Tin Cup

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Tin Cup
Tin Cup.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRon Shelton
Produced byGary Foster
Written by
Music byWilliam Ross
CinematographyRussell Boyd
Edited by
  • Kimberly Ray
  • Paul Seydor
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • August 16, 1996 (1996-08-16) (United States)
Running time
135 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$45 million[citation needed]
Box office$75.8 million[1]

Tin Cup is a 1996 American romantic comedy and sports film co-written and directed by Ron Shelton,[2] and starring Kevin Costner and Rene Russo with Cheech Marin and Don Johnson in major supporting roles.[1] The film received generally positive reviews and was a moderate box office success grossing $75.8 million against its $45 million budget. Costner received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.


Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy (Kevin Costner) is a former golf prodigy who has little ambition. He owns a driving range in West Texas, where he drinks and hangs out with his pal Romeo Posar (Cheech Marin) and their friends. Dr. Molly Griswold (Rene Russo), a clinical psychologist, wants a golf lesson. She asks Roy because he knows her boyfriend David Simms (Don Johnson), a top professional golfer. They were both top college golfers at the University of Houston. Roy is immediately attracted to Molly, but she sees through Roy's charm and resists.

The next day David Simms shows up at Roy's trailer ahead of a local benefit tournament. Roy thinks he is being invited to play, but Simms actually wants to hire him as a caddy (since Roy knows the course). During the round, Roy needles Simms about "laying up" instead of having the nerve to take a 230-yard shot over a water hazard. Simms fires back that Roy's problem is playing recklessly instead of playing the percentages. Roy brags that he could make the shot, and spectators begin making bets among themselves. Simms warns Roy that he'll fire him if he attempts the shot, and Roy does, hitting a brilliant shot onto the green. Simms immediately fires Roy.

To get even with Simms, Roy decides to try to qualify for the U.S. Open and makes a play for Molly, while also seeking her professional help. Molly agrees to help Roy rebuild his self-confidence in exchange for golf lessons.

In the first qualifying round, with Romeo as his caddy, Roy's game is excellent but his head needs help. Roy insists on breaking the course record, but Romeo implores him to play safely to qualify. When Roy demands the driver instead of laying up, Romeo snaps it in half over his knee. Roy then asks for the 3-Wood and Romeo proceeds to snap it in half as well. Then Roy begins to grab every club out of his bag, snapping every single one in a fit except the 7-Iron, "Then there’s the 7-Iron. I never miss with the 7-Iron". This causes Romeo to storm off the course and quit. Roy then challenges anyone that hasn't left to a bet that he can finish the Back-9 with only a 7-Iron and everyone reluctantly refuses, but he continues the round and amazingly still manages to advance to the final qualifying round. After the round, Roy makes a wager with Simms on a Driving distance contest and Roy gets made a fool of and loses the bet and his convertible to Simms.

Without Romeo as his caddie, Roy barely succeeds at the sectional qualifying round, earning a spot in the U.S. Open. He reunites with and persuades Romeo to be his caddy again, but develops a problem (the shanks) with his swing.

On the first day of the U.S Open tournament in North Carolina he shoots a horrendous 83. Meanwhile, Molly sees Simms' unpleasant side when he arrogantly refuses a child an autograph. Seeing that trying to change Roy is a mistake, Molly encourages him to be himself. At Molly's suggestion, Roy offers another wager with Simms, the leader after the first round and actually wins the bet and wins Molly's heart as well. Now, with renewed confidence, Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy, a nobody from nowhere, shocks the golf world by breaking the U.S. Open record for a single round by shooting a 62, thus making the cut. Roy's third round is also excellent and moves him into contention, but on all three rounds, he refuses to lay up on the par-5 18th hole, hitting the ball into the water hazard each time.

On the last day of the U.S. Open tournament, Roy, Simms, and real-life PGA Tour pro Peter Jacobsen (playing himself) are in a three-way battle to win the U.S. Open. Jacobsen finishes with a par on 18, tied for the lead with Roy and one shot ahead of Simms. Simms, for the 4th straight day, lays up at the 18th hole, playing it safe, although this takes him out of championship contention. Romeo urges that Roy do likewise to birdie and win the U.S. Open, but is urged by Molly to be himself and "go for it". Roy, for the 4th day in a row, takes his shot and it reaches the green, but then "a little gust from the gods"—a sudden contrary wind—starts his ball rolling back, downhill into the water hazard. Reminiscent of his blow-up back in college when he failed to qualify for the Tour, Roy tries repeatedly to hit the same shot, not realizing that he has lost the tournament, but with the same heart-breaking result, splashing in the water hazard. Down to his last ball and risking not only humiliation but also disqualification, he still goes for the green, and on his 12th and final shot, the ball finally clears the water hazard, bounces on the green and amazingly rolls directly into the hole. After a wild celebration, Roy realizes that he has blown winning the U.S. Open, but Molly re-assures him about the immortality of what just happened, "Five years from now nobody will remember who won or lost, but they're gonna remember your 12!"

Back in Texas, Molly tells Roy that because he finished in the top 15, he automatically qualifies for next year's Open. Molly further suggests that Roy go back to the qualifying school and get on the Tour. Molly, who gained several clients at the tournament, prepares for a career of helping players with the mental portion of the game as a sports psychologist. They kiss passionately as the movie ends.



Janine Turner was reportedly the first choice for the role of Molly Griswold, but she turned it down. Michelle Pfeiffer was also approached before Rene Russo was then cast. Pierce Brosnan and Alec Baldwin were considered for the part of David Simms, before Don Johnson was placed in the film. John Leguizamo was offered the character of Romeo Posar, until Cheech Marin stepped in to do the role.

