NEWS

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers draws huge following

By Eric Boynton
Published on

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers acknowledged Saturday he hadn't run into local favorite Chandler Catanzaro, the Clemson alum now kicking for the Jets, but would've had some words at the ready if he had.

Both were among the competing celebrities at the BMW Charity Pro-Am with Rodgers, the two-time NFL MVP and former Super Bowl champion drawing by the far the biggest following, although he gave Catanzaro his due.

"I haven't seen him, but if I did, I would definitely talk some trash to him," Rodgers said after completing his third round at Thornblade. "Kickers and quarterbacks are always the best golfers on the team and it's the same way with the Packers with (kicker) Mason Crosby. But (Catanzaro) is playing in the low-handicap division, so you can't talk a ton of trash to a guy who is a legitimate better player than you."

As it turned out, both players missed the celebrity team cut, but Rodgers agreed to substitute for ESPN golf analyst Michael Collins, who had to leave for a prior engagement. Rodgers will tee off at 8:25 a.m. on No. 10 in the final round, playing with a marker.

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It's interesting to see professional athletes, usually perfectly at ease with all the pressure in the world in front of millions watching in person and TV, step outside their comfort zone in another sport where they're merely competent.

Rodgers admitted he "100 percent" had jitters, adding, "I love playing golf, but it's nice when I'm at my home course and there's not fans down the side because I get pretty nervous when they're around. But I'm competitive so I want to do well, and it doesn't matter if its football, which I'm comfortable with, or golf, which I'm not as comfortable with, I want to play well."

Rodgers, a 33-year-old California native, is making his first visit to South Carolina and came to play in the event after befriending Web.com pro John Mallinger (his playing partner) several years ago. Rodgers has become a regular at the PGA's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in addition to the annual celebrity golf championship in Lake Tahoe, which features all amateurs.

"I'm a golf junkie, so to get to play in three of these every year is a blast for me. The celebrity-only is a little more laid back, because these guys are out there playing for their livelihood. Any chance I get to play golf competitively is fun."

Rodgers gets amused when he's often asked if playing the senior Champions Tour could be an option after his NFL days are over, almost as much as he gets a kick out of current football players who believe they could've played on Tour.

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"I always laugh when people ask if you're going to play on the senior tour when you're done playing or even some of my contemporaries on the football field who think they can play on the Tour. It's not going to happen. These guys are incredible. These guys are so talented, I have so much respect for them. There are a lot of great stories on this tour because you've got guys who are bouncing back from the PGA Tour trying to get their cards back and young guns trying to move up the ranks to get their cards."

Rodgers fielded a few football questions, saying he watches the draft more intently now due to his advancing age and understanding the clock is ticking on his prime years. When asked if he had a far greater sense of urgency now than his early seasons, he replied he had until he recently ran into Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at the Kentucky Derby.

Brady, 39, has stated his intent to play well into his 40s.

"There was (urgency) until I asked Tom how long he was going to play, and then I kind of subtracted my age from the age he's going to be when he finishes and I figure I've got about 12 more years left, so I've got plenty of time."

This article is written by Eric Boynton from Spartanburg Herald-Journal and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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