Aug
3
2017
Steph Curry holds his own with impressive first round at Web.com Tour event (*Update)
By Stephanie Wei under Web.com Tour

*FRIDAY UPDATE: Steph Curry did it again! He shot back-to-back 74s at an official PGA Tour-sanctioned event. No, he did not come close to making the cut, but he held his own and didn’t embarrass himself, so I’d say that’s a job well done. He definitely exceeded my expectations. Well played and much respect. And damn, is there anything Steph can’t do?!?!

Via Web.com Tour's Twitter

Via Web.com Tour’s Twitter

Guess what, guys? Steph Curry is not only one of the best basketball players in the world, but chances are he would probably beat you at golf, too.

When the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic announced that it was giving the star point guard of the two-time NBA Champion Golden State Warriors a sponsor’s exemption, there were cries of outrage in the golf world that voiced utter outrage. <<me rolling my eyes>> The general argument is the one we’ve heard before, which is some form of the following: ‘But, but… he’s taking the spot away from a professional who is trying to make a living and feed his family!’ <<my eyes are now rolling so far back into my head>>

The sponsor can give the invite to whomever it pleases. If you really want to get into arguments about people taking spots, here’s one that would be a priority in my opinion: The 48-49 category on the Web.com Tour, which provides two spots each week for 48-49 year old pros prepping for the Champions Tour. There are all sorts of arguments that I could get into to “justify” Curry’s spot in the field (we’re in the entertainment biz and millions will tune in or are intrigued with how one of the best and most popular basketball players fares in a real pro-golf tournament), and so many other issues in golf that I found of greater concern and upsetting, but I’ve found that these two words generally take care of everything: Play better.

But Curry certainly fared far better in his inaugural appearance at a Tour-sanctioned event. He posted a four-over 74, which included three birdies, five bogeys and a double-bogey. While he needed 10 more strokes than the current clubhouse leader Brandon Harkins, Curry held his own and put on a respectable performance for a part-time, recreational golfer.

Let me emphasize that there’s a huge difference between shooting a 74 with your regular foursome at the club and posting that score in an official tournament round. If you haven’t played at high level competitively, then it’s hard to relate, but trust me, it’s not even close to the same thing. I can’t even put it into words at the moment, but it’s a different game.

I’m fairly certain most (myself included) didn’t expect him to break 80 because we’ve seen how other pro athletes who claim to be low-handicappers have fared when given similar opportunities, a la Jerry Rice, etc. It was a far more humbling experience. The Web.com Tour field isn’t the same as the guys playing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but there are several that were playing in the Ellie Mae Classic just a few years ago. The point is, these guys are really good.

En route to Curry’s 74, he hit 8 of 19 greens in regulation, got up-and-down 4 out of 10 times and needed 27 putts. He also beat a player in his group Sam Ryder, who won two weeks ago on the Web.com Tour.

Here are some highlights from Curry’s round. By the way, damn, that short game! I guess I shouldn’t be too surprise that he has soft hands considering he’s a point guard who has been the league MVP twice.

This clip is my favorite, so it has to go first — spoiler: Steph channeled in his inner Jordan Spieth:

Here’s what Steph had to say afterward:

Fairly certain Steph’s performance will make every sports major sports and bring exponentially more attention to the event than usual. Not surprising that he was a huge draw in California and the fans came out to watch, according to San Francisco Chronicle’s Ron Kroichick: “Curry’s presence brought a much larger-than-usual crowd to TPC Stonebrae. Many wore Warriors jerseys, including one young fan who also sported a chef’s hat (i.e. Chef Curry).”

Curry will have to play the round of his life tomorrow to make the cut, but who cares — he didn’t embarrass himself and he earned (even more) respect for his talents. So, haters, keep hating and dropping those weak takes.