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NFL's Rice gracious in defeat; reporting for BBI

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LAKE OCONEE, Ga. – You always hear that you can learn a lot about a person by how they conduct themselves on the golf course.

Turns out, Jerry Rice isn’t just a Hall of Famer in football. If there was such a thing, he’d be a strong candidate for the gentleman’s Hall of Fame, too.

After two rounds of Modified Stableford at the Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation, Rice was plus-7 and won’t be among the 12 men who advance to match play.

“The front [nine] is just killing me big time,” Rice said, who had a total of seven double bogeys (which subtracts two points from your score) on the front nine across two rounds. “If I could play the back [nine] twice I’d probably score a lot of points.”

Rice will finish in last place out of 20 men in the field this week, but you wouldn’t know it by his body language or his actual verbiage.

“Being around these guys and the women, I’m just so blown away with the way that they accepted me. Because this is their arena, and they really worked hard to get here. But most of the Big Breakers, they said, ‘Thank you for coming and being a part of this.’

All week, Rice’s smile was as grandiose as his career, no matter how poorly he was playing. Smiling, hugging, high-fiving and signing autographs was the norm.

“This is a great opportunity for me, just to have had this experience and it is just something I’ll never forget.”

Rice is sticking around for the remainder of the event (Thursday and Friday) and will be a course reporter during Golf Channel’s coverage of the Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation.