By John Strege
Mention Detroit and golf is not what comes to mind, one would think. But the Detroit Lions dangled the game as a lure and free agent wide receiver Golden Tate bit.
Or so he would have us think. "He [Lions vice chairman Bill Ford] just said at one point that Michigan has the most golf courses, or something like that, in the United States," Tate told Detroit Free Press columnist Carlos Monarrez. "I forgot what the stat was, but that played a huge role in my decision to come to Detroit."
Guessing that a $31 million contract had a greater role, but in sports circles it's never about the money, is it?
Tate, the leading receiver for the Super Bowl-champion Seattle Seahawks, said that Ford told him that the TPC Michigan was "right across the street, which we have one of those in Seattle and it's my favorite course to play in Seattle. I can only imagine the course in Detroit is going to be in pretty good shape when the weather permits."
Weather permitting is the operative phrase here. The statistic to which Ford likely was alluding is that Michigan has more courses per capita than any other state. Michigan is a terrific golf state, but it also has a short golf season.
Tate, meanwhile, is an avid golfer, though not a particularly good one. Three years ago, he was lamenting his inability to see improvement in his game. Get a grip, Golden, or at least a new one.
A left-hander who plays golf right-handed, Tate compensates by using a cross-handed grip. "I've tried using left-handed clubs," he told Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com, "and I've also tried converting over and just using right-handed clubs and changing my grip. But it doesn't feel right for me. I think I do just fine with it. As long as I get a par every now and then I'm happy."