As he walked toward the green at No. 18, two ladies stood at the rope and yelled, “Steph Curry, you want some ice cream?” He looked at them and raised his arms in query, as if to say “who wouldn’t?” Then he scooted under the rope and loped over to their ice cream stand, returning with a cup.
But Curry was no Bill Murray. He wasn’t a jester on the course; he was a player.
“The thing about Steph Curry’s golf is his touch, his hands, his chipping, his putting,” Mickelson said. “He’s got an incredible touch but he also has a ton of speed. You saw him dropping all kinds of bombs off the tee, just hellacious bombs, deep and very accurate, certainly straighter than what I have.”
Asked for his highlight of the day, Curry said, “The tee shot on 9, because I said I was going to hit bombs and then I swung it square on the face. Before I even finished the follow-through, I was yelling out, ‘bombs!’”
“That drive went over 370 yards, I’m not kidding,” Mickelson added. “He hit a sand wedge into a par 5.”
I thought Mickelson might have been exaggerating for Curry’s benefit. But when the round was done, I spoke to Andy Walz, a general manager for Chevron (one of the tournament’s major sponsors). A week earlier, Walz found out he would be playing in Mickelson’s group. Three or four days after that, he learned that Curry would also be in the foursome, which also included Albertsons president and CEO Vivek Sankaran.
“I couldn’t believe how powerful he was,” Walz said of Curry. “He’s probably got 1% body fat.”
Walz said it was impossible to tell for sure, because Mickelson was hitting from the professional tees while Curry was doing it from the amateur tees, but he believed the Warriors star was generally striking the ball farther. Walz said his own drives are 240 to 250 yards, maximum. Curry’s, he noted, were a good 100 yards longer.
“I think he had 120 yards to (the green of) No. 9. Maybe 130,” Walz said. “That’s a par 5.”
At the same time, the Chevron executive wasn’t surprised by Curry’s ability. Wardell Stephen Curry Jr. is, after all, a world-class athlete. He is also a golf freak who built a putting green and bay at his house, has played in the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic and has been known to set an early alarm on the morning of an NBA playoff game to watch the Masters tournament.
But imagine for a moment the amount of time that Curry puts into being a basketball player — the dribbling drills, the free throws, the endless 3-point attempts, the gym work, the core training, the film preparation. All of it. It’s so much more than a full-time job. Curry is also a father of three who, unless he is one of the world’s greatest actors, is as devoted as they come.
And yet Curry is good enough at his hobby that he can go out for a day and not embarrass himself while alternating strokes with Phil Mickelson.
“I was just in awe every shot, but tried to hold my own, too,” Curry said.
And he did. Sigh. Where’s my beanbag?
You can reach columnist Phil Barber at 707-521-5263 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @Skinny_Post.