'The Bachelor' gets great ratings in Cedar Rapids

Arlington's Chris Soules made good impression at Zach Johnson Foundation Classic

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CEDAR RAPIDS — The current marquee name of golf, Jordan Spieth, signed a lot more autographs at the Zach Johnson Foundation Classic Monday than Chris Soules, otherwise known as “The Bachelor.”

Spieth was the smash hit of the golf crowd. You win the Masters in April and U.S. Open in June, then show up at any golf course in early July, you are the main event.

But Soules posed for a lot more photos with fans than Spieth or anyone else at Elmcrest Country Club, and my educated guess is 99.4 percent of the people who had their picture taken with Soules were females.

For those who avoid network television and pop culture, “The Bachelor” is an ABC show in which a lot of single females try to win the heart and an engagement ring from a bachelor who gradually narrows the field.

The bachelor picks someone to be his bride in the season-finale, then they live happily ever after. Or they break up before ever wasting money on a wedding license.

I can’t give you more details than that, because I’ve never seen the show. It sounds like a brain cell-killer to me. But I watched pro golf on TV Sunday, and many might suggest that’s no path to enlightenment, either.

Anyhow, I was prepared to be filled with contempt for Soules, since he became famous for being, well, a bachelor. Nor was I the only one who felt that way.

“His 30 seconds of Andy Warhol fame are almost over,” said an older male in the ZJFC gallery. Actually, Warhol said that in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.

Soules’ clock of fame has yet to expire. A lot of women wanted a little of his time here, and he seemed very friendly and accommodating to all of them and was ultra-supportive of Johnson’s pro-Cedar Rapids event. So, I’m stowing the contempt.

“We were accusing him of hitting the ball into the crowd so he could sign autographs,” said Steve Sukup, the chief financial officer of Sukup Manufacturing in Sheffield. Coincidentally, Sukup makes grain bins and grain dryers, which he jokingly said he was trying to sell to Soules, who farms in Arlington, Iowa.

Many was the time when Sukup and the three others in his group stood around on greens and fairways waiting for Soules to pull away from fans so he could rejoin them and hit his shot.

But a golfer, he isn’t.

“I don’t even own a set of clubs,” Soules said. “I actually borrowed my buddy’s clubs. I golfed for the first time in a year-and-a-half four days ago.”

The guy’s been a little busy. This year alone there was “The Bachelor,” followed by his participation in ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

There was also his engagement and subsequent breakup with the “winning” contestant on “The Bachelor,” Whitney Bischoff. And there was Arlington, where he says he will continue to farm as he did two years ago when almost no one knew him.

You got the sense some of the women he encountered Monday didn’t care if Soules was a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker. They liked him.

“We came here to see him and Jordan Spieth and Jason Day,” said Nancy Justice, one of a group of three women who all got their pictures taken with Soules.

“The cute ones,” added Jodi Weiss.

Her husband, Roger Weiss, said the three were “40-somethings acting like 16. They had to put on a little lipstick before (meeting Soules).”

Weiss said he and his wife are one of four couples who get together on Monday nights to watch “The Bachelor” or “The Bacherlorette,” whichever is in season. Judging by the show’s blockbuster ratings, they are not alone.

“I’ll be on the Food Channel this fall on a cooking show,” he said. “The name of the show is ‘Worst Cooks of America: Celebrity Edition.’

Some of his fellow contestants will include Jenni “JWOWW” Farley from “Jersey Shore,” Barry Williams (Greg Brady” from “The Brady Bunch”), and Jaleel White (Urkel from “Family Matters.”) The word “celebrity” can be stretched thin.

“Not only am I bad at golf,” Soules said, “I’m bad at cooking as well.

“But I’m good at making fun of myself and laughing.”

He’s self-deprecating with a sense of humor. So that’s why the ladies love him.

Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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