Kevin Costner trained extensively with Gary McCord to learn how to play golf, as stated in the foreword Costner wrote for McCord's book, Golf For Dummies.[3] McCord, who helped Costner develop a swing and pre-shot routine,[3] is listed in the end credits as a golf consultant and has a cameo appearance in the film.

The film's climactic scenes take place at a fictional U.S. Open tournament set in North Carolina. Some of the film was shot in Kingwood, Texas, and some was shot at Tubac GC in Tubac, Arizona. The movie's 18th hole is actually the 4th hole on Kingwood's Deerwood course; the lake that guards the front of the green on this beautiful and difficult par-5, actually a par 4 in real life, was built for the movie by the film company.

There are (credited) cameo appearances by pro golfers, including Phil Mickelson, Craig Stadler, John Cook, Johnny Miller, Lee Janzen, Billy Mayfair, Corey Pavin, Fred Couples and Peter Jacobsen—as well as TV golf broadcasters Jim Nantz, Ken Venturi, Gary McCord, Ben Wright, Frank Chirkinian, Lance Barrow, Peter Kostis, Jimmy Roberts, Brian Hammonds and George Michael—all playing themselves.

Many of the golf shots by Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner) were made by Costner himself.[4]

The scene at the end of the movie where Roy McAvoy hits the shot into the water hazard again and again was based on an actual event. Gary McCord is an actual commentator and pro on the Champions Tour. In a tournament where he had a similar shot to McAvoy's, he needed a birdie to win and went for it. He shot over and over again and finally got it in 16 strokes. In the movie, McAvoy holes out the shot and gets it in 12.[5]

The scene with a Costner golf shot that knocked a pelican off its perch was also a real-life scenario inspired by McCord.[citation needed]


An annual golf tournament located in Charlotte, NC that benefits the American Cancer Society is named the "Tin Cup Tournament". It is the American Cancer Society's largest single-day golf event in the Carolinas. Play is always on the second Monday of August. The 2004 REMAX World Long Drive Champion, David Mobley, is an annual celebrity guest. Most recently, the location is at Ballantyne Resort Golf Course. A yearly golf outing in Appleton, WI is called the Tin Cup Open and players are only able to play with a 7 iron club, inspired by McAvoy's qualifying meltdown. The outing raises funds for the local Early Intervention Program of Outagamie and Winnebago Counties and is a yearly big draw.

After carding a quadruple bogey and a double bogey on the 17th and 18th holes of the 2013 Players Championship, "Tin Cup" became a nickname for professional golfer Sergio García.[6]

Eddie Pepperell was disqualified from a tournament in 2019 after running out of balls in a moment that was compared to the movie.[7][8]


Box office[edit]

The movie debuted at No. 1.[9][dead link]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 71% based on reviews from 51 critics. The site's consensus states: "Breezy and predictable, Tin Cup is a likeable sports comedy that benefits greatly from Kevin Costner's amiable lead performance."[10] On Metacritic the film has a score of 60 out of 100, based on reviews from 19 critics.[11] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B on scale of A to F.[12]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 and wrote: "Well written. The dialogue is smart and fresh."[13] Todd McCarthy of Variety magazine wrote: "Amiable and constantly amusing rather than uproarious, this mangy tale of a ne'er-do-well's fitful assault on personal and professional respectability benefits greatly from Kevin Costner's ingratiatingly comic star turn, his most appealing work in years."[14]


The soundtrack was released through Sony in 1996.

  1. "Little Bit Is Better Than Nada" - The Texas Tornados
  2. "Cool Lookin' Woman" - Jimmie Vaughan
  3. "Crapped Out Again" - Keb' Mo'
  4. "Big Stick" - Bruce Hornsby
  5. "Nobody There But Me" - Bruce Hornsby
  6. "Let Me into Your Heart" - Mary-Chapin Carpenter
  7. "I Wonder" - Chris Isaak
  8. "This Could Take All Night" - Amanda Marshall
  9. "Back to Salome" - Shawn Colvin
  10. "Just One More" - George Jones
  11. "Where Are You Boy" - Patty Loveless
  12. "Every Minute, Every Hour, Every Day" - James House
  13. "Character Flaw" - Joe Ely
  14. "Double Bogey Blues" - Mickey Jones


  1. ^ a b "Tin Cup". The Numbers.
  2. ^ Maslin, Janet (August 16, 1996). "Tin Cup (1996) When Golf Is Life And Life a Game". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b Gary McCord & John Huggan, Golf for Dummies. New York: John Wiley & Sons (1999): 21
  4. ^ Auclair, T.J. "Story behind 'Tin Cup' hole". PGA.com. PGA/Turner Sports Interactive. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  5. ^ Williams, Doug. "Listed: The 10 worst holes in PGA history". ESPN.com. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Tiger Woods wins Players Championship by two strokes; Sergio Garcia puts three balls in water over final two holes". New York Post. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  7. ^ "Eddie Pepperell disqualified in Turkey for running out of balls". The Independent. 2019-11-09. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  8. ^ "Pepperell makes watery exit after Tin Cup moment". Reuters. 2019-11-10. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  9. ^ Snow, Shauna (1996-08-20). "Morning report". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
  10. ^ "Tin Cup (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  11. ^ "Tin Cup". Metacritic.
  12. ^ "TIN CUP (1996) B". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  13. ^ Ebert, Roger (1996). "Tin Cup movie review & film summary (1996)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  14. ^ McCarthy, Todd (5 August 1996). "Tin Cup". Variety.

External links[edit]