Warriors

Steph Curry's passion meets prowess in golf, as it does in basketball

Warriors

NAPA -- Stephen Curry isn't a professional golfer, but he sure looked the part Wednesday.

Fans flocked to the driving range at Silverado Resort and Spa, following the Warriors' star guard down the path to his first hole and even halting as he stopped at a urinal to relieve himself. They also stayed with him as he stopped in a tent to greet his new teammate -- World Golf Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson -- ahead of their Safeway Open Pro-Am round.

For years, Curry has barnstormed around the Bay Area, playing a number of professional and pro-am golf tournaments. Curry is a scratch golfer, so it's not inconceivable that the NBA's best shooter one day could become a consistent pro-am attendee. For now -- ahead of his 11th year on his current day job -- Curry is happy to make a mark on a potential future profession.

On a four-man team that consisted of Mickelson and amateurs Vivek Sankaran and Andy Walz, Curry held his own, as his quartet finished 13-under par. He hit an array of impressive shots along the way, including a 370-yard drive on his first shot, which caught Mickelson's eye.

"The great thing about Steph Curry's game is his touch, his hands, his chipping [and] putting," Mickelson said. "He's got this incredible touch, but he's also got a ton of speed."

 

While Curry long has enjoyed golf as a hobby, his purpose with the sport is bigger. In August, Curry announced a six-year partnership with Howard University to fund the historically black college's golf program, helping the Bison field a Division I team for the first time. With Curry's financing, the Howard men's team will play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, while the women will compete as independents. In addition, the teams will be outfitted by Under Armour -- the shoe company that Curry endorses -- rounding out the guard's post-career ambitions.

"I will be involved in golf in some way, shape or form," Curry said. "Playing and in the business side, helping grow the game from a competitive standpoint for under-represented people, so a lot of opportunities."

Curry certainly has the celebrity pull to help grow the game. Of the pro-am's 48 groups, his gallery easily was the biggest draw, and autograph requests came from casual fans and tour organizers alike. He also challenged Mickelson to a shooting contest, which he finished by draining a shot from the green.

Along his path, Curry found Riley Morrison, the 9-year-old Napa girl who helped design a special edition of the Curry 6 Under Armour shoe after challenging the Warriors star to provide girl's sizes.

Last year, Curry -- along with his wife, Ayesha, -- donated $25,000 to a GoFundMe page created by pro golfer Scott Harrington to raise money for his wife, Jenn, who was battling cancer. Minutes before Curry started his journey through the contingent of fans to the course's first hole, Harrington tapped Curry on the shoulder, then expressed his appreciation, bringing the guard's bigger purpose with golf full circle.

"Golf has introduced me to so many great people," Curry said. "Great talents and conversations we've had on the course for four and a half hours here was awesome."