PGA Tour winner Ben Crane, 35, has made more than $15 million in his golf career, but the thing a lot of you know him for is his propensity to make strange and hilarious videos. The first one -- his workout video -- came out a little more than a year ago and has more than 800,000 views. Perhaps his most famous was the "Golf Boys" video with fellow golfers Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler. It has nearly 3 million views. Yesterday, a publicist e-mailed us to let us know his latest video -- featuring Crane doing gymnastics, embedded below -- had just been released. It's another hit -- and it's for a good cause, as Farmers will donate money to charity based on the number of page views. In any event, we asked asked the publicist if we might talk to Crane. Later that day, he gave us a call. Here we go:
RandBall: I’ve been a fan of those videos you do since you started putting them out. First off, the one you just put out – the gymnastics one: Where did that specific idea come from?
Ben Crane: We were just in Palm Springs a while ago, and we saw a gymnastics studio. We thought, ‘Oh my gosh, there are so many great stunts you can do there.’ It just seemed like a really good place to start.
RB: How do the other tour players react to the videos?
BC: The players like them. The caddies seem to have a good laugh about it. It’s been fun. Guys are always asking when the next one is coming out.
RB: Do you shoot a bunch of them at once?
BC: We try to shoot about three or four at a time. This one, we actually shot almost a year ago. So we have a few more in the hopper, and we’re launching them slowly. This is one we just came back to. I’ll have friends look at it on my computer. And if they start laughing, you go, ‘Hey, maybe it’s pretty good.’
RB: I’m a little bit of a jumpsuit enthusiast myself. Would you describe that red suit you always wear in the videos as a jumpsuit with shorts, or how would you characterize it?
BC: It’s almost like a wetsuit … it was all bought at Goodwill for the price of $5 or 10.
RB: You bought that red suit at Goodwill? That’s a serious find, right there.
BC: Yeah, no doubt. That’s what we said – look at this beautiful wetsuit. It immediately made the lineup.
RB: For some reason, the helmet always cracks me up. Why the helmet?
BC: Well, safety first, kids. Keep it safe.
RB: Who did the choreography on the Golf Boys video?
BC: My friend Ty Andre was one of the creators. We were picking up the guys together, and we started collaborating. Ty made up some of the moves, and they just kind of went with it. It took us a long time to learn a few simple moves, but we hung in there because we’re such great athletes, and we got it done.
RB: Do you have a favorite in all of these you put out?
BC: My favorite still is the workout video. It was the very first, and it just came off in a way that really struck me funny. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed so hard trying to put those lines together. I don’t even know what they mean to this day, but that’s the one that’s dearest to my heart. … We just kind of make it up as we go.
RB: How much time do you spend on these videos vs. working on your golf game?
BC: I probably spend less than a week a year making videos. Everyone can rest assured that I’m spending 51 weeks on my golf game and 1 on my videos.
RB: Your third child was born in October, a day after your most recent tour win. Will three kids put a damper on any future video production?
BC: Actually, the kids have been somewhat of the driving force behind making sure the videos keep going. They have them on their little iPads, and they’re pulling them up and watching them. Their friends like watching them, too. They don’t totally get the humor, so they like the visual things like the gymnastics and falling over on roller skates.
RB: Last thing – you’re from Portland. Could the hit show “Portlandia” ever get you on the show? It’s a funny show, and you’re a funny guy.
BC: You know, I’ve seen a couple of clips from that show. It’s pretty cool. I think it’s fun. The one thing I won’t do is that I won’t rule anything out. You never know. Sometimes you think, "That’s not a good idea," and then you think, "Wait, that’s a REALLY GOOD idea."