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Rhoden, Brodie team unstoppable at golf championship

Steve Yingling

Rick Rhoden is tough enough to beat all by himself. With retired Niners quarterback John Brodie on his side, Rhoden was unbeatable in the final round of the Isuzu Celebrity Golf Championship on Sunday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

The sporting 61-year-old Brodie saved Rhoden a possible two-stroke penalty on the 16th hole when he informed the eventual winner that he needed to pull the pin while chipping on the green.

Rhoden elected to chip since his 85-foot on the front of the massive 16th green required him to negotiate some fringe. While legal to chip on a green, a player must treat the shot as a putt and pull the pin.



“That’s the first time I’ve ever done that, and John was kind enough to remind me that I had to take the pin out because I was on the green,” Rhoden said. “I was going to putt the ball, but I had to putt it through 15 feet of that gnarly stuff between myself and the hole.”

Brodie and retired NHL player Dan Quinn trailed Rhoden by only three strokes at the time.



“I could just see him hitting the pin an falling away, then we’re all standing around thinking, ‘This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go,'” said Brodie, the 1970 NFL Most Valuable Player.

Following the act of sportsmanship, Rhoden chipped to within five feet and sank the birdie putt to move to 9-under par. Quinn and Brodie both missed their birdie attempts to fall four shots off the pace.

“That’s what’s good out here. Guys like John have played tournament golf for so long. He didn’t have to say anything there, but we’re rooting for everybody,” Rhoden said.

Several years ago, retired hockey player Pierre Larouche was accessed a penalty for not returning his ball marker to it’s correct position on the green. Back then, no one told him before he struck the ball.

“I don’t want to win by a guy not putting his coin back, and I’m sure John doesn’t want to win because I hit a ball that hits the pin that should have been out,” Rhoden said. “We’re all competing, but we want to win by playing the best.”

Rhoden parred the 17th hole and missed a chance to break his tournament scoring record when he three-putted from 25 feet on the 18th.

“I had a comfortable lead, and I really wasn’t thinking about the record,” Rhoden said. “Obviously, I should have finished 10 under. The first putt was rushed and I misshit it.

“I would hope if needed to two-putt that one, I could have.”

Brodie and Quinn birdied the 18th hole to equal Rhoden with final-round 70s. Like most of the players in the field, they struggled with their putting.

“On the front nine I had a couple of chances, but I didn’t hit good putts,” Brodie said. “Danny and I were about two shots off of putting any heat on Rick. I never got the feeling that Rick was worried, and he never backed off.”

Quinn looked like a champion from tee to green but never got his putter rolling.

“I hit really good shots coming in, but I hit horrible putts. I never really stroked the ball well,” said the 1992 celebrity champion.


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