By Craig Smith
former director of media relations for the U.S. Golf Association
South Shore, Lake Tahoe, Nev. — Aaron Rodgers figures he is going to be a winner this week, even if he doesn’t take first place at the American Century Championship being played this weekend at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Lake Tahoe, Nev.
After a practice round on Tuesday where he interchanged pars and bogeys, Rodgers left for Los Angeles to attend Wednesday’s ESPY Awards, where his Green Bay Packers team is nominated for best team and he is nominated for top male athlete and top NFL player. He will return to Lake Tahoe on Thursday, in plenty of time to get in another practice round before the competition begins on Friday.
“I think I’ll get something,” said Rodgers with a slight smile. After all, Rodgers earned 2011 Super Bowl MVP honors after leading his team to a 31-25 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He completed 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards.
And although his drives here at Lake Tahoe may travel 304 yards, Rodgers still finds the game of golf more difficult than football at times.
“It’s frustrating,” says the big quarterback who has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in each of his first two years as a starter. “I have no idea where the ball is going. On the (football) field, I know where the ball is going and I have a pretty good idea of what I’m doing.”
But, even on the golf course it has been a year to remember. Earlier this summer, he carded a 71, his lowest score ever, and had his first hole-in-one. But breaking 80 this week still figures to be a struggle.
“I get nervous,” admitted Rodgers, who has been playing golf since age 12 back in the Chico, Calif., area. “I feel like I should break 80 every time, but it’s hard. I feel like I should be competitive out here. This is my seventh year and I want to get better.”
His best finish was in 2006, his second year to play in the 54-hole Stableford format that offers a $125,000 first prize. He finished tied for 32nd that year, but has finished no better than 43rd since then.
Whether on the golf course or football field, life is good these days for the 27-year-old Rodgers, who wasn’t even recruited as a Division I quarterback coming out of high school in Beaverton, Ore. But sometimes he struggles with the attention that fame and money have brought on him.
“The good and the bad is the notoriety,” he says. “It gives you a platform to do good things, and it takes away your personal life. But, it is all good right now.”
Tuesday afternoon at Edgewood was good, too, for 12-year old Payton Raab of San Ramon, Calif. Rodgers met up with Raab before his practice round and invited him to caddie and ride along with his group that included former champion Rick Rhoden, Vinny Del Negro and Dan Jensen.
Yes, Rodgers is a winner in many ways.
This story is published here at lombardiave.com courtesy of Craig Smith, former director of media relations for the U.S. Golf Association.