Liddell gives celebrity golf some punch
July 18, 2009
STATELINE – Move over Barkley, there’s a new Chuck in town, and he’s here to take your perennial spot at the bottom of the American Century Championship leader board.
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell struggled during the opening round of the celebrity golf tournament on Friday, posting a -36.
Under a stroke play scoring system, that would equal a full round of eagles. But for the Stableford system the tournament uses, that’s as bad as it gets, six points worse than “The Round Mound of Rebound” himself shot during first round action.
But Friday’s effort did end up better for Liddell than his performance during the American Century Celeb-Am Tournament on Thursday, according to caddie Jay Glazer.
“Yesterday, we lost at least one ball on every hole,” Glazer said following the final hole on Friday. “He wants to knock everything out.”
On many strokes Friday, Liddell eschewed the traditional golf formality of a practice swing, opting simply to walk up to the ball and give it a go.
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And, while one overhand right from Liddell is all it takes to win in the octagon, the grip-it and rip-it method left the former champion with some decidedly tough lies on Friday.
There is hope for Liddell – who did hit a couple nice shots. It seems to just be a matter of achieving something that every golfer struggles with at one point or another: consistency.
Professional poker player Daniel Negreanu – who was in Liddell’s group on Friday – echoed Glazer’s advice following Friday’s round, saying the fighter just needs to “slow down.”
“He’s the fastest golfer of all time,” Negreanu said.
Negreanu posted a respectable -3 on Friday, and said he’s gunning for even by the end of the tournament.
Liddell – the first mixed martial artist to play in the American Century Championship – may have an excuse for not posting Tony Romo-like numbers on Friday.
Liddell’s been playing golf for “about three weeks,” he said, noting a couple of charity tournaments are about the extent of his golfing experience.
When asked if stepping into a tee box had anything in common with stepping into the octagon, Liddell replied, “Nothing at all.”
And that includes the mental preparation needed for both undertakings, Liddell said.
“At this point, I’m not good enough to have any mental pressure,” Liddell said. “Maybe when I get good enough, that’ll be an issue.”
And while both Barkley and Liddell’s golf games leaving something to be desired, they both share an approachability that has made Barkley a fan favorite at the celebrity golf tournament over the years.
Liddell signed autographs nearly nonstop on Friday and inspired consistent shouts of “Iceman” from the gallery, even when he shanked one.