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.