Friday, May 14, 2010

Jerry Rice (and the Nationwide Tour) Need to Get Serious

It was cute at first. The big, bad NFL wide receiver trying to make it out on the pro circuit. The idea had legs.

But that's all it was. Cute. It had no chance of working, and I said that from the get-go. Jerry Rice played in his second Nationwide Tour event on Thursday, and shot a 92, the highest score ever recorded at that event. That is 20-over par. Twenty. 2-0.

His round included a 10, an 8 and two 7s, one birdie and only eight pars. It was embarrassing, but more so for the tournament than for Rice. Why are they giving a spot to this guy over a respectable golfer actually trying to make a living? Give the spot away once, shame on Jerry. Give it away twice, shame on the Nationwide Tour.

Listen, I know hundreds of guys I've come across over the years that are still trying to grind out a paycheck in this stupid game. These are guys that have played college golf, qualified for U.S. Opens, won mini tour events, and beat PGA Tour players in random rounds of golf. These are legit players. All they've wanted is a chance. They've wanted that one break where they went out and did what they were supposed to do on the right level.

I talked to Kenny Perry on Tuesday, and what most don't understand is back in his mini tour days, Perry nearly quit the game, because he'd failed so many times. He was taking money from people and losing it, and investors only do that so many times. This is a man that has now won 14 PGA Tour titles, nearly snatched a PGA Championship and Masters, and has been on the Ryder Cup ... and he nearly never did any of that because the breaks weren't coming.

Rice needs to give this a rest, and the Nationwide needs to realize that enough is enough. He isn't good enough to do it, he never will be good enough to do it, and like when Michelle Wie kept trying to make it on the PGA Tour, someone finally has to realize that these are different games.

Rice might be able to post a 72 with his buddies, but this is real golf on real golf courses with real players. These are guys that get upset when they shoot 69 because they know it means they're five shots back. These are the types of golfers that don't miss four footers, and havent made a triple-bogey in years.

Enjoy the game all you want, Jerry, but do it on your own dime. Stop stealing spots from a kid that might actually make it.


chris_villasenor said...

You're absolutely right on this. He can play a dozen events a year on the "Am" side of televised Pro-Am events if he really wants to play golf on TV and be some sort of advocate for the game.

johnraser said...

Way to represent for all of us guys still grinding away, trying to get to the next level. *chest bump* :)

jholloway1196 said...

Have you ever been to a nationwide event. Jerry Rice seriously boosts attendance. What he shoots doesn't matter.

If he can play a little better -- it is very good for the sponsors and the tour.