not Larry The Map Guy).
What is your handicap?
Today it was my caddie. No, I’ve worked it down to a 15 or a 16. I’ve got PXG clubs. I play better when I’m just going out with my buddies and playing than I do in these tournaments because I’m messing with the crowds, telling jokes. I can’t get into a rhythm because I’m running up to the tee box so I don’t get late.
What’s your lowest round and what course?
A 78 at Turtleback Golf Course in Rice Lake, Wisc.
What is your favorite club in your bag?
My PXG hybrid. I hit it great every time I swing it.
How often do you play?
What is your golf philosophy and do you have a favorite swing thought?
You know what? Still body, keep your head down and get to my right side. That helps me out a lot. When I’m playing golf on a simulator, I hit it good. I’ll go outside when it’s nice in the winter and I always hit it good. I have a cornfield out there in Nebraska. I pay my kids a quarter a ball to pick them up.
Are you self-taught or did you work with an instructor?
I get my lessons from golf pros. I sponsor a guy on the Korn Ferry Tour, Brandon Crick. He helps me out a bunch. When I was at Pebble Beach, Brady Schnell, who I made the cut with, gave me good tips. Those guys help me out a lot.
How many holes-in-one have you had, and which one is the most memorable?
None, but I had one, I think, on a driving range up in Mirabel Golf Club at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz.
When did you start playing golf and become serious about it?
I started playing golf 10 years ago. Started getting more serious about it when I slowed down and started taking only about 30 (nightclub) dates a year. I said, “Man, I’d sure love to play more golf.” As soon as I started getting invited to more celebrity events, I wanted to play better. I got myself a golf simulator from Top Golf and it’s been “Game on” ever since.
Who would complete your dream foursome?
I think I’ve already had a bunch of dream foursomes (he laughs). Let’s go with me and Boo (Weekley) and Toby Keith and my buddy, David Wells. I have fun with whoever.