Williams finally gets shot to play Edgewood | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Williams finally gets shot to play Edgewood

Jared Green

STATELINE- Matt Williams is the only local on the player list, but the Carson High graduate is currently living in a Phoenix suburb where he teaches at a youth baseball academy. Despite growing up less than an hour from the course, Williams has never played at Edgewood.

“I’m not feeling any pressure to do well even though I’m local,” Williams said. “I stink as a golfer, so no one expects me to do well, least of all me.”

Williams will likely play in front of one of Friday’s largest galleries, but it won’t be about him. His playing partners on the first day of the tournament are crowd favorites Charles Barkley and Jesse Ventura.

“I’m just going to laugh with them and at them,” Williams said. “I’m sure they’ll play to the crowd a bit and we’ll probably be jawing back and forth the whole time.”

Barkley did a standup routine for the crowd on Thursday at the driving range, grabbing a microphone to take questions from an NBC announcer.

When asked why he comes to the tournament every year, he had a simple answer: “The casinos.”

Rumors had the Round Mound of Rebound dropping six figures at the blackjack tables at Caesars Tahoe on Wednesday evening.

Even when Barkley seemed to get serious, there was a punch line on the way.

“Everyone’s not here to see me. They’re here to see all these guys,” he said. “But those who do come to see me are just going to see a sexy man. I’m a good-looking, sexy guy.”

Barkley has slimmed down a bit, but he has a more efficient way of making himself look good.

“I’m losing weight. I found out you can’t be fat and be a sex symbol,” he said. “But my new diet is mainly just hanging out with more fat people. When I hang out with Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, it makes me look fatter.”

Also getting ready for the comedy circuit was actor Jack Wagner. Known best for his roles on “General Hospital” and “Melrose Place,” Wagner is one of the few nonathletes who do well on the celebrity golf tour.

“I try to inflict as much pain on my opponents before the round as possible,” he said to explain his success. “I’ll use tees, whatever. I also try to wear glasses that have a glare to blind the other guys when they’re putting.”

Wagner was equally glib about socializing with former and current professional athletes.

“I’ve been playing with these guys for years, but no one will talk to me,” he said. “It really hurts my feelings sometimes, but I usually get them back by beating them.”

One of the groups for the opening round will feature Carson Palmer, Kyle Boller and Ben Roethlistberger. All three quarterbacks were first-round draft picks, Palmer and Boller in 2003 and Roethlistberger this year.

Although Palmer (USC) and Boller (Cal) are friends from back in their Pac-10 days, Boller has a big edge in NFL experience. Palmer didn’t take a snap last season, while Boller made nine starts before going down with a quadriceps injury.

Palmer said he and Roethlistberger will do a lot of listening when Boller has something to say about playing in the NFL.

“I think we’ll both be getting advice from Kyle,” Palmer said. “I’m in the same boat as Ben, pretty much.”

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