|Kevin says he's the best golfer in the Entourage cast (unless you count series creator Mark Wahlberg). (Jack Fleming/Eclipse Sportswire)|
The hit HBO show Entourage has put journeyman actor Kevin Dillon back on the Hollywood map. BadGolfer.com recently caught up with the avid golfer to discuss his golf game, his show, Winged Foot and Phil Mickelson.
ORLANDO, Fla. - Johnny Drama is doing what you'd expect Johnny Drama to be doing at a golf show. He's drinking beers, taking his swings on a high-tech toy and hoping people notice him.
Only Kevin Dillon isn't playing Johnny Drama - the older, much less successful actor brother on HBO's hip hit Entourage - at the moment. He is just being himself. Which turns out to be a lot like Drama.
When one of the younger guys in this gray-haired-leaning golf crowd screams out "Victory!", Dillon grins and raises his beer. Dillon doesn't run away from his signature line on Entourage, from anything with the show really.
Heck, there are tabloid reports he shouted "Victory!" himself at his wedding as soon as the vows were exchanged.
You get the sense that the 42-year-old Dillon realizes that Entourage is one of the best things that ever happened to him. It put him back on the map. Or put him on the map in the first place for those who never saw him as Bunny in Oliver Stone's "Platoon" 19 years ago.
Like his character on Entourage, Dillon journeyed through Hollywood overshadowed by a sibling's success (his younger brother Matt Dillon). Now he's considered cool by college-aged kids. Or at least as cool as someone who padlocked the bathroom at his new pad during a party filled with Tinseltown hanger-on babes because he worried about messes (that was Drama, not Dillon) can be.
It's gotten so good for Dillon that he's now being paid to endorse a golf product. He's a spokesperson for Full Swing, a computer golf simulator that allows you to take swings with real clubs that are played out on the large screen of virtual courses.
Dillon as Drama, Vincent Chase, Turtle and E have taken golf swings off the deck of their mansion in the Hollywood hills on Entourage, neighbors be damned. They also use the Full Swing.
For Dillon, a member at New York's ultra private Winged Foot, it's more perfect typecasting.
He's parlaying his Entourage success into a lead role in the upcoming National Lampoon comedy movie "301," which will spoof gladiator flicks like "300" and "Braveheart." And if you don't want to buy a Full Swing, you can just buy Dillon for a day. In a perfect Johnny Drama move, Dillon reportedly will make a personal appearances at parties/weddings/baptisms/golf games for $15,000.
Can't wait for Entourage to get off its current hiatus and find out what happens to that mess of a fictional movie "Medellin?"
He talked to BadGolfer.com about his game, his show and his drama. And no, he didn't put down the beer.
BadGolfer.com: When did you get into golf?
Kevin Dillon: I picked it up about 15 years ago, but I didn't become passionate about it until eight or nine years ago. I used to think it was a boring game to be honest. I wanted to hit somebody playing football. But now, I just love it. It's addictive.
BadGolfer.com: Who's the best golfer in the Entourage cast? Can Jeremy Piven (super agent Ari Gold in the show) play?
Kevin Dillon: I'm the best golfer of the guys. Unless you count (series creator and longtime actor) Mark Wahlberg. He has game. Anybody can beat Piven.
BadGolfer.com: Entourage sort of came out of nowhere and just built a pretty rabid fan base. Has it changed how people react to you out in public?
Kevin Dillon: It's "Drama!" now. I get a lot of "Drama". I used to get a lot of "Where should I know you from?" So it's nice. It's a great show and people have really taken to it. In Florida now, I'm surprised by how many older people know the show. So maybe we're big in nursing homes too.
It's all over Asia now. In Singapore, they all know the show. It's going global. It's hit the UK and it's doing well over there. It's good to be on a hit. You hang around 24, 25 years in the business and you eventually get on a show like this.
BadGolfer.com: Winged Foot isn't the usual celebrity golf hangout. What made you want to be a member there?
Kevin Dillon: Well, I'm from Long Island and that's the club if you're a serious golfer. My dad (Fordham golf coach Paul Dillon) is a member there too. It has two great courses. That's what a lot of people don't realize who just watch the U.S. Open on TV. There are two great courses: the East and the West course.
It's a lot different from the clubs you'll find out in L.A. Much more traditional golf.
BadGolfer.com: It sounds like golf is really a family affair for you?
Kevin Dillon: No question. Matt doesn't really get into it. But I'll play with my brothers Paul and Brian and it will be balls out on the golf course trying to beat each other. You don't want to come in last in my family. Every Christmas, Easter, Father's Day, we'll get out there and go at it.
I think my mother just uses it as an excuse to get us out of the house.
BadGolfer.com: You're a big Phil Mickelson fan. And Mickelson had his epic U.S. Open meltdown on the 18th hole of your golf course, Winged Foot. What did you think as you watched that play out?
Kevin Dillon: I love Mickelson and that's a tough, tough hole to finish on. If you remember, Colin Montgomerie messed it up as much as Mickelson, but no one really talks about that. But he had such a good chance to win if he had just played it safe.
BadGolfer.com: So, give it up, should Mickelson have went with driver on the 72nd at Winged Foot?
Kevin Dillon: You're killing me ... No, he should have kept the big stick in the bag. I love you though, Phil. It wasn't like he was playing on Christmas with me and my brothers, though. That's the U.S. Open. Play it safe to win.
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