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Rob Riggle

Rob Riggle is basically an honorary professional athlete at this point. The actor/comedian seems to always be around sports, whether it be introducing NBA All-Star rosters, hosting the NFL Awards or cracking jokes at the ESPYs. But what's his personal sports history like? ThePostGame talked to Riggle ahead of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, where some of the most famous athletes and celebrities go head-to-head on the course in Lake Tahoe. Along with the golf tournament, Riggle and others participate in the Korbel Celebrity Spray-Off, a champagne-popping challenge using Korbel California Champagne. During the event, judges rate competitors on spray creativity and cork distance, with the winner having an opportunity to claim $5,000 for a charity of their choice, courtesy of the Korbel Toast Life Foundation. This year's event will take place July 12 and Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus is defending champion and a two-time winner.

ThePostGame: How big of a golfer are you?
ROB RIGGLE: I am a passionate golfer. I love golf. That doesn't necessarily mean I'm any good. I'm about about a 12 handicap right now, but I really do love the game, I have such an appreciation for it. I love watching it, which people make fun of me, my kids make fun of me all the time because I can watch a golf tournament and love it and be completely satisfied, which is hilarious for a lot of people because it is the worst thing that they could imagine. But for me, it's one of the best. I love the sport.

TPG: How often are you able to play? Do you play in LA or back in Kansas?
RIGGLE: I live out here in Los Angeles. I play whenever I get the opportunity, which isn't that often as you can tell by my 12 handicap, but ...

TPG: Well, that's not bad.
RIGGLE: It's just a matter of carving out time, really, but I'll play anywhere. Anywhere that'll have me and yeah, I love to play. It really just comes down to finding the time.

TPG: Well, the PGA is coming to Bellerive, which is in ... I guess that’s St. Louis, not Kansas City so, on the other side of the state of Missouri.
RIGGLE: Yeah, I probably won't be out there for that, but I know the stops by Kansas City usually in late July. They have a tournament out there that they do out of the Lions Gate, which is pretty cool. The one they have out here, the Genesis Open out at the Riviera in Los Angeles, I went and saw some of that this year. And I went down to the Masters this year which was really cool. I always wanted to do that, so that was a bucket list item. I got to do that this year, which was really cool. So yeah, I've been to a couple tournaments.

TPG: In your line of work, you get to meet a lot of famous people, have you gotten close with any professional golfers?
RIGGLE: I haven't gotten close with any professional golfers, but I've had the privilege of playing with some of the guys on the [PGA Tour Champions]: Billy Andrade, Kenny Perry and Joey Sindelar. And at the Ryder Cup in 2016, I got to meet a bunch of the golfers that I really admire, so that was pretty cool, getting to shake hands with some of the legends of golf right there, you know? I got to see Jordan Spieth. He saw me and he made this look like, "Oh my god!" and it made me so happy and he came over and we had a nice handshake slash high five because I think he's a great golfer and I think he's a great individual, so I’m a big fan of his as well so, anyway, I think there's a lot of really great golfers out there and that was cool, getting to meet some of them. I don't get to pal around with them, not yet. I'm looking to. I'd love to.

TPG: When you meet professional athletes, do you find more often than not they recognize you before you recognize them or vice versa?
RIGGLE: Equal. It's the same and it's usually because we're at some sort of charity tournament or some sort of event like that and we're on the driving range and we'll look at each other and I''l be like, "Oh my gosh, that's Brian Urlacher!" or "That’s Jerry Rice!" and they'll go, "Hey man, loved you in ... " you know, whatever: The Hangover, Step Brothers, 21 Jump Street and then we'll talk about it and then we'll talk about our game and what the course looks like and then you run into the same folks. You go to the same tournaments, you run into them again and you slowly start to build a relationship that way, which is kind of fun.

TPG: You’ve done this Korbel event before. What’s so fun about this?
RIGGLE: Well, it's so unique. Where else do you get to pop champagne in a competitive way? It just doesn't happen. Any time you pop a champagne bottle, just the sound makes people happy, because it's generally done in celebration. So I look forward to it. I think it's a lot of fun. It's just a really creative way to do a good thing because it's a competition, but it's also raising money and awareness for the charity that Korbel is sponsoring, Toast Life.

