CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ben Crane tried to play in Wednesday's pro-am at the Wells Fargo Championship but had to leave the course and head to the fitness trailer after six holes.
So Crane withdrew from the tournament, as well. He has been replaced by PGA TOUR veteran Rod Pampling, who was in a playoff for the fourth Monday qualifying spot.
Billy Mayfair is now the first alternate.
After an 18 month hiatus, golf's favorite boy band is reuniting.
"Golf Boys", a group founded by PGA TOUR star Ben Crane, featuring Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan which parodies boy bands, have released their second song, “2.Oh”. The song was written by the golfers' friend and popular recording artist, Mat Kearney.
The first Golf Boys video, released in June of 2011, quickly became an Internet sensation and has amassed nearly 6 million views on YouTube. Aside from Tiger Woods-related videos, it's the most viewed video on the Internet featuring professional golfers.
An encore video was not originally planned, but fans begged for one relentlessly.
Crane, the unofficial band leader, reached out to Kearney, an avid golfer and friend from his college days in Eugene, OR, to help with the second song. Kearney set out to write a song that played off of the golfers’ individual style and personality, but also managed to name-drop numerous PGA TOUR stars including: Stewart Cink, Aaron Baddeley, Adam Scott, Ricky Barnes, Rory Sabbatini, Kevin Na, Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen, Bo Van Pelt and Stuart Appleby.
“Ben and I have been friends for a long time,” says Kearney. “He mentioned they might do a new Golf Boys song, so I got off the phone and tried to come up with a hard hitting hip hop track. I thought using golfers’ names as puns would be pretty dang funny. I sat there for hours cracking myself up. How often do you get to write a rap for someone who's won the Masters?”
The video is on Ben Crane's YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/bencranegolf
The Golf Boys use the videos to raise money for charity and hope to introduce a younger generation to the game of golf. For their second video, the Golf Boys are partnering with international aid organization, charity:water. 100% of proceeds from Golf Boys “2.Oh” will be dedicated to the construction of clean water wells in Ethiopia through charity:water. Since 2006, charity:water has been able to provide clean water to over 3.2 million people in 20 countries. The Golf Boys set up a fundraising page on the charity:water website so that fans can learn more about the cause and, if interested, contribute: www.mycharitywater.org/GolfBoys. "We are in a truly unique era," says Crane, "I love that we can goof off on YouTube and help people across the world. I'm all in for that."
Watson agrees. "We obviously don't have any profit motive here. We're just having fun and sharing a bit of our personality with fans. I think it's awesome that we will be able to provide clean water and awareness for our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. If we can reach new fans and grow the game of golf in the process, that's a huge bonus.”
Historically, golf has had one of the older viewer demographics in sports, something that Crane feels provides an opportunity for Golf Boys.
"Tournament golf requires tremendous focus. We can't show raw personality in competition like other sports,” says Crane. “I think making these videos has helped make us more relatable to a demographic that might not otherwise be attracted to golf. As professional golfers, we’re sort of caretakers of the game. There is nothing wrong with being an older sport, but we want to do our best to grow it. The easiest way to do that is by engaging younger fans.”
Crane created a YouTube channel in September of 2010 after filming a popular workout parody video as a favor for a friend. The video went "viral" around the golf community and Crane was encouraged to start a regular series. Since that time, Crane has released numerous videos poking fun at his supposed insecurities such as his pace of play, pre-round routine and rapid hair loss. In January of 2013, Crane's YouTube channel passed Lebron James to become the second most-viewed YouTube channel of any active athlete. Crane doesn't profit from the viewership, as the channel is “owned” by he and his wife’s foundation and any revenue received is donated to charities that they support.
“On a personal level, social media has done a lot to change the perception of who I am,” says Crane. “I think I’ve been able to show fans a different side of myself and other pro golfers. I’m a golfer, first and foremost, but spending one day every few months to create a video that raises money for charity and might grow the game is too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Ben Crane was bothered by inflammation around a disk in his back late in the season but with rest, he expected to be able to prepare for 2013 as he would any other year. That's good because the de facto leader of the "Golf Boys" tends to play well at the start of the season, witness those three top 10s in his first four starts last year.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Some would say it was the rap-session on the 16th tee with Bubba Watson during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It must have been an omen because Crane closed with a 66 to finish a season-best second, one shot short of denying Kyle Stanley his redemptive win. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Shame on us for not knowing how funny Ben can be. For years we just thought of him as a slow player. Crane has picked up the pace and picked up laughs on the way. He played the 16th hole in Phoenix wearing a helmet from one of his videos. Did you know Ben is also very good at table tennis? -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Submitted a virtual carbon copy of 2011 albeit sans a victory. Also did the majority of his damage very early in the year. Seems to have learned how to manage a chronic back injury, so don't lose any sleep over that, but it downgrades his value a bit since he's been limited to 23 starts the last two years. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||2nd||Waste Management Phoenix Open|
|By the Numbers Starts: 23 Cuts made: 16 Rounds played: 72 Top-10 finishes: 4 Money List rank: 46th||TOUR ranking Driving distance: 122nd Driving accuracy: 50th Greens in regulation: 105th Strokes gained-putting: 19th Scoring average: 73rd|
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN What is your prediction for Ben Crane in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
Defending champion Ben Crane made up a seven-shot deficit in his final 11 holes to win last season.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass. -- Ben Crane made the briefest of appearances in the scorer's trailer late Saturday afternoon and then strode purposefully toward the locker room.
As disappointed as he was to miss the cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship, though, Crane stopped and signed every piece of paper, tournament program and pin flag thrust at him. By then, a handful of reporters had gathered around his golf bag, their questions at the ready.
