Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors will play in the Ellie Mae Classic on the Web.com Tour starting Thursday.
Curry is an avid golfer who will add excitement to the event while also serving as an ambassador for the Warriors Community Foundation, the tournament’s main beneficiary.
Tournament organizers told the Golf Channel on Wednesday that ticket sales were “Ten times more than last year.” They attribute that to the NBA star Curry playing this year.
Curry did not seek a sponsors exemption but was given one and gladly accepted.
Anytime a sponsors exemption is given to a celebrity it creates controversy, with some taking the view that that exemption should go to an aspiring pro. That doesn’t seem to be the case this week with Curry playing.
Curry played alongside Web.com pro Nick Rousey in a practice round Tuesday, who welcomed and gave some advice and tips to the NBA star.
“He’s given me a lot, I’m actually going to write it down, my head was spinning for a little bit just because when you hear the pros kind of talk about their expectations going into the tournament,little tidbits of information that I necessarily wouldn’t have otherwise known,” Curry said in his post-round press conference. “It’s just about figuring out how to execute what he’s been telling me. He’s such a nice guy. He doesn’t have to be worried about my game as he’s trying to play well this week too, so I appreciate that and hopefully I can take a couple of those swing tips and thoughts and put them in my back pocket for this week.”
“He’s so incredibly gracious, just a great guy to be around, with a great golf demeanor to boot,” said Rousey. “He could definitely blend in out here. The problem is everybody knows what his real job is.”
Last month, during the American Century Championship, a celebrity tournament near South Lake Tahoe, Curry shot a final-round 68, the best score any player posted in the three-day event, and finished fourth in a field of 89.
According to Golf magazine only nine of 52 players receiving unrestricted sponsor exemptions on the Web.com Tour since the beginning of 2016 have managed to even make the cut at an event. None achieved a victory and only two players even managed a top 25 finishes, and one of those who did was an amateur.
When asked what it would take for him to make the cut, Curry replied, “Probably the two best rounds of my life.”
Curry will tee off at 11:55 a.m. ET Thursday with Elie Mae defending champion Stephan Jaeger of Germany and Floridian Sam Ryder.