One tough shot to win it all.
Stephen Curry had been in this situation before.
And just like he’s done for the Golden State Warriors on the basketball court, Curry did it again Sunday on the golf course, sinking an 18-foot eagle putt to win the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe South in Stateline, Nev.
“It’s very similar,” the four-time NBA champion told NBC Sports of making clutch shots in both sports. “I mean, I have more time to think about it in this scenario — on the court it happens a lot faster — but just being able to lock into the moment knowing what the stakes were, accepting it. … And you just stick to the routine, have so much confidence in yourself, live with the results. Thankfully it went in.”
Curry became the first Black player to win the event, in its 34th year, and is the first active athlete to be crowned champion since 2000, when then-Tennessee Titans kicker Al Del Greco won it.
Curry edged former tennis star and 2020 ACC champion Mardy Fish for the title. They were followed by Dallas Stars center Joe Pavelski, former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder, New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers and golfing great Annika Sorenstam.
“I’ve always dreamt of a situation like this on an 18th green in front of a crowd like that to make a putt,” the two-time NBA most valuable player told NBC. “[I’ve] been playing in this thing for almost a decade, and to know I finally got a win it’s pretty special.”
After sinking his tournament-winning putt, Curry threw his cap into the air, sprinted toward his wife, Ayesha Curry, and lifted her off the ground with a hug.
“She knows how much I love this game,” Curry told reporters afterward. “… So as soon as I made it , I made the putt, I knew where she was, and I had to go straight to her because I appreciate the fact that — even on our vacation — she’ll let me play.”
It was the second wild celebration of the weekend for Curry, who a day earlier made a hole-in-one on the 152-yard seventh hole and tossed his cap and gloves before charging down the fairway with his arms outstretched as if he had just hit a game-winning shot for the Warriors.
Lakers star LeBron James retweeted a clip of the hole-in-one and wrote, “That’s so,” followed by 16 fire emojis.
Long-range shots have been one of Curry’s specialties in the NBA since his 2009-10 rookie season. His 3,390 three-pointers during the regular season and 618 during the playoffs are the most all-time for any player. His 42.8% average from three-point range is 12th all-time.
After this weekend’s tournament, retired NFL star Rob Gronkowski pondered on Twitter whether Curry was good enough at golf to go pro in a second sport.
Curry’s win came with a bit of controversy. With the tournament using a version of the modified Stableford scoring system, Fish had a three-point lead as he lined up for his final tee shot. The NBC broadcast picked up audio of a spectator yelling during Fish’s downstroke, and the shot was hooked right into the trees. Fish ended up settling for par on the hole, opening the door for Curry’s win.
“It was an unfortunate situation, a guy trying to sabotage what was going on for a moment,” Curry told reporters. “Mardy is such a class act. I complimented him for the way he bounced back to give himself a chance to win.”