‘Brodes’ credited for victory
STATELINE – For the first time in American Century Championship history, two celebrities won the title.
Chris Chandler performed alone inside the ropes to claim the 54-hole title. But the former NFL quarterback was quick to credit former 49ers’ quarterback John Brodie, who followed his son-in-law throughout his record-setting Stableford round of 31 points.
“(He’s) as much as a father as I’ve had in my life and as much as a best friend as I’ve had in my life. For me to go out and win this thing was really special,” said Chandler, who later dedicated the title to Brodie.
“John is very, very proud and that makes me feel good, and it’s been a long time coming for us,” said Chandler, stimulating a a belly laugh from Brodie. Responded Brodie, “It was special.”
In 2000, Brodie suffered a severe stroke and nearly died, but his gradual recovery continues to embody the toughness and spirit he demonstrated as a professional football player and senior/celebrity golfer.
“He was on every tee box and I saw him on every second shot, and I could hear him laugh at the bad ones and hear him cheer for the good ones,” Chandler said. “I’ve probably played as many rounds with ‘Brodes’ as anybody else I’ve played with in my life and he kept telling me things to do with my golf game.”
One of those tips was a key to Chandler’s five-point championship win over Rick Rhoden on Sunday. Chandler’s booming drives set up a slew of birdie opportunities, including seven during the final round.
“The No. 1 thing he told me was to hit driver on every hole and I never bought into that until about three years ago,” Chandler said. “He told me if I do that, I’ll hit my driver better and better and better.
“That’s one of many things. He gave me a little putting tip before I went out today.”
Brodie finished runner-up in the 1997 championship and third in 1996 and his final appearance in 2000. The 1970 NFL MVP beamed and repeatedly broke out into laughter as Chandler talked about him during the post-tournament press conference.
After Chandler had clinched the title, “There was a lot of hugging, crying and smiling, and I was doing the same. Not much needs to be said at that point in time; a lot gets conveyed with a hug,” Chandler said.
“It was good, thanks,” Brodie said.