Having the ability to drain a 25-foot jumper for three points and the skill to drain a 25-foot putt from the lip of the green is nothing new to Stephen Curry. The Golden State Warriors guard has been playing golf since he was a kid having learned the game from his father. Instead of learning how to hit the fairway and refine his short game at fancy country clubs, Curry was a fan of public courses in his native North Carolina. He also was the top player on his high school golf team.
But being a part-time novice golfer was not good enough for the two-time MVP. Curry has worked on his game to the point where he is rated a scratch golfer—a 0 handicap. Along with New York Mets infielder Jeff McNeil, NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen, Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams, and tennis star Pete Sampras, Curry is considered one of the best two-sport athletes in the world and a good enough golfer to maybe play alongside Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Steph Curry holds his own on tour
In 2017 and 2018, Curry received a PGA exemption and played on the Web.com Tour (now the Korn Ferry Tour) in the Ellie Mae Classic. And while his first shot off the tee wound up in the cup holder of a nearby golf cart, Curry shook off the bad start to finish with a score of 74 in his 2017 match, but he missed the cut.
“That’s a good score. Very impressive,” said former World No. 1 and Masters champion Adam Scott told Golf Digest. “There aren’t any pro golfers shooting 74 going into an NBA game, that’s for sure.”
In 2018, Curry didn’t fare as well, coming out of the gate with a one-over-par 71 but then losing his momentum with an 86 on the final day, again missing the cut.
Stephen Curry brings his game and style to Tahoe
The Golden State Warriors guard has played in the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course four times. The event offers a $600k purse for amateur celebrity athletes, and even with the current pandemic, the tourney took place July 8-12.
While tennis star Mardy Fish finished first, beating two-time defending champ Tony Romo, Stephen Curry finished fourth. That was simply fine for Steph because he beat his father Dell Curry — a former NBA great — in their annual head-to-head bet at the Tahoe course.
Last year, the loser had to jump into (what is generally freezing) Lake Tahoe. This year’s bet will find his father Dell singing karaoke at a time and place to be named later.
For Steph Curry, the game means more than being on the course
Black athletes are vastly underrepresented in golf, on a recreational and professional basis. According to the National Golf Foundation, only 3% of recreational golfers are Black, while 1.5% make up the roster of competitive golfers. Stephen Curry wants to change that, and he put his money where his mouth is.
Curry has pledged part of his fortune to support the men’s and women’s golf program at Howard University, one of the most prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The donation is expected to run several million dollars.
“Golf is a sport that has changed my life in ways that are less tangible, but just as impactful,” Curry said (per Howard University). “It’s a discipline that challenges your mental wherewithal from patience to focus, and is impossible to truly master, so when you hear about these passionate student-athletes who have the talent but don’t have a fair shot at the game, it’s tough. I feel really honored to play a small role in the rich history of Howard University.”