Big Ben Jordan Slated for Celebrity Event
Roethlisberger has committed to play July 14-16 in the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Edgewood-Tahoe Golf Course at Stateline, Nev.
'He called last week and confirmed that he will definitely be making his appearance in Tahoe and will be playing in the event,' said Jon Miller, NBC Sports' senior vice president for programming.
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong will also play. The Lance Armstrong Foundation will be one of the charity beneficiaries of the three-day tournament
'I got a little worried when they told me there would be spectators,' Armstrong told reporters during a teleconference. 'I would just warn them to get out of the way when I hit the ball. If I ever broke 100, I'd be happy. That's how bad I am.'
Other celebrity golfers scheduled to appear include Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Ray Romano, Donald Trump, Jerry Rice and Mario Lemieux.
'Jordan I know quite well, Barkley a little bit. He says bike riding is not a sport. So I'm bringing him a bike and we're going to find out what's a sport,' Armstrong said.
A spokeswoman for The PovertyNeck Hillbillies, a country music group in Pittsburgh, announced Friday that Roethlisberger will be shooting a music video with the group on Tuesday at Heinz Field.
A Steelers spokesman declined to comment on Roethlisberger's recovery or his personal appearances. Roethlisberger's agent, Leigh Steinberg, did not immediately return a call for comment.
Roethlisberger underwent seven hours of facial reconstruction surgery June 12 after ramming his Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle into a car that turned left in front of him on a Pittsburgh street. Roethlisberger broke his jaw and nose when his head smashed into the car's windshield and he was thrown over the car onto the pavement. He was cited for riding without a license and not wearing a helmet -- which unlicensed riders cannot legally do in Pennsylvania.
Roethlisberger, 24, who became the youngest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl after just his second season with the Steelers, spent less than three full days in the hospital.
NBC will televise the second and third rounds of the American Century Championship. The Golf Channel will televise the first round on July 14.
Armstrong won't be in the official competition for the $500,000 purse because he's scheduled to depart July 14 to crown his successor in France. But he's in the field for Thursday's celebrity-am and said he's looking forward to his first round on the 7,445-yard course that winds through towering pines along Lake Tahoe.
'I'm still trying to figure out this retirement thing. I seem to be busier than ever,' he said. 'The life of an athlete is a simple one. You sort of train, practice, you eat, then rest and then you play the game. It's a simple existence. I don't have that anymore.'
'Now life is full of travel and full of commitments and full of responsibilities. That's just part of it. It is an adjustment. It's still surprising to me.'
Armstrong said he's often asked why he doesn't play more golf.
'When you're just not very good at something, it's sometimes hard to justify spending six hours to do it,' he said.
Between appearances for his foundation, Armstrong has been training for the New York Marathon in November. He said his goal is to finish within an hour of the winner.
'Actually, I would be happy if I broke three hours. I found running to be more challenging than I had expected.'
Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake
Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.
While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.
“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.
Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.<
DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi
Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.
“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”
Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).
“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.”
Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.
Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace).
“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”
Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi
What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.
Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.
McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.
He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.
McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65).
Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds.
“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder
Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.
Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.
Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:
Filling in tomorrow for Corey Pavin that WD today @cbgolfchallenge I do things like this a lot to help events and asking for sponsors exemptions here but didn't get any help.— Ken Duke (@DukePGA) January 18, 2018
Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.
Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.