Tin Cup (1996) Plot
Meet Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy, a former golf prodigy who now spends his days hanging out at a rundown driving range in West Texas with his buddy Romeo and their crew. One day, Dr. Molly Griswold, a clinical psychologist, shows up looking for a golf lesson. Molly happens to be dating David Simms, a top golfer who used to play with Roy in college. Roy can’t help but be drawn to Molly.
The next day, Simms unexpectedly visits Roy’s trailer, but it turns out he wants to hire Roy as a caddie for a local tournament instead of inviting him to play. During the round, Roy starts teasing Simms about playing it safe instead of taking a challenging shot over a water hazard. The other players make a bet, and when Roy successfully makes the shot, Simms fires him.
Determined to get back at Simms and prove himself to Molly, Roy sets his sights on qualifying for the U.S. Open. He tries to win over Molly, but she turns him down and offers to be his sports psychologist in exchange for more golf lessons.
In the first qualifying round, with Romeo as his caddie, Roy’s skills are impressive, but his mindset needs work. Roy insists on playing recklessly, using the driver instead of taking safe shots. Roy and Romeo have a heated argument, leading Romeo to quit. Surprisingly, Roy still manages to advance to the final qualifying round.
Without Romeo, Roy struggles in the sectional qualifying round but manages to secure a spot in the U.S. Open. Romeo returns and helps Roy with his swing problems.
On the first day of the U.S. Open, Roy plays poorly due to a hangover and scores a dreadful 83. Meanwhile, Molly witnesses Simms’ unpleasant side and realizes she wants to be with Roy. Filled with newfound confidence, Roy shocks everyone by making the cut at 10 under par, setting a U.S. Open round record. His third round is also impressive, putting him in contention.
On the final day of the tournament, Roy finds himself in a three-way battle for victory. However, he keeps hitting shots that land in the water hazard, ruining his chances. On his twelfth and final shot, facing disqualification, Roy manages to land the ball on the green, and miraculously, it goes into the hole. The crowd erupts with excitement. Roy realizes he missed his chance to win the U.S. Open, but Molly reassures him that people will always remember his incredible shot.
Back in Texas, Molly informs Roy that he automatically qualifies for next year’s Open because of his performance. They share a passionate kiss as the movie comes to a close.
Tin Cup (1996) Cast
- Kevin Costner as Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy
- Rene Russo as Dr. Molly Griswold
- Don Johnson as David Simms
- Cheech Marin as Romeo Posar
- Rex Linn as Dewey
- Linda Hart as Doreen
- Dennis Burkley as Earl
- Lou Myers as Clint
- Richard Lineback as Curt
- George Perez as Jose
- Mickey Jones as Turk
- Michael Milhoan as Boone
- Jim Nantz as CBS announcer
- Ken Venturi as CBS announcer
Tin Cup (1996) Review
When you hit a perfect golf shot, it’s like a symphony playing in your heart. That’s what Tin Cup McAvoy, the “club pro” at a rundown golf driving range in Salome, Texas, believes. This range is so pathetic that he barely has any customers, but when he lays eyes on a certain woman, his heartstrings start vibrating like a tuning fork.
Tin Cup, played by Kevin Costner, used to be a golf champion at the University of Houston. However, his career took a nosedive because he would rather take wild shots on a dare than play it safe. Now he lives in a sad Winnebago overlooking the desolate wasteland of the driving range. His days are spent with a group of beer-guzzling buddies, placing bets on random things like which bug will get zapped next. His friend Romeo, portrayed by Cheech Marin, reminisces about Tin Cup’s glory days.
But one day, fate intervenes. Tin Cup encounters a vision of beauty. Her name is Dr. Molly Griswold, a psychologist who has recently moved to town and wants to take golf lessons. There’s just one problem: She’s learning golf to impress her new boyfriend, David Simms, a pompous jerk who has been Tin Cup’s rival since their college days. How awful is Simms? Tin Cup declares, “He despises women, children, and dogs,” and Romeo seconds that.
And so, the stage is set for “Tin Cup,” a classic sports comedy with a twist of humanity. We can guess the general plot (Tin Cup must redeem himself to win the woman and ends up competing against Simms in the U.S. Open). However, the U.S. Open doesn’t unfold as expected, and the movie isn’t really about who emerges as the victor—it’s about how the game is played. And in this case, the game is love.
Costner’s portrayal of Tin Cup is rugged, scruffy, and in dire need of a shower. He looked somewhat similar in “Waterworld,” but this time there’s a charm to his character. In his desperate pursuit of Dr. Griswold, he willingly subjects himself to therapy, only to find out that she wants to delve into personal matters (“I didn’t know it was that kind of therapy”). While she remains faithful to her fiancé, she sympathizes with Tin Cup’s plight and agrees to help him get his head in the game for a comeback. (“You don’t have inner demons. What you have is inner crapola.”)
The movie, written and directed by Ron Shelton, a former minor league baseball player, offers well-crafted writing. The dialogue is witty and vibrant, and when Tin Cup and Molly engage in conversation, they relish the beauty of language. The film boasts strong supporting characters. Don Johnson strikes the right balance as the antagonist, managing to be likable, tanned, and ingratiating when necessary, but a jerk the rest of the time. Cheech Marin plays a crucial role as Tin Cup’s caddie, knowing when he’s calling for the wrong club. Linda Hart, an actress portraying the local stripper and driving range landlady, delivers some delightful moments. Shelton’s talent lies in taking a fairly predictable storyline and embellishing it with captivating subplots that make the movie a worthwhile watch. Scenes like Molly revealing how she entered the therapy profession, Simms shutting down demanding fans seeking autographs, Romeo attempting to fix Tin Cup’s golf swing (“it feels like an unfolded lawn chair”), and the unconventional ending defy conventions and leave us thoroughly satisfied.
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