TPG: Who has impressed you, of all these amateurs and celebrities, who have you seen on the course and you're just like, "Wow, he is an amazing golfer" or something like that?
RIGGLE: Honestly, all the athletes. All the athletes impress me because they are professional athletes, which means they have a separate and higher level of skill when it comes to competition, performing, athletically, in front of crowds. Their hand-eye coordination seems better, their ability to pick up and be coached on things is better, they're just generally better, so you know, seeing Steph Curry out there, seeing Brian Urlacher – I keep mentioning him – but seeing Brian Urlacher, he's a great golfer. These guys are single-digit handicappers. Some of those guys, Mardy Fish and Mark Mulder, are scratch golfers I mean, it's just amazing to see them out there playing. I think the athletes are way better than the entertainers. With the exception of Jack Wagner, he represents us well.

TPG: He played, I believe, in college or something like that.
RIGGLE: Oh good, well that might explain why his game is so tight.

(Wagner won the 1980 Missouri State Junior College Golf Championship while at East Central College. He then attended University of Missouri and University of Arizona, but never played Division I golf, despite trying to make the team at Arizona)

TPG: Who are you most looking forward to seeing out there this year?
RIGGLE: I end up playing with generally the same guys. I love seeing Larry the Cable Guy. We always end up playing a round or two together. Jay DeMarcus from Rascal Flatts is just so much fun. Brian Baumgartner is always a good time, Willie Robertson, Ray Romano, Kevin Nealon, these are guys I generally fall into with when we play our rounds out there in Tahoe. It's so much fun because we know we're not gonna, you know, win, obviously, and we're out there to have a good time and we're out there to meet people, and so you try to do your best, but if it doesn't work out, I'm not losing any sleep. But I am trying. Don’t think I’m not. I'm always trying. I think we're all trying. It's just we're not professional golfers and it becomes very clear after a while.

TPG: In terms of sports, it seems like you're the go-to host for everything now, you know the NBA All-Star Game, the NFL Awards, why do different sports leagues keep coming to you?
RIGGLE: I don't know! I hope it's because I'm good at what I do and because I'm generally a pretty nice guy, pretty reasonable, pretty flexible and I can help write the comedy and I don’t know! I hope it's because I do a good job. If you do a good job, you get asked to do it again.

TPG: I would say the NBA All-Star Game got mixed reviews last year. That intro, how did you feel in the moment with you and Kevin Hart, how'd you feel it was going and then Fergie doing the national anthem?
RIGGLE: Well, listen, Kevin asked me to do something. I'm gonna do it because Kevin is awesome, funny, talented and one of the hardest-working guys I've ever met in my entire life and I really respect him and like him. So if he asks, "Hey, you wanna do this thing with the NBA All-Star intro?" I'm like, "Yes, I do." I don't even need to know what it is. It's just Kevin's asking, I'm in. And of course I don't stick around for the reviews. I'm onto the next thing, so I don't even know if people liked it or didn’t like it. I just had fun doing it with Kevin.

TPG: And you and Kevin have a movie coming out soon too, right?
RIGGLE: Yes, we do! It’s an ensemble, so it's Tiffany Haddish and Kevin are the leads and then the rest of the ensemble is just really great. Mary Lynn Rajskub, Al Madrigal, Anne Winters, Taran Killam, myself, Romany Malco, it's just a great ensemble and we had a blast making it.

TPG: And what else is going on in your career right now in terms of public-facing entertainment?
RIGGLE: I've created the show for Sony Crackle called Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy. We’ve already filmed it, we're just finishing up post-production on it now, and it is set to launch on August 23, and it is 8 episodes and I think it's very funny. It's as ridiculous as it sounds. Basically it's me, opened a Jet Ski Academy and hilarity ensues. We have great guest stars that come on, we have a great comedic ensemble cast and we had an absolute blast writing and making this show, so I'm excited for people to see it.

TPG: And for Korbel, how long are you gonna pop that champagne this year?
RIGGLE: Look, I won't be satisfied with anything less than a 15-foot launch of the cork and I would like to have a really cool spray.I want it to look like I just won the Indy 500, one of those kind of pops, something notable. So I hope there’s a good still photographer around to capture the moment.

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