Defending champ at ease about title defense |

Defending champ at ease about title defense

By Paul Andrew

Tribune staff writer

STATELINE – Most defending champions in sports are driven more than ever to repeat as title holders. Typically, they put on their “game face” and go on about how they can duplicate their championship feat.

“I’ve got to work harder as the champion” and “people are gunning for me and my title, so I have to be more intense” are typical clichés we hear from champions.

This certainly isn’t the demeanor of defending ACC Celebrity tournament champion Jack Wagner as he enters this year’s event after winning in 2006. It was Wagner’s first win, even though he was regularly in contention during the previous 16 tournaments that he played.

Playing Thursday’s celeb/am portion of the tournament, Wagner was barefoot, had a cigar in his mouth and was the polar opposite of an intense competitor.

As he flirted with the ladies and signed autographs for the kids, his golf game seemed to be furthest from his mind. Numerous women were invited into his golf cart for pictures, as the champ seemed in no hurry to get to the next tee.

“My game’s fine,” he said as he took a toke from his stogie. “I’m glad I won last year so I got that over with.”

When asked about the return of Rhoden, and what that means to the competition, he seemed unaffected.

“I’m not sure if I would call it more fun or not to have him back in the tournament,” Wagner said.

With the rumor that girlfriend Heather Locklear might be joining him in town this weekend, playing competitive golf might be further from his mind.

However, if being relaxed, calm and having fun are what it takes to succeed under the pressure of a golf tournament, Wagner might be cinch to repeat.

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