During an appearance on Dan Patrick’s podcast in 2021, Sandler confirmed the story that Barker only agreed to appear in “Happy Gilmore” as long as he got the better of the titular character, and not the other way around:
“Bob Barker read it, and his first response — and I know he probably tells everybody this — was, ‘I’ll do it. But I have to win the fight.’ Because he fought. His nextdoor neighbor was Chuck Norris. And so he said, ‘I train with Chuck, we train every night, and he helps me with my punches and my kicks, and I would love to do this, but I have to win this fight.'”
At the time, Barker was 73-years-old and everyone’s favorite daytime television grandpa. When he first pops up onscreen in “Happy Gilmore,” that’s still the role he plays: nothing but genial while paired with Happy in a Celebrity Pro-Am event. It’s only when Happy starts playing the worst round of his life that the competitive spirit takes hold, and Barker begins ruthlessly roasting his golf partner. It all leads to one of the most unexpected brawls in Hollywood history.
As originally written, it’s Happy who ends up knocking out the septuagenarian game show host, which we’re sure would have still made for a funny and wholly absurd scene. But Sandler and his team knew that it was more important to get Barker in the film than to have Happy come out on top, and it helped create one of the best celebrity cameos in movie history — which is something Barker’s martial arts instructor knows a little something about himself.