Elway still searching for first win | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Elway still searching for first win

Steve Yingling

Now that actor Jack Wagner has lifted the label of best player to have never won an American Century Championship title, who assumes that burden?

John Elway, for one.

The Hall of Fame quarterback has one of the finest swings in celebrity golf, but has yet to win a celebrity title, including 17 tries at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

“If you asked me to pick the two guys that I think could be the two best golfers out here if they really worked at it, it would be Elway and Mario (Lemieux),” said six-time ACC winner Rick Rhoden. “You could put either one of them on a PGA Tour range and no one would know that they are not a PGA player.

“Whereas Danny Quinn, myself and a few other guys take it more seriously, to them it’s something to come do. I don’t think either one has the time it takes.”

Elway’s best opportunity at victory came in 1998 when Billy Joe Tolliver collapsed on the back nine of the final round. But it was Lemieux who emerged from a logjam of contenders to win the championship.

Still, the 47-year-old Elway has compiled eight top-10 finishes at the Lake Tahoe venue.

“I don’t know why I haven’t won (here),” Elway said. “There are so many good players. The Quinns, the Rhodens and the Billy Joe Tollivers, those guys are all polished golfers.”

Could a parallel be developing between Elway’s football and golf careers? Remember, it took Elway 15 years to lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl title.

The difference is that Elway has never been able to fully dedicate himself to golf like he did with football. Sidelining in car dealerships, running the Colorado Crush in the Arena Football League and raising four kids has limited Elway’s time for golf.

“I try to re-retire all the time, but it doesn’t seem to work,” Elway said. “I don’t practice and concentrate on it as much because I have too many other things going on. I’d like to be able to do that and work on polishing it up a little bit.”

Elway said when he does find time to practice, he tends to neglect his short game.

“I like to practice and I like to swing. I should not be here (on the driving range), but on the practice green a lot more,” he said.

Who knows? Elway was counted out several times in his pursuit of the Lombardi Trophy. And those drives he was pounding Wednesday afternoon were long and straight.

Elways keeps his fans waiting, but ultimately he delivers.

Notes: He wasn’t on the celebrity roster and there wasn’t a press conference announcing his presence in town.

Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers never craved attention when he played for the Chicago Bears (1965-71) and he certainly didn’t want it while he played a round of golf Wednesday at Edgewood.

Sayers, 64, took time to sign autographs afterward, then was on the move, almost as if he was once again wearing No. 40, darting through fans and media members before disappearing onto a shuttle bus.

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