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A round with Patrick Peterson: Golf with Michael Jordan, Passionfruit Truly and an idea for The Match

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Over the last decade Patrick Peterson has made a name for himself as one of the best defenders in the NFL.

Since he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2011, Peterson has been selected to eight Pro Bowls, is a three-time First-team All-Pro and was featured on the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010s.

The 30-year-old picked up golf around the same time as joining the league, and now boasts a 4 handicap when he’s grinding daily in the offseason.

“During the season, me and (teammate Larry Fitzgerald), our nicknames are the Trunk Slammers because all we do is get our clubs, slam our trunks and go straight to the tee box because we don’t have as much time to work on our game because we’re focused on our profession.”

Below is the first installment in Golfweek’s new series, where we’ll take you on a virtual round with your favorite celebrity golfers.

Celebrity handicaps: Just how good are these athletes and entertainers?

Golfweek: I read you became interested in golf during the 2011 NFL lockout, is that right? What’s your history and story with the game?

Patrick Peterson: I was fortunate enough to have cousins and relatives that played in the league and they told me in the offseason, that’s when most guys get in trouble. You want to find something that gives you something competitive to do when you have all this downtime … My first club I ever hit was a 7-iron because 7’s my favorite number, and I flushed it and was like, ‘Man this game is that easy? It can’t be that easy.’ I’ll never forget after that I went and literally started buying clubs. That’s how I got into the game.

GW: You’ve become friends with Michael Jordan. Any good golf stories with MJ?

PP: I went down to play with him at Floridian and I had one of my buddies with me and he’d never met Jordan. As you know, Jordan likes to gamble or at least put something on the line when he’s playing golf. My buddy was like, ‘Man we’re playing with MJ,’ and I said, ‘Man stop acting goddamn star struck act like you’ve been here before.’ So now he’s all shook and nervous as hell. We get up to the tee box and Jordan’s handling everything, separating groups, and he looks over at my friend and says ‘Hey, what’s your name? You want to play for something?’ And my friend says ‘Man I ain’t got your type of money,’ and Jordan went ‘So tell me this, what would make it hurt?’ My friend goes, ‘What do you mean make it hurt? I’ve got like $2 in my pocket.’ Jordan said, ‘Bet it.’

PP: Now, my first time playing with him was at his event. (Denise L. White, founder EAG Sports Management) knew how much I loved golf, I don’t know how the hell she made it happen but I was in the final group. I was like, ‘Woah, I’m with MJ? You’ve gotta be sh–ing me.’ I ended up playing with him, but the crazy thing about it was I was playing against him. Me and Ken Griffey Jr., were on a team vs. him and Dwight Freeney. So here’s the thing on the tee box, him and Dwight Freeney are on teams, but he’s telling Dwight, ‘I like P-Twice over you right now.’ I was like, ‘That’s your teammate!’

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson practices tee shots at Camelback Golf Club in 2016. (Photo: Joe Camporeale, USA TODAY Sports)

GW: Athletes like Stephen Curry and Tony Romo have played in professional golf events. Do you have any interest in that, maybe after football?

PP: I would love to because I’d have the time to hone in on my game. Those guys are playing golf and practicing every single day. If I felt my game has reached that point or I feel like I’m playing good enough golf, no doubt I’d love to try that. Denise always teases me saying that’ll be my second career anyway.

GW: On the course do you drive for show or putt for dough?

PP: Putt for dough.

GW: Your nickname, PP, is obviously for your initials. On the course is it perfect putter or poor putter?

PP: (laughs) Let’s go with perfect putter.

GW: You’re in the fairway on a borderline-reachable par 5. Go for the green and risk trouble or lay up?

PP: For the most part I’m going for it.

GW: What’s the go-to drink at the 19th hole?

PP: Casa Azul on the rocks. As far as drinks on the course, I like to drink Trulys. The Passionfruit’s a banger for me.

GW: What’s your favorite club in the bag?

PP: My 60. I feel I can get up-and-down from anywhere around the greens.

GW: I feel like everyone has a go-to line on the golf course to mess with your friends. What’s yours?

PP: If a match is getting close, right before they hit I’ll go, ‘Make sure you don’t hook it.’ It always gets in one of my guys’ heads. It’ll come down to 18 and I’ll press him and he’ll say, ‘I’m not gonna hook it.’

GW: The best golfer on the Arizona Cardinals is “________”

PP: (Punter) Andy Lee. Andy can play, he’s a legit scratch. I’ve played with him a bunch of times and he can strike the ball.

GW: Are you better than future Hall of Fame teammate Larry Fitzgerald?

PP: Oh yeah I’m better than Fitz. I’m the second best golfer on the team.

Patrick Peterson reacts after sinking a putt during the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Stateline on Friday.

GW: What’s your dream golf foursome?

PP: I know (Kobe Bryant) didn’t play golf but Kobe. Barack Obama. And … probably Stephen A. Smith. I’d like to hear Stephen A. on the course and I wanna see him hit some bad shots.

GW: You’d be in his ear all 18 holes, wouldn’t you?

PP: No doubt about it (laughing).

GW: Do you talk more trash on the golf course or on the football field?

PP: Definitely on the golf course because it’s not worth it in football. You have to see what’s going on with personnel and you might not see him again. In golf, you’re with that person for four hours, there ain’t no running away!

GW: Word on the street is you have an idea for the next made-for-TV golf event along the lines of The Match?

PP: What they need to do is, take whatever pro golfers you want and make them captains. Put together a pool full of athletes and let them pick and have a Ryder Cup-style match. Six holes would be alternate shot, next six are a scramble, final six are singles. I don’t care when I’m getting picked, as long as I’m on the squad.

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/12/08/round-with-arizona-cardinals-patrick-peterson-michael-jordan/

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