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Dilfer’s tantrum bad for celebrity golf

Column by Steve Yingling

In covering the celebrity golf championship for the past eight years at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course I never thought I’d see a player do anything worse than what John Elway did a few years back.

Elway, then Super Bowl-less, grabbed his crotch when a spectator at the 17th green needled the all-pro quarterback by blurting out, “How about them Niners?”

But Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Trent Dilfer one-upped Elway in the poor judgment department during the tournament’s second round Saturday.

Dilfer, who led after the first round with a 1-under-par 71, couldn’t control his temper on the fourth tee when he hooked his tee shot onto a cart path on the par-5 fourth hole.

Dilfer reacted by slamming his club face to the ground, causing the head of the driver to squirt left through an Isuzu sponsorship sign on the back of the tee.

Luckily, no fans were injured, although they couldn’t believe what they witnessed.

The Fresno State University alum apologized on the fifth tee, but by then the damage had been done to both his image and the event.

Dilfer, who shot a double-bogey 7 on the previous hole to lose his lead to Elway, disappeared from the leader board from there, finishing with a 9-over-par 81. He played the final 14 holes without a driver in his bag.

“I didn’t think (an 81) was possible the way I was playing, but it is. That’s why we’re not PGA guys. Our bad rounds are like this,” Dilfer said. “I’ve got to take it like a man. I never quit.”

Ironically, all of this transpired a day after Dilfer told the press the secret to quarterbacks’ success in golf.

“I think it’s because of the mental part of the game. The biggest part is we’re patient and accept the fact that we can’t be perfect. That’s the definition of a quarterback and it translates to the golf course,” Dilfer said.

NBC should consider suspending Dilfer from the 1999 championship, giving him a year to grow up.

BENCH CLAIMS DISCRIMINATION: With most of the field filled with active players and entertainers, Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench believes it’s time celebrity golf created a senior division.

“I was thinking about that (Friday), especially when I turned at 6 over. They’ve got an active (Isuzu Cup) in this thing. It’s discrimination. I’m going to talk to somebody about it.

“These guys are great athletes and they’re not 50 years old like I am, and they’ve had a chance to play three weeks in a row. It just shows you what can happen.”

Bench finished in a tie for 22nd with jockey Corey Nakatani.

RAVENS QB URGES MARIO TO TURN PRO: After watching Mario Lemieux fire the second-lowest championship score ever – a 5-under-par 67 – in the second round Saturday, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Jim Harbaugh had a suggestion for the retired hockey player.

“He had a couple of three-putts on 16 and 17, otherwise his round would have been lower. I like Mario. I think he’ll win (Sunday) and he should turn pro Monday.”

Jimmy, obviously knows a few things about comebacks.

HARBAUGH REUNITED WITH EX-COLTS COACH: Baltimore is Harbaugh’s third NFL team, but he’s no stranger to Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda. The two helped guide Indianapolis into the 1995 AFC championship game.

“It’s brought back a lot of good memories to be back with him this off-season, and I’m looking forward to a great year next year. Ted’s just real positive and fun to play for. You really feel like you want to do well for him,” Harbaugh said. “He got a raw deal an Indy. Oh well, you take a team one play from a Super Bowl and they don’t offer you any more than a one-year contract, that’s a slap in the face.”

JONNY WASN’T GOOD: Seattle Seahawks coach Dennis Erickson can show his face on a golf course again. Erickson no longer has the distinction of being the worst golfer in celebrity championship history.

That disgrace now belongs to mogul skier Jonny Moseley, who topped Erickson with a three-round total 307, which is 91 over par. The old record was 302.

But the personable Moseley isn’t about to drop the game.

“I like the game very much. It’s totally under my skin and I will continue to play,” he told an NBC audience Sunday.

Besides a little embarrassment, Moseley came away from the three-day tournament with sore knees.

“When I walk this course my knees get sore. I ski for a living and my knees never get sore. I think golf’s bad for your knees,” Moseley said.

They’re bound to hurt when you go where Jonny goes on the golf course.

‘THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ME’: Entertainer publisher Tony Drew probably won’t go water-skiing during the championship’s first round in the future.

Drew, a part-time Edgewood employee, carried Mario Lemieux’s bag during the celebrity-amateur event Thursday. Lemieux’s regular caddy was supposed to take over during the weekend, but he never arrived.

Edgewood tried to reach Drew early Friday morning about filling in, but he wasn’t home. He was out water-skiing.

Scott Rahbeck, a 1997 Whittell High grad, was the beneficiary of Drew’s misfortune. Lemieux went on to win the tournament and the $100,000 first prize. Caddies ordinarily receive 5 to 10 percent of the player’s winnings.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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