Acting isn't always above par

Updated: March 30, 2004, 4:43 PM ET
Associated Press

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Chad Campbell moved slowly along a picket fence as he signed autographs, fresh off a stellar comeback at the Bay Hill Invitational for his second PGA Tour victory. The first was at the Tour Championship, where he shot a 61.

It was so much fun -- a real joy, to be honest. But the funny thing was, I had to stand behind the camera and keep telling her what to say. She kept forgetting.
Ernie Els, on filming a PSA with his daughter, Samantha

Campbell is one of the rising stars on tour. He is recognized wherever he goes at a tournament -- but not only for his great golf.

"Chad,'' a voice in the crowd cooed to him. "I just love your commercial.''

Campbell is one of five PGA Tour players who star in a series of public service announcements -- 30-second spots designed to bring out golf's personalities and highlight the tour's commitment to charity.

"I would like for them to remember the 61,'' Campbell said with a smile. "But this is fine. It's amazing how many people come up to me and say how much they liked it.''

These guys are good -- even at acting.

Jesper Parnevik and Duffy Waldorf drop off their own unique style of clothing at a Salvation Army store. Construction workers pause and stand at attention as Jerry Kelly, intense as ever, drives a nail into a board. Ernie Els teaches a classroom of children his own version of math.

"They reinforce two of the most important things about our brand,'' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. "One, we've got the best players and they're good, solid people. And two, we believe in giving back.''

Finchem showed the PSAs during a players' meeting last week.

"I've seen a couple of them 10 times, and I still laugh at them,'' he said.

Campbell, 29, is a quiet, down-to-earth west Texan. In his commercial for "Big Brothers Big Sisters of America,'' he is playing in a sand box with children when one of them asks if they can play on the swings.

"Sure, let's go,'' Campbell says, his speaking part all of three words.

They leave the sand box, but Campbell pauses and looks over his shoulder. With a deep sense of obligation, he returns to the sand box and smooths it over with a rake.

The PSAs are tied in to the local charity of that week's tournament -- the Arnold Palmer Hospital during the Bay Hill Invitational, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation during the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

This was the second commercial for Els under the popular theme, "These guys are good,'' created by the tour's longtime advertising partner, GSD&M of Austin, Texas.

In his previous spot, he was feeding his daughter, Samantha, in a high chair when she spit oatmeal in his face.

This time, the Big Easy is standing at a chalkboard when he writes out an equation -- nine numbers that add to 33. When he asks for the answer, the kids look perplexed before one girl gets it right: 3 under par.

Yes, that was Samantha who came up with the answer -- "three-unduh-paw,'' in her distinctive Afrikaans accent.

"It was so much fun -- a real joy, to be honest,'' Els said. "But the funny thing was, I had to stand behind the camera and keep telling her what to say. She kept forgetting.''

Even the players have a tough time.

Campbell said his 30-second commercial took four hours to make.

"I must not have been doing something right if it took that long,'' he said. "I guess we had to get the facial expressions just right.''

Kelly was almost embarrassed when he talked about how many takes were required in his commercial, which promotes "Habitat for Humanity.''

The scene is a busy construction site, and the job foreman asks for quiet. Circular saws and drills are turned off, and laborers turn to watch Kelly. Adjusting his feet, both hands on the hammer in a perfect grip, he take it back slowly, shifts his weight and hits the nail. As the workers applaud, Kelly smiles and tips his cap as if he just made birdie.

One problem.

"I couldn't hit the nail,'' Kelly confesses.

He had no trouble when standing close to the stud, but the camera angle was bad. The producers needed him to stand away from the stud to get a full view of him. From that angle, Kelly says, he missed the nail some 50 times.

"I was coming to the inside,'' he said. "Finally, they drilled a hole and stuck the nail in there lightly. I got about 6 inches from it and knocked it in.''

Kelly still called it a "ton of fun'' and said he was thrilled the tour asked him to take part in the PSAs.

"That's promoting the brand, and for them to think enough of me to promote the tour, that made me feel special,'' he said. "I'm not going to turn down a chance like that.''

Parnevik has the most peculiar wardrobe in golf, and he drops off some his outrageous clothing at a local Salvation Army store -- the pink pants he wore when he won the Nelson Classic, the green-and-white shoes he wears at Augusta National, and a short, tight-fitting jacket he says is "all you need for the French Riviera.''

On the way out, the Swede passes Waldorf, who's dropping off his Hawaiian shirts. The commercial closes with an ad-lib moment that has become a favorite among the players.

Waldorf, balding on top and with a paunch, is wearing one of Parnevik's colorful jackets with oversized shades. Styling in front of a mirror, he looks at the camera and playfully snarls.

"The closing took about 15 takes, because I was giving them all these different sounds and lines,'' Waldorf said. "What we got at the end turned out great.''


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press