different. It’s just you and the ball
out there by yourself. I like that.”
Well, some of the time.
When Brewer, 6´- 9˝ and
seemingly all arms and skinny
legs, contacts ball and club
forcefully, the result is
impressive. When he doesn’t,
he’s like so many other golfers
who can’t figure out — no
matter how accomplished an
athlete he or she might be
— why it’s so hard to hit a
little white ball that’s just
“That game (golf) is
frustrating,” says Jennifer
Gillom, head coach for the
WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.
“The ball just never seems
to want to go in the
direction you want it to go.”
And yet Gillom, a former
WNBA star with the Phoenix
Mercury and member of the
gold-medal winning 1988 U.S.
Women’s Olympic team, is
taking lessons in an effort to
improve to be able to compete in
celebrity charity golf
Sometimes frustrated, she keeps playing the game because of that rare shot that goes where she intended.
“It’s amazing how it requires so much concentration,” she says.
“Somehow it makes you
keep coming back. You get
that one lucky shot. In my
case, it must be luck
because I know it’s not
skill. But it keeps you
defensive lineman John
Randle played 11 NFL
seasons, made seven Pro Bowls and was first-team All-Pro six times for his ability to chase and throw down opposing quarterbacks.
That was easy.
Now, in his retirement, he has found himself smitten with a game that conceivably should be easier than pushing his way past a sweating, grunting 300-pounder.
“It’s like shooting a free throw: You get a
COURTESY OF THE MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
COURTESY OF THE MINNESO TA T WINS COMMUNICATIONS DEPAR TMENT
COURTESY OF THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS/ AMOS SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY
Top to bottom: Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer learned to play golf during high school. Twins pitcher Joe Nathan plans to attend this week’s PGA Championship. Ex-Vikings star John Randle says golf will “humble you.”
chance to practice before you swing, and most people still mess up,” Randle says.
“You get out here and no matter how many Pro Bowls or Hall of Fames or how many touchdowns you made, this game will humble you.
“But (it’s about) that one shot! Man, I’m addicted to it. I love it. I keep my clubs in the car the whole summer.”
Since his retirement, Randle now has the time to frequently spend four or five hours on the golf course, a luxury that still doesn’t make the game any easier.
Minnesota Timber wolves Assistant General Manager Fred Hoiberg played 10 NBA seasons, the final two in Minnesota, where he joined Hazeltine National Golf Club and bought a cabin so he could relax all summer.
Then he was forced into retirement in 2005 after a routine insurance physical examination found a life-threatening heart defect that required surgery. Instead of playing all winter and golfing all summer, Hoiberg moved into the team’s front office. His job affords little free time.
Hoiberg will find some spare time this week. He has volunteered to be a locker-room attendant so he can be close to the players and close to the action.
“Getting towels for those guys, talcum powder,” he said of duties that don’t include traveling the world to scout for basketball talent. “Whatever they need.”
Longwell will be a little busy this week. He has a little thing called NFL training camp to occupy his time, but hopes to slip away the morning after a preseason game to watch the world’s best players compete a really long field goal away from where he trains with the Vikings (Minnesota State University in Mankato).
Twins All-Star closer Joe Nathan lives less than five miles from Hazeltine National and plans to attend the PGA Championship with teammate and golf buddy Nick Punto. Nathan marvels at the skill exhibited by PGA Tour players.
“A golf ball is easier to hit than a baseball, but not easier to hit properly,” he says. “When you get into the game, you understand the spin that’s generated with a golf ball. Making good shots on a golf course is extremely difficult.” ●
Jerry Zgoda is a sports writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.