The concept seems like a gimme. Put Bill Murray and three of his brothers on a swanky golf course, add cameras and alcohol and let the hilarity begin. That's the premise of The Sweet Spot, a half-hour, five-episode series airing on Tuesday nights in April on Comedy Central.
Indeed, golf can be a funny game. The Sweet Spot, unfortunately, is only intermittently amusing. Bill and actor-brothers Brian Doyle-Murray, Joel Murray and John Murray visit a different course in each episode to play 18 holes, with the winner each week receiving The Braggart's Cup. The result is a mishmash of golf, put-downs, comedy sketches and fake highlight sequences. The third episode, which airs this Tuesday, ends with a two-minute scene at Murray Bros. Caddyshack Restaurant in St. Augustine, Fla., that careens into infomercial. Some things in the series are just strange, including the bikini-clad dancing girls bearing body-painted slogans, such as BE THE BALL, that serve as non sequitur segues a la Austin Powers. One wonders whether the Murrays have gotten into that blend of Kentucky bluegrass, featherbed bent and Northern California sensemilia that Carl the greenkeeper cooked up in Caddyshack.
There are some funny moments in the series, such as when Doyle-Murray addresses a female executive charging onto the green: "Lady, what's with the heels? What is this, the Ryder Cup?" One wishes Comedy Central had simply followed the brothers for a round and edited the series to its finest insults. If editing can make the mopes on Survivor seem remotely interesting, surely it would work to better effect with the Murrays.
?For real invective it's hard to beat the zingers that Johnny Miller hurls on NBC. During last week's BellSouth Classic, while third-place finisher Phil Mickelson fired at the pins, Miller took his shots at Mickelson and the rest of the field. "This new generation of golfers," Miller moaned late in Sunday's final round, "they don't talk frankly about their mess-ups, their misclubs, their mental errors, their yips. It's all Pollyanna City." Hey, Johnny, if they beat themselves up, what would be left for you to do?