Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has a glow heading into the 2018 American Century Championship, Tahoe’s world-famous celebrity golf tournament.
Fresh off a third NBA championship in four seasons, Curry is ready to tee off on Lake Tahoe’s shores Friday morning.
“I think I have a much better glow to myself when I win a championship,” said Curry, who was surrounded by a huge gallery of fans throughout his practice round on Thursday.
Curry catches fire both on the court and the course. He shot a Stableford score of 28 on Day 3 of last year’s tournament, the best of any player and three points better than Mark Mulder, who won his third straight ACC.
Curry finished fourth in 2013 and 2017 and will be making his sixth appearance. He stands at 15-1 odds.
“That Sunday afternoon definitely gave me some confidence heading into this,” he said. “I just need to enjoy the moment and set high expectations for myself. If I get off to a good start tomorrow, I could give myself a chance.”
The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player has been passionate about golf ever since he played for his high school golf team. He was even spotted on the links between games of the NBA finals, reportedly shooting two rounds of 71.
“There’s no better feeling than hitting good shots in golf,” he said. “But you also double down on a venue like this in front of so many people when you’re competing. It just makes it all the more special.
“I’ve always been sort of a golf junkie. I try to get immersed in it as much as I can. But at the end of the day, I know what my day job is and enjoy the challenges that basketball has given me.”
Throughout Thursday’s preliminary round, hundreds of fans dressed in Warriors gear followed Curry from hole to hole. Being in the NBA for nine years and counting, Curry embraces the noise and pressure while steering it toward his game. He was grouped with Justin Timberlake during his stellar Sunday round last season, and the atmosphere with the fans was raucous.
“That’s where my NBA experience benefits me in this type of environment,” he said. “I don’t mind the noise. I play in front of 20,00 people — or on the road where people are booing you, the whole deal. I actually use it as motivation.”
Four-time All-Star Demarcus Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Warriors this offseason. Cousins, 27, averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds before suffering a season-ending torn Achilles injury. Curry is excited about the mismatches Cousins can create on the court.
“He’s a very unique player with a high skill set,” he said. “And he’s a dominant presence out there on the floor. He’s able to dominate the paint and give us a new element to our lineup.”
Curry also had kind parting words for University of Nevada player JaVale McGee, who left Golden State and signed with the Lakers on a one-year deal.
“I’m happy for him,” he said. “He made the decision because it’s the right one for him. I wish him nothing but the best.”
Curry will tee off with his father Dell and NBA legend Ray Allen at 8:43 a.m. Friday as the ACC competition begins. Click Link for Friday’s Tee Times
— Isaiah Burrows