MADISON - Steve Stricker had a chance for glory on the 17th hole at University Ridge Golf Course on Saturday. But it had nothing to do with golf.
Someone produced a football. Stricker ran a route. Brett Favre, his partner in a nine-hole celebrity scramble, lofted a pass ...
... and it bounced off Stricker’s fingertips.
“I should have caught it,” Stricker said with a grin. “I fumbled it.”
Said Favre, “Perfect pass. He’s got a really smooth golf swing. His route-running is a little questionable. I didn’t want him to pull a hamstring and miss the rest of his tournaments this year. That would have been terrible.”
It was all in good fun, and a gallery of thousands ate it up. Stricker and Favre squared off against two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North and Mark Tauscher, Favre’s former Packers teammate, in the charity event.
The foursome teed off on No. 10 after the leaders went through in the inaugural American Family Insurance Championship. North and Tauscher won the scramble, which North likened to “the Washington Generals beating the Globetrotters.”
Favre said he hasn’t played much golf in recent years.
“I can’t remember the last time I played 18 holes,” he said. “This is the first golf outing I’ve done in years. Quite frankly, I did this for Steve, Andy and Mark. Other than that, I really don’t go anywhere.”
Said North, “Brett hit some funny shots, but there was a time he was a really good player. He was a 1- or 2-(handicap).”
Favre answered questions for about five minutes after the event before leaving to catch a plane home to Mississippi.
Asked about his impending induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he said. “At some point, I have to start preparing a speech, which I’m not good at doing. To be honest with you, it’s closing fast. It seems like just yesterday I was preparing for (his return to) Green Bay. It will be here quick.
“And I’ll be honest with you: After that I’ll be looking forward to the Wisconsin-LSU game (Sept. 3 at Lambeau Field).”
Does that mean he’ll attend the game?
“I’d like to be there,” he said. “It all depends on my daughter’s volleyball schedule. She’ll be starting her senior year. But I’d love to be there. Who wouldn’t want to watch that game?”
Taking it deep
Wes Short Jr. made the turn in 1-under, playing OK but doing nothing special. Things changed in a hurry on the back nine.
He birdied No. 11 and made a hole-in-one on the par-3 12th.
“Then,” he said, “it seemed like the hole started getting in the way.”
Short birdied Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16, playing a six-hole stretch in a torrid 7-under par.
“I made a par on 17 and felt like I messed up,” he said.
He barely missed another birdie putt on No. 18, shot a 29 on the back and finished with a 64, vaulting up the leader board into a tie for 12th.
Never too late
Fox Point native Skip Kendall also got it going in the right direction on the back nine, making birdies on Nos. 10, 11, 13, 14, 15 and 16. He shot a 68 and was tied for 28th.
“I kind of got everything going,” Kendall said. “I made about a 30-foot putt for birdie on No. 10 and that got the wheels going a little bit. I played good.
“What I did on the back nine was what I wanted to do on the front nine, too. I needed a low one to get back into it. I played OK. Probably moved up a little bit. I’ll just try to do it again tomorrow.”
Madison native Jim Schuman shot a 74 and was tied for 47th.
•Stricker’s schedule has changed now that the PGA Tour has canceled The Greenbrier Classic because of heavy flooding in West Virginia. He planned to play The Greenbrier, July 7-10, before heading to Scotland for the British Open, July 14-17. Now, he said, he’ll play in the Scottish Open and then the British.
•John Daly was among several players who weren’t pleased with the speed of the greens at University Ridge, calling them slow. He shot 71-72 and was tied for 60th. Bernhard Langer also called the greens “a bit slow” after the first round.
•One difference between the PGA Tour and the Champions: reading glasses in the scoring area for the senior players. “Why do you think they put them in there?” Kendall said with a laugh. “I can’t see a thing up close. It’s the senior tour. Come on.”