May 14, 2010
The Nationwide Tour, the PGA Tour's minor league, has done some things in the past to boost its product. While most of us know about the Nationwide, it is rare we pay much attention to it past who won or lost.
So when the Nationwide Tour invited Jerry Rice, former NFL legend, to play a second event, eyebrows were raised. He missed the cut in his first try there with rounds of 83-76. This week? Rice took missing the cut to a whole new level.
His first round broke a record at the BMW Pro-Am as Rice recorded a 20-over 92, which included a 10, 8 and two 7s. He shot 49 on the front only to clean that up with a sweet 43 on the back. He made four double-bogeys, and was so far back of the leaders that he told reporters, "I don't want to talk about golf. Had enough."
So what did he do in his Friday round? Only posted a 10-over 82, still the third-worst score of the week, and then disqualified himself because of a "rookie mistake" — his caddie used a range finder to check a yardage!
Listen, I've ranted about Rice's efforts this week enough, but it needs to be said once more. If you know so little about tournament golf that you didn't realize (and your caddie didn't realize) that using a distance laser is illegal, you don't need to be in the field. Well, you shouldn't be in the field in the first place after 92-82, but you really shouldn't if you have such little respect for the players not in the field that you pull out a range finder to check a yardage when you are in dead last.
Rice did apologize for the mistake, and says he knows he isn't fit for this type of competition, so we have to give him that, it's just that there are plenty of great golfers looking for a spot in an event like this, and Rice in the field means one more misses out.
Rice admitted after the round that he will never try another Nationwide Tour event.
"If I can’t fully commit to it, even though I really enjoy it," he's not going to enter, Rice said. "There are some good golfers that really need to get on this course."
Rice was a fan favorite at the tournament and enjoyed his time with the crowd. But he may want to stick to football.