Normally a missed cut would not have attracted so much attention. But this early exit -- assured when Crane missed a 9-footer to save par at the 18th hole -- had dropped him from 52nd to 70th in the projected FedExCup standings.
So now Crane, who shot 74-71, will have to wait until the tournament is over on Labor Day to see if he advances to next week's BMW Championship. He's on the FedExCup Playoffs bubble now with two rounds remaining at TPC Boston.
"I knew. I knew. I knew exactly where I stood," Crane said. "Just a disappointing way to finish.
“I know all things work for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. So I know that we grow in the trials of life and I know that to some people missing the cut by a shot in a tournament like this may not mean a lot. But it means a lot to me. So it's very disappointing but I know I'll grow from it, too."
Crane had earned his last FedExCup points back in July at the John Deere Classic when he tied for 13th and left ranked 36th in the standings. But he didn't play the British Open and then had to withdraw during the second round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational with a back injury.
Crane didn't play another round of golf until last Thursday at The Barclays, which is the first Playoffs event. He ended up missing the cut by one shot on the Black Courses at Bethpage State Park, a monster of a layout that had hosted two U.S. Opens.
"So it's an easy golf course to start with -- Bethpage and swinging about 75 percent," Crane said wryly. "Just one of those things where, hey, if I can play a couple of rounds and just kind of get the game in shape and maybe I can keep improving. And it was perfect just missing the cut by a shot, I was like, yeah, for not playing, that wasn't too bad.
"And then coming here I got off to a rough start yesterday and never really got it going in the right direction."
Crane actually was on the cut line Saturday when he came to the 15th hole, faced what he called an "impossible" bunker shot and ended up missing a 20-footer to save par. He gave himself a chance at No. 16 but misread the 7-footer for birdie, then converted from 6 at the 17th to get back to the magic 2 over.
Then came the bitter disappointment at the par-5 18th.
Crane said he probably could have hit a 5-wood or cut a 3-wood onto the green but he was worried about it bouncing over the new putting surface. So he decided to lay up, then hit a little behind the ball and his third shot came up short of the green.
Crane couldn't decide whether to putt or chip and ended up leaving himself a 9-footer to save par. The optimist in him thought the putt would hit the left edge and fall in. Instead, it lipped out and his bid was done.
"I don't know how the whole thing's going to shake out, but I've had a really disappointing last month being hurt and not being able to swing until Thursday really of Bethpage," Crane said. "It's hard, really, when you can't practice and come out and start the Playoffs. It's just a hard way to go and I put myself a little behind the eight-ball. …
"Thankfully golf and life are unpredictable because it causes us to grow, and I certainly never could have predicted this and I don't claim to understand it all. But I know that I will grow from it and I will come back with more perseverance and I know it will work out great."
AKRON, Ohio -- Ben Crane withdrew from the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational on Saturday with back pain.
Crane had just hit his second shot on the sixth hole and was even par for the day and 1 over for the tournament. He was playing with Kyle Stanley.
Toru Taniguchi withdrew after the second round with stomach issues.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AKRON, Ohio -- Don't expect to see Phil Mickelson in a helmet and wetsuit any time soon. But he did invite Ben Crane into one of his patented practice round sessions on Wednesday.
Mickelson and Crane got the best of Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley, too. Then Crane, the original “Golf Boy,” rode the momentum into Thursday and shot 66 in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
"They said don't run too far because we're going to play again next week," Crane said, smiling. "(Mickelson's caddy) Bones (Mackay) said, hey, it might be a little too early. I don't want you peaking before (next) Tuesday, so easy now."
Crane said he spent some time with Mickelson a few weeks ago, and that the big lefthander has been extremely helpful. Crane outlined what he and his mental coach have been working on, and Mickelson helped him refine and simplify things. Wednesday's practice round was an outgrowth of that skull session.
"He was calling himself the golf whisperer out there, helping me some with some shots and stuff," Crane said. "It was fun."
Crane had an adventurous round on Thursday that consisted of six birdies, one of which was a chip-in, and two bogeys. He only hit five fairways and eight greens but more than compensated with a red-hot putter that necessitated just 23 putts.
"I did not drive it in play today, but I putted awesome and chipped in and just took advantage of some opportunities, read some putts right, lipped a couple putts in," Crane said. "It was just one of those days where I just scored awesome. ...
"I love this golf course. I mean, it's just like right in front of you. It's hard. You've got to drive it in play except for days like today. But you can't do that all week, obviously, and survive. But this is just one of my favorite courses. ... It just never lets up. It's a great test of golf."
Crane came to Akron rested after a two-week break. He was first alternate for the British Open but elected not to take the charter to England from the John Deere Classic because the field was already over its limit of 156. Turns out, he would have gotten in had he been at Royal Lytham.
"It's just like when we've got a putt and it's either a ball out on left edge, you make your best decision," Crane said. "You go, well, my gut tells me it's left edge so I'm going to go with it. And sometimes it breaks a little more than you think, and you go, I guess it was a ball out. That was definitely a ball out, and I played it left edge on the British there."
Crane has no regrets, though. Crane took his family to Black Butte in central Oregon. Several times he stayed on the range until dark watching his wife Heather, who is learning to play golf, hit balls.
"We just had an awesome time," Crane said. "... I just did what I thought was right, and at the end of the day, I'm like, I wish I would have gotten in, but I got two weeks off. And one week off by the time you unpack, you pack again. But two weeks off before a lot of big tournaments coming up, I thought this is awesome.
“Maybe this is a blessing in disguise."