The Tin Cup Success Theory

“Five years from now nobody is going to remember the US Open – who won, who lost, but they’re going to remember your 12, Roy. It’s…it’s immortal!” Molly Griswold

Golf is a game of Risk Reward

image credit: dskciado

One of my favorite movies is Tin Cup with Kevin Costner and Rene Russo.

If you’re not familiar with the movie here is a short overview:

Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner) is a thirty-something failed pro golfer who lives in a Winnebago parked next to his barely operational driving range in West Texas. He spends his days drinking beer, hitting golf balls, making bets with his buddies, and giving the occasional golf lesson.

While Roy still has all of the physical golf capabilities of the best golfers in the world, he lacks the mental understanding of risk-reward.

One evening a local psychologist, Molly Griswold (Rene Russo), shows up for a golf lesson. She’s attempting to learn the game for her boyfriend, McAvoy’s longtime nemesis and successful professional golfer David Simms (Don Johnson).

After falling for Molly, Roy decides to quality for the US Open in an attempt to win her heart.

Roy’s quest to win the US Open sees his golf game and life constantly taking on risks that seem out of ordinary comprehension.

Throughout Roy’s journey, he and those around him learn a little about life, a little about golf, and the risks we all have to take to succeed and find happiness.

First let’s dig a little deeper into the background of the movie…

Personal Background

I think it’s my personal similarities to Roy that draw me to the movie.

First, I’ve always enjoyed golf and at times I can hit some great shots. I even played for a few years competitively in high school.

My natural tendency when playing golf has always been to go for the glory shot while throwing all percentages out the window.

My style of golf always drove my Dad and golf coaches crazy.

I go for every par 5 in two if I have even the slightest chance to make eagle.

I like using my creativity to keep shots interesting on the course even when the shots I come up with make zero sense to any other sane (better) golfer.

I’m not sure why, but I have always had the mentality that it’s the miraculous shots that people remember the most while those who prod along and put up consistent scores are forgotten despite their success.

Roy describes his mentality to Molly:

Roy: Suppose there’s this guy, and he’s standing on the shore of a big wide river, and the… river’s full of all manner of disaster, you know, piranhas, alligators, eddies, currents, shit like that… nobody’ll even go down there to dip a toe. And on the other side of the river’s a million bucks, and on this side of the river… is a rowboat.

Molly: Mm-hmm?

Roy: I guess my question’s this: What would possess the guy standing on the shore to swim for it?

Dr. Molly Griswold: He is an idiot.

Roy ‘Tin Cup’ McAvoy: No, see, he’s a helluva swimmer. His problem’s more like why does he always have to… rise to the challenge?

While Roy’s mentality toward life and golf always intrigued me, I think it’s the part of “rising to the challenge” that seems the most important as it relates to life and business.

I’ve always thought that people remember the things others accomplish that they themselves wish they could achieve themselves, but for whatever reason most likely won’t take risks that sometimes need to be taken to achieve great things.

Roy’s risk-taking lifestyle gives some insight into entrepreneurship and blogging.

Let’s take a closer look at how risk plays into your hunting business and blog…


“I’d hit it again because that shot was a defining moment, and when a defining moment comes along, you define the moment… or the moment defines you.” Roy McAvoy

Tin Cup

In the movie Roy goes through various occurrences that challenge his ability to asses risk and reward.

There is a great moment in the movie when Roy is going through the first stage of qualifying for the US Open and he reaches Hole #10 after shooting a 29 on the front nine. He is feeling good about how he’s playing (29 is really, really, really good) and he asks for his driver so he can hit a big drive and go after a par 5 in two for a chance at eagle (2 under par).

His caddy (Romeo – Cheech Marin) reminds Roy that he needs to work on playing it safe and gets ready to hand him a 2-iron (a club most professionals hit on difficult driving holes for better accuracy (some length is lost of course).

The two get into an argument and by the time the smoke clears there 13 clubs lay broken on the tee box (Romeo breaks two and Roy breaks 9 leaving only one club, his prized 7-iron).

Now, to prove a point (what point exactly is the question) Roy takes his 7-iron and plays the back nine in even par 36 with only his lone club for a 65 and a place in the next stage of the qualifying school.


So what is the lesson we can learn from this portion of the movie Tin Cup as it relates to blogging?

