Tin Cup

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Tin Cup
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRon Shelton
Written by
Produced byGary Foster
CinematographyRussell Boyd
Edited by
  • Kimberly Ray
  • Paul Seydor
Music byWilliam Ross
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • August 16, 1996 (1996-08-16) (United States)
Running time
134 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$45 million[2]
Box office$75.8 million[2]

Tin Cup is a 1996 American romantic comedy and sports film co-written and directed by Ron Shelton,[3] and starring Kevin Costner and Rene Russo with Cheech Marin and Don Johnson in major supporting roles.[2] The film received generally positive reviews from critics and performed moderately at the box office, 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 is a former golf prodigy leading a generally aimless existence. He lost his chance to become a professional golfer when he attempted a riskier shot for the final round of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament rather than taking a safer shot. He owns a ramshackle driving range in West Texas, where he drinks and hangs out with his pal Romeo Posar and their friends.

One day Dr. Molly Griswold, a clinical psychologist, arrives looking for a golf lesson. She has been dating David Simms, a top professional golfer who played with Roy at the University of Houston. Roy is immediately attracted to Molly.

The next day, Simms shows up at Roy's trailer ahead of a local benefit tournament. Roy thinks he is being invited to play, but he actually wants to hire him as a caddie (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. A bet among the other players is made and Simms fires him after he makes the long shot.

To get even with Simms and prove his worth to Molly, Roy decides to try to qualify for the U.S. Open. He makes a play for Molly. She turns him down but offers to be his sports psychologist in exchange for more golf lessons.

In the first qualifying round, with Romeo as his caddie, Roy's game is excellent, but his head needs help. Roy insists on playing recklessly and he demands the driver instead of the safe play which is laying up. They fight and Romeo quits. Amazingly, despite breaking most of his clubs in a tantrum, Roy still manages to advance to the final qualifying round. Without Romeo, he barely succeeds at the sectional qualifying round, earning a spot in the U.S. Open. Romeo returns and helps Roy with some swing problems.

On the first day of the U.S. Open, Roy, playing hungover, shoots a horrendous 83. Meanwhile, Molly sees Simms' unpleasant side and decides she truly wants to be with Roy. With renewed confidence, McAvoy shocks the golf world by making the cut with a U.S. Open round record at 10 under par. Roy's third round is also excellent and moves him into contention.

On the last day of the tournament, Roy is in a three-way battle to win. For the fourth day in a row, Roy takes a shot that repeatedly fails to keep the ball out of the water hazard. On his twelfth and final shot, facing disqualification, he reaches the green and amazingly gets the ball into the hole. Roy realizes that he has blown a shot at winning the U.S. Open, but Molly reassures him that, more importantly, people will always remember his amazing shot.

Back in Texas, Molly tells Roy that he automatically qualified for next year's Open due to his standing. They kiss passionately as the movie ends.



Tin Cup was based on a story by Ron Shelton and Tim Norville inspired by the vulgar expression, "He's (She's) not worth a fart in a tin cup." It was scripted by Norville and received a rewrite from Shelton. Costner joined the project in June 1995, having previously worked with Shelton on Bull Durham. Filming was due to start on September 15, 1995.[4]

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. McCord helped Costner develop a swing and pre-shot routine, is listed in the end credits as a golf consultant and has a cameo appearance in the film.[5]

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 13th 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 by Ray Ramirez who played the course with friends while working for Friendswood Development Company in 1988. What is now a famous lake used to be an unsightly waste bunker distracting from the beautiful hole and course. He decided to implement the change not knowing almost a decade later it would play a role in one of the most iconic scenes in golf cinema history.

There are (credited) cameo appearances by pro golfers 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 Costner's character Roy McAvoy were made by Costner himself.[6]

The scene at the end of the movie in which Roy McAvoy repeatedly reaches the water hazard is based on a true incident. Gary McCord, an actual commentator and pro on the Champions Tour, needed a birdie to win.[citation needed] He kept reaching the hazard and it took him 15 strokes to reach the green, then just one putt, from 25 feet, to complete the par-4 hole.[7] In the movie, McAvoy holes out the shot in 12.

The ball of Costner's that knocked a pelican off its perch is also based upon a true incident involving McCord.[citation needed]

The film included product placement from Taylor Made. Don Johnson's character David Simms uses a Taylor Made golf bag and clubs. Costner also used Taylor Made, but the prop department repainted and sanded the clubs to make them look suitably rough.[8]


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 able to play with only 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.

In a 1998 tournament, members of the gallery watching John Daly started shouting “Tin Cup” as he hit ball after ball in the water on his way to scoring 18 on a par-5 hole.[7]

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.[9]

Eddie Pepperell was disqualified from a tournament in 2019 after running out of balls in a moment that was compared to the movie.[10][11]


Box office[edit]

The movie debuted at No. 1.[12] In its opening weekend the film earned $10.1 million and went on to earn $54 million at the US box office, and a worldwide total of $75.8 million against a budget of $45 million.[2]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 72% based on reviews from 53 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."[13] On Metacritic the film has a score of 60 out of 100, based on reviews from 19 critics.[14] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B on scale of A to F.[15]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 and wrote: "Well written. The dialogue is smart and fresh."[16] 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."[17]


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tin Cup at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. ^ a b c d "Tin Cup". The Numbers.
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (August 16, 1996). "Tin Cup (1996) When Golf Is Life And Life a Game". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 25, 2016.
  4. ^ Variety Staff (5 June 1995). "Costner is 'Tin's' man". Variety.
  5. ^ Gary McCord & John Huggan, Golf for Dummies. New York: John Wiley & Sons (1999): 21 [ISBN missing]
  6. ^ Auclair, T.J. "Story behind 'Tin Cup' hole". PGA.com. PGA/Turner Sports Interactive. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  7. ^ a b Williams, Doug. "Listed: The 10 worst holes in PGA history". ESPN.com. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  8. ^ John Horn (June 5, 1996). "Product Placement: Consumerism Reaches New Heights in Movies". AP NEWS.
  9. ^ Mark Cannizzaro (May 13, 2013). "Tiger Woods wins Players Championship by two strokes; Sergio Garcia puts three balls in water over final two holes". New York Post. Retrieved 2021-01-02.
  10. ^ "Eddie Pepperell disqualified in Turkey for running out of balls". The Independent. 2019-11-09. Archived from the original on 2022-06-21. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  11. ^ "Pepperell makes watery exit after Tin Cup moment". Reuters. 2019-11-10. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  12. ^ Snow, Shauna (1996-08-20). "Morning report". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-30.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Tin Cup (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  14. ^ "Tin Cup". Metacritic.
  15. ^ "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on April 13, 2022. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (1996). "Tin Cup movie review & film summary (1996)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  17. ^ McCarthy, Todd (5 August 1996). "Tin Cup". Variety.

External links[edit]