By Brian Wacker
NEW PROVIDENCE, Bahamas -- Derek Jeter owned one of the sweetest swings in baseball.
When it comes to golf, the former Yankee and future Hall of Famer’s action isn’t quite as smooth, but the results are still pretty good. Since retiring two years ago, he has whittled his handicap to a very-respectable 10.
“I’m obsessed,” Jeter said Wednesday from the Hero World Challenge, where earlier in the week he played a casual nine holes alongside Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and former teammate Tino Martinez before teeing it up in the tournament’s pro-am with Rickie Fowler. “It’s frustrating. It’s probably the most frustrating thing I’ve done because the ball’s not moving. I should be able to hit it. I can hit it, but it doesn’t go where I want it to go.
“I’m addicted to trying to improve.”
Jeter and Martinez often play together at Old Memorial Golf Club in Tampa, where both reside. Getting to play with Woods, however, was a special treat for the former shortstop. Though the two have known each other for years -- Jeter made his Major League debut the year before Woods turned pro -– it was the first time they had teed it up together.
“It’s fun to get an opportunity to meet a lot of these guys that I’ve admired from afar and fun to see the best in the world at what they do,” Jeter said. “It’s good to see that [Tiger] is healthy, that’s the biggest thing.”
In some ways, Jeter can also relate to what Woods is going through this week.
Late in his career, Jeter broke his ankle twice and ultimately ended up missing about a year after rushing back from the injury the first time.
“For me, even though you’re told that you’re healthy, I was told I was healthy the first time and then a freak thing happened and my ankle broke in another spot,” he said. “You still have to get out there and experience things before you know for sure, so there was some uncertainty there, at least there was for me.”
One thing that isn’t uncertain: Jeter’s love of golf.
“You’ve got to find something that quenches that competitive thirst,” he said. “I love the game.”