It wouldn’t be a Steph Curry title without a little bit of drama. And a little bit of showmanship.
STEPHEN CURRY WALK OFF PUTT TO WIN THE 2023 AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP!!!— TheWarriorsTalk (@TheWarriorsTalk) July 16, 2023
Down three points after 53 holes of the American Century Championship, the four-time NBA champion Golden State Warrior did what he’s done in so many clutch situations before: Sink a shot from distance.
From roughly the distance of a corner three, Curry sank a putt to finish the par-5 18th hole in three shots. Under the tournament’s modified Stableford scoring system, an eagle is worth six points, so Curry leapfrogged former golfer Mardy Fish to win the tournament, 75-73.
Curry needed to eagle the hole because the scoring system awards just three points for a birdie, and one point for par, which Fish achieved. But having seen Curry make countless game-winning three-pointers in tie games, he might have gone for an eagle just for style points.
And speaking of style points, Curry may have pioneered the first look-away putt.
Yes, he’s done that when a three felt true coming out of his hands, but the world of golf generally doesn’t cotton to that level of razzle-dazzle, outside of “Happy Gilmore.” We would love to see Brooks Koepka sink a putt on the 17th hole of a major and hit his playing partner with the “Night Night” celebration.
Let’s just say the Tahoe crowd didn’t hate it when the baby-faced assassin delivered the kill shot to the tournament field.
The scene from Steph’s tournament-winning putt on 18 pic.twitter.com/snMnVtHErW— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) July 16, 2023
Curry becomes the first active athlete to win the ACC since 2000, when kicker Al Del Greco won it all. Being an NFL kicker barely qualifies for being an active athlete, so we’ll say that Curry joined 1998 winner Mario Lemieux as the only two truly active professional athletes to win the tourney.
While he averaged a consistent 25 points across the three days of the tournament, a big chunk of Curry’s 75 points was based on big shots. None was bigger than his hole-in-one, which he got on the seventh hole Saturday. It was the second hole-in-one of Curry’s life, and it was worth eight points.
STEPHEN CURRY HOLE-IN-ONE— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) July 15, 2023
STEPHEN CURRY HOLE-IN-ONE
STEPHEN CURRY HOLE-IN-ONE pic.twitter.com/SvlJNihRF0
Chef Curry finished the tournament with four eagles, worth a total of 26 points, and avoided costly turnovers, AKA double bogeys. It’s a good sign for the Warriors’ renewed focus on ball control for the 2023-24 season to see how Curry masterfully kept the ball on the fairway. Most of the time. And he didn’t once try to hit the golf ball behind his back for no reason.
It was a huge win for Curry, who had twice finished twice at this celebrity tournament. But he also won another victory be defeating his father, Dell, and his brother, Seth, in the annual Curry family bet. Steph gave his father 12 points and gave 45 points to new Dallas Maverick Seth Curry, but comfortably defeated his dad by 27 and his little brother by 62.
Traditionally, the stakes of that bet are that the loser has to jump into Lake Tahoe. We’re not sure if Dell, Seth, or both had to take the plunge this year.
As happens any time Curry wins a title, the haters and nay-sayers came out of the woodwork. Allegedly, Fish was distracted by a fan who made screeching noises before his tee shot on the 18th hole. Could it have been DeMar DeRozan’s daughter? Regardless, Fish shanked his first shot.
️ #CLOWN Someone yelled in Mardy Fish’s backswing on 18 & it cost him a chance at winning the @ACChampionship— NUCLR GOLF (@NUCLRGOLF) July 16, 2023
️“Somebody screamed right in his backswing, that was awful…. Was it on purpose? Yes”. pic.twitter.com/HGLDmFbxnS
It’s too bad that golfers and a former tennis player like Fish demand absolute silence in order to perform, but that’s what separates a player like Curry, who has heard things one hundred times more despicable than that on any given possession playing the Celtics in Boston Garden. What’s next? Are the haters going to complain that Curry only won the championship, and not American Century Championship Final Round MVP?
Why is Curry so comfortable on a golf course? It’s probably because he hears the same thing when a golfer hits an errant shot as he does when Klay Thompson tells Devin Booker how many rings he has: “Fore!”