Golf is a frustrating game. All sports have rules designed to make the game harder, but as Robin Williams so classically illustrated it’s almost absurd how far the golf designers went out of their way to make it more difficult.
Teeny tiny ball? Check. Oddly shaped club to hit the ball with? Oh yeah, like a little paddle on the end of a long stick. And all you have to do is get it in the teeny tiny hole... except the sick sadists that built this game put the hole hundreds of yards away.
There have been only a few so-called “dual sport pros.” I’m probably showing my age here a bit, but Bo Jackson is always the first player that comes to mind when I think of this. He came into my young life as a Tecmo Bowl video game star, but most people associate him with being the first athlete to be named an All-Star in two different sports. Deion Sanders is another one from my youth that I remember as being a standout. Both of those guys have one thing in common: they were absurd athletes.
Steph Curry took to the golf course this week, to remind us all that although he may not be throwing down 360 windmill dunks on opposing team, he is absolutely among the most physically talented players in the NBA.
On the NBA court, this manifests in his absurd shooting and playmaking. As Nate Parham said in our Slack chat:
I've actually thought for a long time that the vast majority NBA PGs MUST not only "superhuman" vision, but way above normal processing pathways that allows them to react much more quickly than normal.
Whatever it is, it makes me jealous.
I picked up golf a few years ago and play maybe once or twice a year. It’s a brutally challenging sport. I consider myself decently talented at sports, but there’s something about the hand-eye coordination required to reliably hit a golf ball that flummoxes me. Curry? Not so much.
Curry took to the TPC Stonebrae course to play in his professional golf debut at the Tour's Ellie Mae Classic and did ok. As with anything new, it sounds like he had a minor case of nerves in his debut, as per ESPN:
"It was an amazing experience, I've been looking forward to this since I found out, and to finally hit my first shot in tournament play was a really, really nervous moment, but it was everything I hoped for," Curry said.
That first shot got him confused, as he nailed the deepest shot of his career right off the first tee:
...missed badly on his initial ball of the day, landing his tee shot off a hill that kicked it perfectly into the cup holder of a golf cart. He then took a drop.
Still, he more than held his own. Remember, this is his very first attempt at golf against pros in a formal format. And he finished with a respectable 74 on the day. Low enough to beat one of the pros in his group. Sam Ryder, who won the Pinnacle Bank Championship two weeks ago, shot a 75.
I’m not the only one scratching their head at this. Andre Iguodala, himself an avid golfer who will actually be doing some media coverage of the game this summer voiced his tongue in cheek frustrations on Curry’s skill as reported by CSN Bay Area.
Despite his best efforts, Iguodala hasn’t closed the golfing gap on Curry, who is nearly a scratch golfer. Warriors coach Steve Kerr pulled some strings to get the two on at Augusta after their first championship in 2015. Iguodala is still chasing Curry a few years later.
“That dude’s too good,” Iguodala said. “His game has gotten better as mine has gotten better. I need him to get worse.”
Spoken like every NBA team that isn’t named the Warriors.
Oh, and by the way, the season starts on October 17th. That’s about 74 days away as I write this. And it can’t come soon enough.