April 16, 2010
Welcome to professional golf, Jerry Rice. It's a long way from the days of catching bricks, ain't it?
Rice, arguably the best wide receiver in the history of the NFL, dipped his toe into the world of pro golf on Thursday, and like we predicted, struggled mightily. How bad? Well, the leader shot an 8-under 63, 20 shots better than Rice, who at 12-over 83 is tied for dead freakin' last.
Jerry started the day and ended the day with double-bogeys, added two more throughout his round, and made only one birdie all day, on the par-5 7th.
His first nine as a professional golfer was what you'd expect. Tons of jitters, rust and inexperience. Rice turned at 44, but salvaged a near disaster by coming in with 39, not nearly as bad as it could have been.
If you want to see the difference in a serious pro and Rice, just look at some of the statistics.
Rice averaged 255 yards per drive, 147th in the field. He needed more than two putts per green on Thursday, dead last in the field in that statistic. Hit hit only 50 percent of his greens in regulation, and the only stat he lead the field in? Double-bogeys.
If anything, all Rice's round does is show the world just how tough it is to play serious, tournament golf on at a high level. Sure, he might be able to post a 71 with his buddies at the local country club, but when all the strokes matter and the guys in your group are grinding it out for rent money, the atmosphere gets a little more tense.
Rice will have a chance Friday to just go out and play with a little less pressure. Hopefully he can toss together a respectable second round, but don't be surprised if he gets going early and then stumbles late.