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BY MARC FIGUEROA - For the North County Times North County Times - Californian | Posted: Tuesday, December 14, 2010
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LA JOLLA -- He's best known for being slow and boring, a yawn-fest of a golfer in an already slow-moving sport.
But one search of Ben Crane on YouTube is all you need to know that this dude has all of us fooled.
The 34-year-old PGA Tour player was in town early Monday morning to promote next month's Farmers Insurance Open. As the defending champion, he was expected to say a few benign words to the gathered media, shake a few hands, smile for the cameras and be on his way.
But somewhere between the bacon and eggs and the canned introductions, a character named Crane brought the sleepy throng to life with stories of him passing gas "all the time," palling around with George Clooney and Cindy Crawford, and college kids sleeping in his closet.
Then there was the video, a comedic spoof of how he physically prepares for golf tournaments. Just visualize Crane wearing a helmet and pink socks and doing workouts called the "Sledge Wand" and the "Snake Shaker." Enough said.
"A lot of people know me as a slow, boring golfer, but I do other things besides play slow, boring golf," said Crane, a three-time winner on tour.
The idea for the workout video ---- which includes the line, "I'm speaking to you as we speak, from the now in the middle of the now" ---- was inspired by a slap on the back from a Hollywood icon.
Clooney had applauded a funny dance video Crane had made to pay a 50-year birthday tribute to his friend, Mike Meldman, CEO of the Discovery Land Co.
Clooney, a mutual friend, was at the party where the video was shown -- along with other celebrities such as Crawford and Lance Armstrong -- and went bonkers when he saw it.
"George came up to me afterward and said, 'You made the party,' " Crane said.
Ben Crane? The life of the party? Apparently so.
Not surprisingly though, the first question asked of Crane at Torrey Pines wasn't about his comedic prowess. Of course, it was his slow play and what efforts he was taking to speed up his game.
"A little more Sledge Wand and a little more Snake Shaker," he deadpanned.
In all seriousness, Crane is picking up the pace.
He has come a long way since 2005 when Rory Sabbatini became so frustrated with Crane during the final round of the Booz Allen Classic that he started walking to the next tee before Crane had holed out and then gave him an earful after the round.
Crane took the high road and it was Sabbatini who turned out to be the villain.
But Crane took Sabbatini's criticism to heart and worked on his pace.
"It really doesn't matter how much time you take over the ball -- you have guys that are 5 seconds, you get guys that are 30 seconds -- it's really about what you are doing when the other guy is hitting," he said. "It's about just being ready when it's my turn, so after they hit a shot, I can move right into my shot."
He's doing that now, which is allowing people to talk more about his game than his pace.
Crane is coming off the most successful season of his nine years on the tour, earning $2.8 million and collecting five top-10 finishes. In October, he also won the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia.
As for Crane the video star? Crane's wife, Heather, gave us more insight when she wrote 18 things you should know about her husband for PGATour.com.
She said he loves to dance, makes "killer French toast," and builds birdhouses in his spare time. And then there's his gas problem, which he can't deny.
"It's true," he said. "She knows when I do this (shows finger) to come up and pull my finger."
Where are we? The dorms down the street at UC San Diego or The Comedy Store across town?
Crane, a devout Christian, also talked about the annual retreat he hosts at his home for the College Golf Fellowship. About 80 college golfers from across the country come together for three days of activities, including pingpong, card games and golf. Kids sprawl out everywhere, including his closet.
"We have a full house and it's always lots of fun," he said.
Speaking of fun, Crane's videos have become such a big hit that he plans to release three more next year on his Web site (bencranegolf.com).
They can't be released fast enough. Not even for a recovering slow poke.
Marc Figueroa covers golf for the North County Times. The Golf Gallery appears every Wednesday. He can be reached at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].
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You forgot to bold this paragraph -
I read it that the mutual friend is Mike Meldman. The writer took liberties and the "paling around" is because Crane is a friend of Meldman and Cindy/Lance/George happened to be at the same party, too. IMHOClooney had applauded a funny dance video Crane had made to pay a 50-year birthday tribute to his friend, Mike Meldman, CEO of the Discovery Land Co.
- Training to be Mrs Clooney?
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