Jerry Rice Makes His Mark

by Jeff Skinner

It was a much better day for NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice on Friday.  After shooting an opening round 83 he bounced back and shot a 76 over the TPC Stonebrae course.  Rice felt more comfortable throughout his round on Friday and it showed as he even managed three birdies.  Unfortunately, he missed the cut but his work is not done.

Rice is serving as the tournament host and his presence has brought much publicity to The Nationwide Tour and The Fresh Express Classic.  Rice knew competing with the pros would be a hardy task but his main mission was a success: to get some recognition for the tour and the event.  He may have missed the cut but he has made his mark.

You have to give him credit for putting himself out there and pursuing his dream.  He says he’ll continue to work on his game.  If he puts the same effort into his golf as he did on the football field there is no telling how good he can get.

Here’s his blog after day two.

Shooting 76 today, I’m happy with that, because I had to fight my way back from yesterday. I wanted to play well, but the most important thing for me was for the tournament to be a success.

It’s been unbelievable to hear so many thank yous from the Tour players, for helping this event give their Tour some recognition. I wasn’t sure how the players were going to react to me playing — “Oh, no, here we go with another athlete …” — but it wasn’t like that at all. The players have been so cool about everything, and I really appreciate that.

The whole week has been exciting, from Tuesday with all the kids who came out for family day, and the poker tournament with Phil Hellmuth, and then having my teammates come out and be part of the pro-am … I have had a blast.

I am going to continue to work on my game. I learned so much this week. The first day, I made rookie mistakes. Last night I was so upset, I couldn’t sleep. I woke up at 2 a.m. and was just staring at the ceiling. I had my clothes picked out, over on a chair and I couldn’t wait for the sun to rise.

Today I was able to take my time. I slowed down everything. My caddie Andy (Miller) kept reminding me to just calm down. Yesterday I went away from everything — my swing, a new putter … That was stupid. Today I went back to my Nike putter and my regular swing. I took my time. So it was a lot better.

Like I said, the key for me was that I wanted the tournament to be a success and I am happy about that. I would do this all over again in a heartbeat. I would love to work with the Nationwide Tour and the people at TPC Stonebrae this make it happen again next year, if they want me.

It’s just too bad I didn’t make it to the weekend. I had some killer clothes that I was going to wear.


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