Could Steve Curry of the Warriors play professional golf? The experts chime in

In early July, the all-time NBA leader appeared in three-pointers at the Celebrity Golf Tournament in Tahoe, taking a shot off the fairway, 97 yards off the pin. It was another viral clip of Curry Golf’s shot during the NBA offseason.

Curry actually scored his worst result in the event in years, finishing 16th out of 87 players. He has been in the top 11 in each of the past five years.

His interest in golf goes beyond the events of celebrities and supporters.

He has competed twice on the Korn Ferry Tour, an evolutionary tour almost similar to the NBA’s G-League. Curry posted a pair of 74s in his first year, and opened the event the following year with a round of 71 before the 86 card in the second round.

Despite missing the cut in both events, the basketball star has earned the respect of many professional golfers.



But let’s take it a step further. How will Curry handle the rigors of professionals? SFGATE asked several golf experts to think about it.

Samuel Poirier, technical director of the men’s and women’s teams at Howard University, thinks the hardwood champion can make it happen.

“I think he’ll probably have a chance at some point to make a cut,” Pourier said of putting Curry on a professional tour. “He generates a really good amount of club head velocity through the area of ​​impact, and especially in his approach shots, he puts a lot of spin on the ball.” (To be fair to Puryear’s optimism, Curry helped create and fund Howard’s golf program through 2026.)

Pleasant Hill-based PGA coach Craig White agreed, but cautiously.

“I definitely think he has the ability to make the cut,” White said. “However, I think he is going to need a lot of reps and he will definitely have to arrange his 100-yard game and in-game a little bit more… where you see the pro PGA Tour players shine and score a little bit less is a short game zone.”

The short game appeared quite often.

“The most important thing from an amateur golfer to a professional is how many short shots he has,” said Andrew Larkin, a former professional and now principal director at Santa Clara University. He also noted that diversity is a necessary component of the transition to the pros. “As the course conditions and requirements are getting more and more challenging, you have to be more meticulous in your skill set. And I think that’s probably where the next gap will be. He can do all the basic things on an easy day with easy pins and easy, regular conditions. When All of a sudden things are really hard or when it’s really windy or need a lot of control of the spin, every kind of next level stuff, I think that’s where that gap will separate him from the pros.”

It’s clear to Larkin that the Warriors star doesn’t quite measure up to the real world of professional golf.

“It’s almost the equivalent of the best player in your league trying to say he can make it through the G-League,” Larkin said. “But [Steph] Very far from how good these guys are, though, as you know, he showed some flashes of very good golf.”

Walter Chun, head coach at Cal, made a similar comparison.

“It’s like asking if Colin Morikawa went to the NBA, how many rebounds, how many points he would get,” Chun said. (Morikawa, the two-time main winner, played for Chun in Cal.) Chun joked that Curry’s performance might depend on where he was competing. “Oh, are we talking on the PGA Tour or the LIV Tour?”

While Larkin and Chun gave Curry a sobering assessment, they both praised his game.

“He’s got a great swing and is clearly working hard to improve his mechanics,” Larkin said. “He’s basically becoming a golfer, and you can’t get into it without being technically skilled.”

“He has a strong mental game and that’s what you need to be a good professional golfer,” Chun said of Curry. “You have to be really strong between the ears. And that’s hard to train, but given Steve’s success on the court, he has that ‘that’ factor between the ears, and I can see him working really well.”

Although he already has laser focus, Curry himself has noted that the mental game required of professional golfers is an odd one, even compared to his own.

Curry said on the Drop Zone Podcast in 2019. “I didn’t have that talent. Had to call me all or I would just go out. Just that level of consistency is something I’m terrified of.”

Outside of the mind game, other coaches have noted Curry’s natural physical talent through basketball as well, noting how well it translates to golf.

“He has that natural ability that some people can’t train,” White said. “He has things in his swing that are really hard to train in terms of tempo, tempo and timing, if you are able to train at all. Some people spend their whole lives not being able to get that kind of rhythm.”

In addition to his participation in Howard Golf, Curry announced the launch of the Underrated Tour, a free tour for aspiring college golfers.

“What Steve is doing is creating a world of opportunity for a lot of young people,” Pourier said. “It opens a door that has never been opened to a large extent. Now you have a lot of young people who have a chance to go out and compete at the highest level.”

Curry may not have what it takes to be a professional golfer. But it’s easy to imagine his generosity starting the life of someone who does.

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