Jerry Rice Takes a Nationwide Flop

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IApril 16, 2010

You just had to know the guy was in trouble when he couldn't beat Lawrence Taylor on something called Donald J. Trump's Pompous World of Golf.

I saw Jerry Rice taking on L.T., whose golf swing might be described as "primitive" on a good day, in a match made for television. L.T. was so bad, he was afraid to hit a driver, and instead resorted to three-iron tee shots.

Still, he found a way to dust Jerry in an episode of Trump's Golf Channel series.

Then Rice decided he'd play as a pro in this week's PGA Tour Nationwide event at the TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, California.

Note to Jerry:  If you can't dust guys on the celebrity tour, your chances are slim-to-none on the Nationwide and slim left the clubhouse.

Well, the one-time, fleet-footed 49er can be glad he made a lot of money playing football.

Rice opened Thursday at Stonebrae with a nifty 83, that's only 12-over for the first round and a mere 20 shots off the leader's pace, a 63 by Dicky Pride.

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I also caught a glimpse of his "highlights" on SportsCenter and it was ugly at best.

There was Jerry flubbing bunker shots, missing three-footers, and generally making a mess of things.

Good news is his Riceness avoided the dreaded "shutout." He managed a solo birdie on a par five.

Bad news is his 255-yard driving average wouldn't put him near the top two on the LPGA Tour.

So this foray into professional golf is hopefully something Rice is doing as a lark.

He needs to go back on the celebrity tour to try and compete there.

As the PGA Tour's ad says, "These guys are good."

So are a lot of the guys on the Nationwide.

Yes, Jerry Rice was a great NFL receiver.

But the fact is, he couldn't crack the top six on coach Rick Christie's Division II University of Tampa golf team.

Sorry Jerry.