NBA

Michael Jordan’s Change Could Be Costly for Pro Golfers

The ESPN documentary The Last Dance reminded sports fans just how seriously Michael Jordan took basketball. There were no shortcuts for the most dominant and successful player in the NBA; Jordan outworked nearly everyone in the course of leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships and becoming a legend.

Now the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Jordan is a busy and successful businessman, but he’s also all-in on another sport. He loves golf so much that he might actually play more than some professionals. And when he’s in a foursome with them, the trash talk is as brutal as it used to be on the basketball court.

Michael Jordan befriended a new club member

Retired NBA superstar Michael Jordan spends plenty of time on the golf course and is a member at several clubs. including Medalist in Florida, where he met aspiring PGA Tour player Dominic Bozzelli. PGA Archives/Getty Images
Retired NBA superstar Michael Jordan spends plenty of time on the golf course and is a member at several clubs. including Medalist in Florida, where he met aspiring PGA Tour player Dominic Bozzelli. PGA Archives/Getty Images

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Dominic Bozzelli, 29, has had some success on golf’s lesser tours, including a victory on the Web.com Tour in 2016. However, the former Auburn University standout has yet to score a breakthrough on the PGA Tour. When he’s not competing, Bozzelli can often be found at Medalist Golf Club, north of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

One of the other Medalist members just happens to be Michael Jordan, and Bozzelli confirms that the retired NBA great takes full advantage of membership perks by seemingly spending more time on the course than the greenskeepers.

“He plays all the time. He plays more golf than I do,” Bozzelli said, according to USA Today. “He doesn’t play 18; it’s always a 36-hole day. It feels like you’re going to work when you play with him.”

Bozzelli was introduced to Jordan shortly after joining at Medalist and found himself invited to play 18 with him the next day.

“I was trying to play it cool a little bit, but the first couple holes you’re pretty nervous,” Bozzelli said. “The guy’s an icon, you grew up watching him, and he’s one of my favorite athletes of all time. He’s an intelligent guy; there’s no better athlete to pick his brain. You ask him a serious question and he’ll give you a thoughtful and detailed answer.”

Bozzelli estimates the two have played about 100 rounds together since being introduced.

Be prepared to be razzed when you’re playing MJ

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Dominic Bozzelli watched The Last Dance on ESPN. Seeing the way Michael Jordan went after Chicago Bulls teammates verbally rang a bell for the PGA Tour hopeful.

“He’ll start jabbing at me early,” Bozzelli said. “If I hit a bad drive, he’ll say something like, ‘That’s why you’re not playing the major this week.’ Or stuff like that. He keeps ribbing me. You either sink or swim there; he makes you do something about it, makes you dig your heels in.

“If that’s going to rattle you then you shouldn’t be playing pro sports anyway, but that’s just his way of telling you how to go after your weaknesses. You’re either going to keep hearing it from him or you do something about it. It’s fun.”

Michael Jordan made a change that should worry pro golfers

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Michael Jordan knows his share of pro golfers and tees it up with them from time to time. Knowing his love of gambling and the competitive streak in him, it’s likely Jordan makes a wager or two during the round. Top pros can spot Jordan three or four strokes apiece on the front and back nines and leave with the contents of their wallets intact.

Dominic Bozzelli says all others need to be cautious. He’s had his share of financial transactions with Jordan and is able to hold his own. That might not last much longer. Jordan plays to roughly a 2-handicap.

“I like where we stand,” Bozzelli said. “He’s gotten a lot better. He changed his equipment, had guys come down here to fit him. The driver used to be the issue, but he’s got that all worked out. It used to be an easier win, but you’ve got to bring it.

“You can’t just show up and collect, you’ve got to play well because he competes until that last hole. It’s impressive.”

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