Monday, April 18, 2011

Jerry Rice Continues to Steal Spots From Real Golfers

I know what you're thinking. Another rant about something that most people don't care about. You probably thought the word "steal" was a little much here, and that Jerry Rice was invited to play in last week's Fresh Express Classic, a Nationwide Tour event eventually won by Daniel Chopra.

Chopra shot a third round 61, and the final round was canceled by bad weather, but the storyline that I'm focusing on deals with Rice, and his continued shot at professional golf. Rice shot 81-82 to finish dead last in the field, missing the cut by 22 shots. Sometimes the ball hits your fingertips and you drop it. This one sailed into the upper deck of the grandstands.

Rice played in two Nationwide events a year ago, finishing 17-over in one of them and then shooting a first round 92 in the other before being disqualified for using a range finder. My rant last year is right here. I feel the exact same way today.

This isn't the PGA Tour. These people in the events aren't millionaires, and most probably will never be. They're guys that, like Jerry, dreamed as a kid of being a famous athlete with girls and money and cars and sponsors. They're playing in the CFL right now and they're hoping that one day it turns into the NFL, but for most it won't. For most, and to steal a term from Mike McDermott, "it's a fucking grind." It isn't fun. They're out there hoping that this putt makes them a check, or this drive finds the 18th fairway so hopefully they'll be able to pay off a couple of bills. Credit cards are currency out there, and paying them off is a pipe dream, just like winning the Masters.

And now you've got to deal with Jerry Rice, professional football hero and Dancing With the Stars participant, coming out and finishing dead last, and taking spots from players. Even if he isn't taking a spot, he's having to play with two poor saps that are having to watch that go on, and take it from a guy that has been the worse player in a group before, there is nothing you want more than to take away from a good round. It seems Rice keeps doing it, and he probably will the more and more the Nationwide Tour invites him.

One shot was cute. The second shot was stupid. A third invite is just downright disrespectful not just for the Nationwide guys, but for all golfers that have taken their shot at the professional level. Want to give out a sponsors invite? Invite some mini tour guy that is lighting it up right on their respective tours. Give it to Charlie Beljan, who shot a 60 in the first round of the last Gateway Tour event in Arizona. He might have a chance to turn it into something good.

For now, we just get another pitiful performance from Rice and another day of me shaking my head. It isn't fair, and someone in the tour office needs to realize this, and put an end to it.



emanuel said...

I agree. He's had his shot. He has plenty of money and can golf for fun. He doesn't need to be out there with people who are trying to make it in order to pay the bills.

Anonymous said...

You are exactly right, he's had his day in the sun and was pretty good at what he did, but if he cant qualify on his own, he should be at home. That is like me playing QB in the NFL one Sunday, you think a team would let me do that?

Anonymous said...

I guess the only counter argument would be if his presence pulled up the prize fund through additional sponsorship for all the other players trying to make a living. The other golfers may then feel it's benefical.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the counter argument. The only reason I even read the article was because it referenced Jerry Rice. I don't think I'm the exception either. Golf is a spectator sport. Without spectators, there isn't a tour. If inviting one guy to your tournament gets the attention of people like me (average fan), then it's done a good thing for the tournament sponsors, the tournament hosts and yes, the actual golfers playing in the tournament. By the way, if these guys were really trying to pay the bills (I'm talking to you Emanuel), don't you think they'd actually be pursuing some other vocation that assured them of a more steady income?

vince said...

First I think its truly amazing that he can compete on that level. Knowing how hard it is to make par playing from the back tee boxes...and using usga rules..under tournament pressure and conditions. Consider well would a professional golfer do in an NFL tryout...ok div 1 college tryout..nah maybe high school..not even close..there are some that do and some that talk..the G.O.A.T is a doer...and thats what makes the great well great...