Rice fine with being the underdog at ACC | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Rice fine with being the underdog at ACC

Joe Proudman

During press call on Wednesday, former “Seinfeld” actor John O’Hurley was asked who he though would finish atop the leader board at this year’s American Century Championship, which will be played at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course July 20-22.

“I think it’s going to be between Jack (Wagner) and Danny Quinn,” he said.

Former San Francisco 49ers great Jerry Rice playfully shouted to O’Hurley: “John, John it’s going to be between us.”

Rice re-stated his prediction when he got a crack at the question. “I think it’s going to be John and I at Edgewood in that final group.”

O’Hurley finished at the top of “Dancing with the Stars,” but his best showing at Edgewood was 41st in 2003. Rice, on the other hand, has cracked the top 10 – barely. In 2009 he finished in the 10 spot, and last year was 15th. While those are respectable finishes and it isn’t completely laughable to picture him with the winner’s trophy, there are several celebrities other than Rice favored to finish first.

Dallas Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo finished second to Wagner last year, who won the event for the second time. Quinn is a four-time winner of the event, finishing second three times and never doing worse than eighth. Then there is eight-time winner Rick Rhoden. His worst finish was also eighth, but until 2010 had done no worse than fifth.

But this year, Rice likes his chances to finish near the top.

“My setup is a lot better this year, the way I’m positioning myself over the ball. I’m really hitting it good,” he said. “I can see exactly what I want to do and how to approach the hole and not just get out there and hit the ball.”

Rice said he always felt comfortable on the football field, but not so much on the golf course. But that is changing.

“I think I’m feeling more confident this year. The confidence is there, but it’s just that it’s a learning process. It’s not something I’ve done all my life,” he said. “I’m excited about my progress and the direction I’m going.”

Even though others might not think so, Rice feels like that direction is up the leader board.

“There’s nothing wrong with being an underdog a little bit, I have no problem with that. There are some good golfers in this tournament,” he said. “I don’t mind being the underdog. I feel like my game is really progressing the right way. I was able to crack the top 10 and I hope to be in the top five soon.”

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