Happy Gilmore beat Shooter McGavin on this day in 1996

When it comes to sporting films, from Invictus to Moneyball, there aren’t many better than Happy Gilmore.

Rivalry is the bread and butter of sports and that remains the case in the 1996 film, which was realised on this day.

The arrogant pro Shooter McGavin was a heavy favourite against this random guy who didn’t look the part. Adam Sandler may divide opinion, but as Happy Gilmore, he is a beloved hero.

It went down to the wire between McGavin and Gilmore, the former’s comfortable lead halfway round seeping away from him. McGavin went into the back nine with a four-shot lead, only for the underdog to produce the most extraordinary comeback.

The Miracle at Medinah in 2012 was a special, special moment in golf, but Happy’s actions on the final hole 26 years ago surely surpass that.

There were tears for Jose Maria Olazabal at the Ryder Cup in memory of the beloved Severiano Ballesteros, a.k.a. ‘Seve’. Happy himself suffered a big loss along the way, though, the man accredited for his success by the name of Chubbs falling out of a window to his death.

With a fallen TV tower in his path, Happy was faced with huge adversity. A two-putt would secure a playoff, but unsurprisingly, he had the all or nothing mindset.

With his grandmother’s house on the line, he thundered the ball into a car and the rest was history. It hit multiple obstacles on its way to the hole in dramatic fashion.

Due to his success, it is easy to forget that Happy originally wanted to be a professional ice hockey player. By hook or by crook, he fell into golf, and under the stewardship of Chubbs Peterson, who as previously mentioned passed away along the journey, he struck gold.

McGavin was a nasty character, pulling out all the stops to prevent Happy from succeeding. He even ordered a hit on his opponent, but this of course failed.

Happy had a lot of motivation, with his grandmother and Chubbs set to be honoured by his victory. From the baseballs to the head, to the run ins with alligators, not to mention his fight with the legendary Bob Barker, it really was a remarkable story for the eventual champion.

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