Sam Kouvaris: Blake Bortles in Lake Tahoe
LAKE TAHOE, Nev. – There are perks to being a starting quarterback in the NFL. Despite calling himself a "bad" golfer, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is playing in the annual American Century Championship Golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
"Played my best round ever yesterday during practice," Bortles told me from lakeside via satellite on Thursday. "Shot 80; my best score ever."
The player known for his golf game on the Jaguars is Kicker Josh Scobee. A near scratch player, Scobee is a former club champion at San Jose and is known as a "bomber" on the course for his prodigious drives. In the thin air and altitude at Lake Tahoe, Scobee is hitting it over 350 yards regularly with his driver. "I hit it past him a few times when we played together," Bortles said with a smile.
(Scobee seemed to confirm this on Twitter, not contradicting his quarterback when I tweeted his comment today) Josh played at Tahoe last year and has told the organizers that he'd play anytime they'd invite me. "Amazing," is how he's described his experience in the tournament.
Just like anybody, Blake confirmed that it's "pretty cool" to see all of the celebrities and people you know at the golf course, at the parties and in the clubhouse. "It's everybody you recognize and have seen play in this tournament before so it's pretty cool to be a part of that."
Working in the offseason on "quarterback things," Bortles said he's pretty optimistic about this season after the upgrades the Jaguars have made. "It's like night and day," he said regarding the talent level on the Jaguars from this year to last.
He's also been working on his throwing motion, trying to stay away from the arm fatigue he suffered late last year. More footwork, more hip and shoulder rotation. "I just have to keep working on it and not revert to bad habits when it counts, in games." And although he has spent time in town at the OTA's, the mini-camp and working out in Jacksonville since then, Bortles is still working on his game.
"I have Jordan Palmer (former Jaguars QB and well-known QB guru) as my caddy this week. We threw yesterday, we'll throw again today and tomorrow and Saturday to keep working on stuff."
That's pretty impressive no matter how dedicated you are. The Tahoe tournament is a massive party so for Bortles, in his first time there, to spend time throwing the football to stay in it says a lot.
Although he does everything else right handed, Bortles plays golf left handed, blaming his dad for that quirk, and the state of his game.
"My dad played left handed so I played with his clubs and learned to play that way. It's probably why I'm bad. It's his fault!" he said with a laugh.
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