Billy Joe Tolliver’s modesty, or lack of it, dominated center stage at the ACC press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m the king of the Pro Am. I go out make a ton of birdies in the Pro Am because it doesn’t matter where I hit it, because I’ll just go play their drive if it’s bad,” Tolliver said.
Tolliver is the defending champion and a four-time winner, but claims his game isn’t always spot on.
“My take on it — and I’m inconsistent—I’m hit or miss. So some days I’m hitting it good, some days I’m not,” Tolliver said.
After playing the course over the last few days, Tolliver says Edgewood is in top condition and he’s never seen it such good shape. He claims to not know how the fairways are because his ball always ends up in the rough, but cleans up his game once the tournament starts.
“Yesterday, on 3, I hit my drive in the right rough over there and that pin is back right. I hit a big high cut up over the trees. Would you do that Friday? Absolutely not. I hit 3 iron over it. You’re going to lay it up. Not going to hit a 3 iron into those trees unless it’s an accident,” Tolliver said.
He added how difficult it is to make a putt late in the day on Sundays in Tahoe because of the heat and this year’s weather is supposed to be even hotter.
Tolliver is among a slew of quarterbacks who have found success in the ACC.
“We’re just the best athletes. I don’t think there’s any question,” Tolliver joked. “Maybe it’s just hand-eye coordination you develop over the years.”
Former MLB pitcher Rick Rhoden includes pitchers in the group golfers.
“The reason the quarterbacks and the pitchers and the guys that actually throw something for a living, that motion is very similar in golf, even though it’s overhand. Your body rotates the same way. And most quarterbacks and pitchers actually play golf pretty well,” Rhoden said.
Rhoden is the all-time winner with eight, taking his first in 1991. He says his game comes and goes. He’s hoping to have a good week, but says the pressure of the tournament can have an effect.
Celebrities come to Tahoe for the competition as well as having a good time, but his year with Annika Sorenstam in the field Tolliver may have to cut down on the fun if he wants to make it two wins in a row.
“Over the years, I don’t need to be sober to get the drop on these dogs. These hands I’m playing with. But now Annika is in this deal, I kind of have to maybe cut it back to a six pack,” Tolliver joked.
Though Sorenstam is the favorite to win this year, both Tolliver and Rhoden aren’t concerned over what other players do and just focus on their game. Both agree, Sorenstam will be surprised how well athletes from other sports can golf.