Golf Pro-Am Pairs Rivals, Charlie Bell and Shane Battier

July 30, 2009

charlie bell and shane b

     On Wednesday, July 29, the stars shined bright at the Pure Michigan Pro-Am golf tournament. Serving as a friendly kick-off to the final Buick Open, many celebrities (…athletes and entertainers) were teamed up with professional golfers at the Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc, Mich.

     Many of the best golfers in the world were in attendance, including: Tiger Woods, John Daly, Jim Furyk, David Duval, and Woody Austin. They were asked to pair up with some of the more popular people in the world like Bob Seger (Rock Star), John Kuester (Pistons Head Coach), Ken Holland (Detroit Red Wings GM), Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson (Pistons Legend), and Bill Laimbeer (Pistons Legend). With all of the odd pairings, the one that was pretty unique was Milwaukee Bucks’ guard, Charlie Bell and Houston Rockets’ forward, Shane Battier.

    Since their prep days, the two have been forced to compete against one another on the hardwood. As Bell held down the Flint area, Battier, a native of Birmingham, Mich., was making a name for himself in the Detroit area.

c. bell hs     In high school, Bell starred for Flint Southwestern Academy and Battier played for Detroit Country Day. In 1997, they finished in first and second place for Michigan’s Mr. Basketball award, with Battier ultimately winning, 896-863. This was largely due to the success of his team which captured the Class B state championship over Saginaw Swan Valley that year. 

    During their college tenure, they also competed against each other several times but most notably in the 1999 NCAA Final Four with Duke topping Michigan State 68-62. The Tournament was played at the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. In 2000, Bell got redemption for the loss with a National Championship and recognition as one of the “Flintstones.”

   Now the two have a renewed rivalry in the National Basketball Association with Bell starring for the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference and Battier lacing up his sneakers for the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference. Although it may seem as though Battier has been getting the better end of the rivalry, he surely lost the “Best Dressed” contest in the Pro-Am tournament.

     Battier showed up wearing a pair of the tightest light blue pants on the entire course to go along with a dark, striped shirt that did nothing for his attire with what looked to be Adidas basketball sneakers. Bell on the other hand sported a green Nike golf shirt, khakis, NBA socks, and a hat that read “YES! to HURLEY.”

     Immediately after the two left the 18th hole, they were swarmed by the media for under 10 minutes and I snuck in a couple questions (…my initials are by them). The others were asked by other journalists on the course…

You guys played in the Final Four right? Talk about your rivalry with each other…

SB: Yeah one year. In 1999 and we battle each other twice a year in the NBA and we still see each other so it’s a good little friendly rivalry.

Did you beat him again today?

SB: Probably

CB: But see my thing is that he plays in Houston so it’s the warm weather city and he can golf all year round. And you know Milwaukee and  us people here in the Midwest, we cant get on the course in November, December, and January so he has a slight advantage.

What are your thoughts on this being the last Buick Open? How does that hurt you?

CB: That’s really bad. I mean, year in and year out, this is something that I think a lot of people look forward to. The best golfers in the country coming here to Warwick Hills to the Flint area and this is the only tournament that comes on a regular basis in the state of Michigan. So I think the state of Michigan is losing a big tournament and a big draw as far as for the economy. It’s gonna be sad that this might be the last one.

battierSB: This has been a great tournament. I grew up watching it. It’s a thrill for me to be out here playing today and hopefully the PGA tour will realize that Michigan is a great golf state and we need to keep an event in Michigan and you never know what can happen. It’s a great event. I know that pros love playing here so hopefully we can try to keep the event here.

EW: Hey Charlie, I see that you’re on twitter quite often, have you been updating your twitter page out here on the course at all?

CB: Well, When I first got going but as the day went on it really wasnt nothing to twitter about. It was a bad day of golf (smiles). If I would’ve made a couple birdies, maybe I would’ve tweeted about it but it was a lot of bogeys and double bogeys and I aint wanna embarass myself in the tweeting land.

Any side bets between the two of you?

CB: No

SB: Nah

CB: I seen him out there on the practice range and I ain’t wanna bet nothing. I saw his swing looking pretty good.

After playing this tough course, can you talk about how hard golf is and how good these players really are on the golf course even compared to pro ball?

SB: Well these guys are pretty amazing and the things they can do with a little white ball. So we have a lot of respect as pro athletes for the amount of concentration and level of skill that you have to have.

CB: I would say basketball comes natural and it’s just one of those things where once you get out there, it’s kinda easy. But you know out here, this doesnt come natural like Shane said, this is tough. You really respect golfers a lot more once you get out here and especially when you’re out here by yourself and you can really have some fun. In basketball we practice our jump shot everday and golfers they practice their golf shots everyday so my hat goes off to them.

EW: It looks like you’re in better shape than when I last seen you, what have you been doing this off-season?

CB: Well, I’ve been working out a little bit, not as much as I want to. It’s been tough going back and forth from Michigan to Milwaukee, vacationing, trying to spend some time with the family but I’m trying to stay in shape. I got two months, August and September to go ahead and pick it up a little bit and I gotta come in ready because with Coach Skiles, if you dont come in that first week of training camp ready than, it’s gonna be a tough one!

Immediately after the event was over with, Bell tweeted “All over.Didn’t play very well but I had a great time and a lot of pro advice. Not a bad day at all. Off to Milwaukee for Jaime Foxx concert.”

*click on the pic to view this post at ‘It’s Just Sports!’

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