In this instance (and many others in the movie) Roy throws all of his mental worrying and care out the window and just goes with his gut and lets his game flow.

He isn’t worried about being correct.

He isn’t worried about what others will think if he fails.

He isn’t worried (or fearful) about failing period.

It’s pretty powerful if you ever get into a groove like this with anything in life, but it’s especially fun when you’re writing as a blogger (or maybe it’s just fun because I enjoy blogging).

I like writing with this mentality sometimes as it produces some of my most passionate, and emotional-filled posts.

There have been a few times when an idea has hit me or some news I’ve seen has put me in the stream-of-emotion mindset. The words just seem to kind of flow out and things can get a little unusual.

Some examples perhaps?

The Michael Jackson Guide to Success

The Small Town Businessman Approach to the Web

Paid vs. Natural Traffic: It’s like Baiting vs. Funnel Hunting for Deer – Part 1

Sometimes it takes doing something completely out of the ordinary (like shooing par with a 7-iron or comparing Michael Jackson and Hunting Businesses) to catch attention and connect with an audience.

It’s how you can create your own voice and connect with an audience.

The Biggest Risk of All

Roy: I shot 65 – parred the backside with a 7-iron.

David Simms: Why?

Molly: That’s the question – why?

Clint: Because he broke all of his other clubs.

Tin Cup

Throughout Tin Cup there are moments like the 7-iron incident in the qualifying round.

The struggle that Roy has always revolves around the reason why he feels the need to take what others see as unnecessary risks (in life and golf).

Spoiler Alert!

At the end of the movie Roy finds himself in a position to play a safe shot and win the US Open.

But for reasons only known to Roy and other risk-takers he finds a reason to go for the risky shot again.

He winds up losing the Open, but achieving his immortality by taking a 12 on the last hole of the US Open.

In the end he gets the girl, gets the memory, and finds his place in the hearts of an audience that loves him for doing what they themselves likely won’t ever do.


I think Roy’s struggle with risk, reward, and living life is something we can all relate with.

Our days are filled with decisions and our destinies are defined by the decisions we choose.

The most important lesson to use for your business as it relates to taking risks is that you can analyze all of the stats, percentages, and probabilities, but ultimately you’re going to have to take the leap of faith.

You’re going to have to throw out all of the seemingly logical decisions that others make and go with your gut and forge your own path.

This is why some people are memorable and successful (or immortal as Roy puts it) – they do the things others don’t even consider and their accomplishments leave an impression those in their audience.


Ron Shelton’s story of Roy ‘Tin Cup” McAvoy is one of risk, reward, life lessons, with the backdrop of one of the greatest pastimes in the world.

We can learn from the struggles Roy went through whether it’s doing something crazy like playing golf with only a 7-iron in the US Open qualifying round or taking a seemingly unnecessary risk on the final shot of the US Open.

Business and blogging are about standing out and connecting with an audience.

Sometimes the biggest risk you can take in life, business and blogging is simply not having the nerve to take an illogical risk.

Don’t let fear or pressure chase you away from your dream.

Jump…and do something amazing and memorable.


I just like this video and think it kind of relates. 🙂

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

10 Movie Quotes to Inspire Your Hunting Website

Taking the Kevin Costner Approach to Your Hunting Business

The Jon Bon Jovi Guide to Making it Big on the Web

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The Importance of Risk

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Dayne Shuda

I'm a blogger and hunting enthusiast. Follow me on Twitter.

2 thoughts on “The Tin Cup Success Theory”

  1. I have a love hate relationship with Dayne. I look forward to his posts all day, and then I hate him because they are always, invariably really good. It never ceases to amaze me.

    I love the way you use analogies and metaphors in your work. This one is a great example. Using a movie to illustrate a point is fantastic.

    I, unfortunately have lived my life precisely as Roy does. Never play it safe, always look for the glory, even at the risk of personal destruction. People do remember me, not always for the right reasons though.

    The only saving grace is that every so often I hit a home run that smokes the goat hide right off the ball! And that my friends, is worth every crash and burn!

    Best to everyone!
    Trophy Merriam’s Turkey
    My Favorite Turkey Outfitter

  2. Thank you for the wonderful comment, Albert.

    Using analogies is always fun. 🙂

    And I agree that you’re very memorable and for the right reasons.

    And the home runs are definitely worth the few misses.

    Thanks again.

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