The Loop

Jerry Rice: Why?

April 15, 2010

Why do some professional athletes think their skill is somehow transferable to golf? For instance, what made Michael Jordan at one time think he had a future in professional golf when his basketball days were over? Why now is Jerry Rice, one of the NFL's greatest receivers, pursuing professional golf?

Rice, the tournament host, accepted a sponsor exemption to play in the Nationwide Tour's Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae this week. He isn't playing as a novelty act to boost the gate, he said. Curtis Pashelka of the San Jose Mercury News wrote this:

Rice was given a sponsor's exemption into the Nationwide event, with some of the proceeds benefiting his charity foundation. But he doesn't want his participation to be looked at as a publicity stunt, saying he has broken par twice on the course. "I respect the game of golf, and I work hard at it," he said. "I have the opportunity to go out there and prove to everybody that I can play golf. That's the challenge, and I'm looking forward to it this week."

There is no indication whatsoever that he can play golf at this or any other professional level. His handicap is 0.1 at Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club in Menlo Park, Calif. He has posted seven scores in April, according to GHIN, the USGA's handicap service. His best scores are three 74s. He also has posted two scores of 80.

Nine holes into his Nationwide Tour debut, he's nine over par.

-- John Strege