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Jim Nantz and Clint Eastwood. Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS (Cliff Lipson/CBS)
Jim Nantz and Clint Eastwood. Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS (Cliff Lipson/CBS)

Rick Moranis

Rick Moranis: Clint Eastwood explains himself at Pebble Beach Add to ...

Jim Nantz: The glorious sea lions soaking up some midday sun while the mist of an otherwise calm Pacific washes up on the rocky shores of a picture postcard Monterey Peninsula. Dear friends, welcome again to the majesty of Pebble Beach Golf Links for the annual start to what will no doubt be another memorable season of America’s favourite pastime. And what better way than to say hello to another lion of these magnificent vistas of northern California, an equally iconic and beloved perennial presence of the local culture, cinema and the great game itself. And for those of us who have been associated with this place for so many memorable years, someone whose name and face brings back such great images, fond recollections and heartfelt memories of some of the greatest moments the game has ever seen. Of course, I could only be talking about one person and I’m once again, as I am every year, so honoured to have the great privilege of introducing the former mayor of Carmel, a great American and a dear friend, Clint Eastwood. God, I love you Clint.

Eastwood: Thank you Jimmy. We must be out of time.

Nantz: Never for you, my friend. Perhaps it’s only ‘halftime,’ as it were, and I would as a journalist, albeit a sports one at that, be remiss if I didn’t ask you candidly about just that very thing. A bit of stir created by your participation in an ad that ran on last weekend’s Super Bowl, which many of our friends on the right side of things political have implied might be viewed as somewhat of a tacit endorsement of our current President and the programs used to bailout the struggling auto industry. How do you respond to that? Do you believe that it is ‘halftime in America?’

Eastwood: Well, I sure hope it’s only that for me, Jim. Whether it’s ‘halftime’ or what we call ‘the turn’ after the front nine in golf, or the seventh-inning stretch, or just new balls in tennis, I think of it as a time when we all stop, think about what we’ve accomplished as a country and let Madonna do her thing for a while. And she’s touring this year, so it all just seemed to make sense. By the way, I’ve yet to golf with the President; one of us is always busy.

Nantz: You made a movie just a few short years ago called Gran Torino, which of course was the model name of another company’s product so I know you don’t separate the great automotive giants when choosing corporate affiliations for your projects.

Eastwood: Well, Jim, last I looked there were all kinds of American trucks in, well, just our family alone. Mom, who is 102, drives another brand truck every day to her waitress job over at the Spyglass Bowl-a-Rama. My kids of course all drive their various preferences. It’s only Granny Eastwood who drives a foreign vehicle but that’s because the feller she chauffeurs up in Silicon Valley happens to like his big white Rolls-Royce. Before that, she drove an 18-wheeler.

Nantz: Would you do it again, I guess is the question. You’re not someone who courts controversy nor, for that matter, do you shy away from it, certainly when one looks at the body of work which has taken on all kinds of issues from frontier justice to end of life choices. What’s next for Clint Eastwood? Anything ‘in the can,’ as they say?

Eastwood: We’re doing something a bit different now. It’s a trilogy, and we’re shootin’ all three at once and I’m lucky again to have Leo DiCaprio on board to play all the parts.

Nantz: Marvellous young actor.

Eastwood: A hard-working American as well. He’s playing all the leads in films about Walt Whitman, Whitaker Chambers and the Chambers Brothers.

Nantz: Another welcomed foray into music for you. I know how important music is in your life.

Eastwood: It’s why I need a truck.

Nantz: Well, I look forward to that one sir, their great hit Time Has Come Today still as relevant as when it first appeared over 40 years ago. And how fitting, because we are in fact past ‘halftime’ and ‘the time has come today’ to say goodbye to you and thank you for stopping by as always to pay us a visit in our broadcast tower overlooking one of the most difficult and storied finishing holes in the world of golf. One last quick question, if I can. The belly putter! Will we at any time in the foreseeable future behold the sight of one of those resting its grip against the mighty six-pack of Clint Eastwood?

Eastwood: Well, I’m still partial to my old hickory blade that Walter Hagen gave me before there was ever a pro in a pro-am. As for six-packs, I’ll stick with my usual one or two lite beverages and leave the extras for some younger fellas.

Nantz: Well said, as always, sir. See you next year Mr. Mayor. I guess you can just walk home from here.

Eastwood: I’ll probably swim.

Rick Moranis is a writer and actor who lives in New York

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