Meeting Adam Sandler Convinced Christopher McDonald To Accept Happy Gilmore's Villain Role

Shooter McGavin from the Adam Sandler flick "Happy Gilmore" might just be Christopher McDonald's most memorable character. If nothing else, he's certainly the most quotable. Fittingly we have McDonald's performance in a golf tournament to thank for that. This is Shooter's tour, after all.

It's probably because "Happy Gilmore" is a sports comedy, but quite frankly, Shooter McGavin doesn't get enough credit as a great all-time villain. The stickler for golf etiquette disparages his own fans, insults his fellow golfers, pouts when he loses, fires air pistols in the most annoying way, and worst of all kicks old ladies out of their homes. Well, at least one that we know of (Happy's grandmother) but we certainly wouldn't put it past him to discover there are others.

The point is, McGavin deserves to be on any respectable top movie villain list. According to a 2016 fan vote through Barstool Sports, he sits proudly at the top. The actor, who not surprisingly is often typecast as the bad guy, didn't do himself any favors to change that by playing the dastardly pro golfer, but he just couldn't help himself after meeting Adam Sandler for the first time.

He turned down the role twice

The truth is that Christopher McDonald didn't want to play Shooter McGavin, at all. In a 2011 interview with The AV Club, the actor admitted that he initially turned the role down, more than once. As McDonald said:

"I turned that movie down twice. I had seen Adam [Sandler] in a movie called 'Billy Madison' and I'd seen him on 'Saturday Night Live' and I thought he was funny ... But I turned it down because I was really tired. I'd just done two movies back-to-back in Vancouver. But they said, 'They'd really like for you to play this Shooter McGavin guy.' And I'm, like, 'Ugh, it's another bad guy. I don't wanna do that.'"

After turning down the role, McDonald took to the links where he won a tournament. It left him thinking that a golf movie might be a lot of fun, so he made arrangements to meet with Adam Sandler. "And within 15 minutes, I knew I had to do this movie," McDonald said of his meeting with the Sandman. "Because this man was absolutely sick and funny and very smart, very, very smart. And that's when I decided it would be a really good idea to do it."

It ended up being McDonald's most notable role ever. More than two decades later he's still referred to as the "'Happy Gilmore' Villain." It's safe to say that of the hundreds of roles that McDonald has played since his 1978 debut in the CBS made-for-TV movie "Getting Married," no other role impacted his life and career as much as Shooter McGavin.

It will forever be 'Shooter's Tour'

In reflecting on the many roles in his career, Christopher McDonald noted that he never reunited with Adam Sandler in a prominent role because he'll always be considered Shooter McGavin in Sandler's eyes. The actor said:

"I haven't worked with [Sandler] since, though. I don't know what that means. No, I'm kidding, I have. He's hired me for a couple of little giveaway parts. But I'm, like, 'Adam, you're always hiring your boys to play the big parts.' And he goes, 'Oh, McDonald, you're working all the time, anyway. But still, you're always gonna be Shooter.' I'm, like, 'Yeah, but I can do a hundred different ... oh, whatever.'"

And to McDonald's credit, he's certainly embraced the role to the fullest. On the film's 25th anniversary in 2021, McDonald and Sandler had a virtual golf match on Consequence's Twitter page. Last year he reflected on the enduring nature of the character on social media.

McDonald also says there's an unexpected bonus to playing Hollywood's most infamous pro golfer. "My golf game got sick. I was playing golf five hours a day for six days a week. It was nutty," he said. "I was pretty good at that time. And now I basically get to play golf for free for the rest of my life, which is pretty good, too."

McGavin also helped "Happy Gilmore" land on our 20 Best Sports Films list. Not bad for a villain that eats pieces of s*** for breakfast.