Legendary NFL wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has earned plenty of accolades for his prowess on the gridiron over the course of his 17-year career with the Arizona Cardinals, but the 37-year-old has recently been making a name for himself on the celebrity pro-am tournament circuit, too. Fitzgerald has a handicap index around 10, and is the proud winner of two AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am titles (2018 and 2020) alongside PGA Tour veteran Kevin Streelman.
But it’s the duo’s experience in 2017 — the year before the their maiden victory — that makes the best story. On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, Fitzgerald sat down with hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz to explain the reason why he abandoned his partner, Streelman, for five holes during third round’s back nine.
“Before I got my invitation to play that year — it’s one of those things you kind of wait in the mail for — they send this really cool invitation and I hadn’t gotten it yet,” Fitzgerald began. “So, the Coyotes asked me if I would drop the puck. It was the Larry Fitzgerald bobble-head night, and they were playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Got a chance to meet [Pittsburgh Penguins Evgeni] Malkin and Sidney Crosby for the first time. So I committed to it, and I got the invitation, and I told Mr. Johnson, look, I appreciate this invitation, but I’ve already committed to dropping the puck, so I need to get back.
“So, we’re on No. 13. I hit my shot, play the hole, and I just duck off to the road, jump in the car, take me to the airport,” Fitzgerald continued. “I fly in, drop the puck, jump back on the plane and get back. And Streels goes two-under on the way home. Therefore, we make the cut, and then we [finished runner-up] on Sunday. [I was checking my phone] the whole way. The whole way. But he was hitting it so good that day. He’s used to playing by himself in these tournaments anyway. So I don’t think [my absence] really changed anything for him.”
Fitzgerald and Streelman ended up finishing two shots shy of Ken Duke and Carson Daly’s 33-under total. But the near-miss clearly fueled future greatness, as Fitzgerald and Streelman took the title in two of their following three appearances.