Ben Roethlisberger is done playing football. But he is not done competing. He is focusing on another sport he loves, golf, and admitted on Friday that he was much more nervous heading to the tee than he had ever been watching the blitz. Part of the Icon Series team that includes the likes of Michael Phelps, Roethlisberger was asked about his level of nervousness.
“I get a lot more nervous on the first tee than in front of 80,000 people for a Super Bowl,” he said at a press conference courtesy of TJ Sports USA’s YouTube channel. “Much more nervous.”
Roethlisberger was an avid golfer throughout his life and would spend his offseasons on the links. Basically, any Bruce Arians story not related to something that happened on a football field happened on a golf course. Like many retirees, his time to hit the green has skyrocketed and he is taking part in a Celebrity tournament this weekend which has also drawn names like Mike Vick, John Smoltz and boxer Canelo Alvarez. Fred Couples is the team captain.
While golf may seem more relaxing, no crowds of screaming fans (except for the inevitable “Get In The Hole” guy) and certainly no 275-pound rushers rushing at him, Roethlisberger said that the slow pace quickens his heart rate.
“In golf, you slow everything down. Sometimes your mind races and you get caught thinking about too many things. It’s such a mental game. Football is mental too but I think that’s why people love [golf] so many. It challenges you. It’s you against the course… you can always challenge and try to beat the course.
In football you are always competing against the opponent. Anyone can make an offense look great on air, you’ll see that every day during warm-ups during camp. Golf requires you to compete with others, but if you cut golf balls in sand traps and water, it doesn’t matter what the other does.
Roethlisberger also pointed out other clear differences between the two sports.
“Patience is the hardest thing. Slowing down…from when the coach gives you the game to when I have to tell the team the game in the huddle and then we have to break the huddle and come at the line of scrimmage, you have about 30 seconds. So my wife always tells me to stop talking so fast because I have a bad habit of it.
In golf, it literally takes minutes between a player’s shots. In football, it’s less than a minute from one snap to the next. There’s speed, there’s urgency, there’s clocks that tell you when the ball needs to be broken, when halftime expires, when the game ends. And Roethlisberger had many tough times, especially last season. Last year, he led the league in game-winning (seven) and fourth-quarter comebacks (six). Both were career highs. Of course, his most famous comeback came in a Super Bowl, leading an incredible run to beat the Arizona Cardinals, capped by one of the greatest plays in NFL history, with Roethlisberger throwing a perfect pass followed by an incredible catch from Santonio Holmes.
With a par of 72, The Icon Series is held at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey. The event started yesterday, but the broadcast part starts today. We’ll let you know the results later in the week.