Rangers great Ivan Rodriguez has played in All-Star Games, playoff games, World Series games. He’s experienced pressure situations at the plate and behind the plate as a Hall of Fame catcher.
None of that compares to the experience of playing as a celebrity in a professional golf tournament.
“It’s totally different mind-set,” he said Tuesday in a Zoom call to promote the ClubCorp Classic at Las Colinas Country Club. “I prefer to throw Rickey Henderson at second base out, to me, when I was a baseball player than being in this situation.
“Obviously, yes, you are nervous. Obviously when you play in this tournament even though we’ve been there so many times in our sport, when we played with 45, 47, 50,000 people. But it’s a different feeling to me.”
Rodriguez has committed to play April 22-24 in the 54-hole ClubCorp Classic, a pro-celebrity PGA Tour Champions event. Three tournaments will be going on concurrently. The PGA Tour Champions will play their normal competition. The celebrities and athletes will compete in a modified stableford competition. ClubCorp members, who earn spots through qualifying events, will compete in their own event alongside the pros and celebrities.
Among the 18 celebrities and athletes who have confirmed for the event are: Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown from Woodrow Wilson and Notre Dame, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, country singer Colt Ford, former Stars forward Mike Modano, former Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith, LPGA great Annika Sorenstam, Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Brian Urlacher.
Rodriguez played in the LPGA Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions last week in Orlando and is a regular in the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe.
He knows his game. His self-effacing objective in events such as the ClubCorp Classic is to keep his ball in play, play quickly and stay out of the way.
“What I’m trying to do is just stay as focused as I can with that little golf ball in the grass and just try to do the best golf swing that I can and get it on the green.”
VOA plans junior qualifier: The Volunteers of America Classic announced it will again partner with the Northern Texas PGA Foundation to hold a tournament for junior girls to try to qualify for the LPGA tournament.
The 54-hole event will be held July 11-13 at Tribute Golf Links and Old American Golf Club. Players can earn exemptions through select All American Tour events hosted by the NTPA, Prestige Tour events hosted by the Southern Texas PGA and Legends Junior Tour events.
Last year, 13-year-old Avery Zweig of McKinney and Farah O’Keefe of Austin qualified for the tournament. O’Keefe made the cut and tied for 56th. Branch missed the cut by one shot.
Old American Golf Club will host the Volunteers of America Classic for the fifth year in a row from Sept. 29-Oct. 2.
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