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Demarcus Ware ‘pissed off’ ready to prove doubters wrong at American Century Championship

Ware, who had a Hall of Fame playing career for the Dallas Cowboys, is ready to make a mark at the American Century Championship.

Demarcus Ware, NFL, Dallas Cowboys, American Century Championship
IRVING, Texas — Future NFL Hall of Famer Demarcus Ware makes a friendly gesture during round two of the ClubCorp Classic at Las Colinas Country Club on April 23, 2022.
Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course will once again host some of the biggest celebrities for the American Century Championship this weekend.

Demarcus Ware, future member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will tee it up for the sixth time at this event.

The former Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos star finished in 79th place a year ago, so he hopes to improve his standing in 2023.

“I don’t know what last looks like [in football], but I’ve been last in a lot of these tournaments, and it pisses me off,” Ware said to Playing Through.

“So I’ve gotten some of the best coaches telling me where to hit the ball, the strategy of the game because, you know, you can play better when you play with the guys who have the shots, but then you don’t finish.”

Demarcus Ware, Denver Broncos, NFL, Super Bowl 50
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Denver Broncos’ DeMarcus Ware (94) celebrates his fourth-quarter sack of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) in Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016.
Photo by Nhat V. Meyer/MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images

Ware admitted that he has struggled with his short game, hence the difficulty of not being able to “finish.”

Ironically, finishing is what Ware is famous for in football.

He is regarded as one of the best edge rushers ever, as he placed a premium on sacking opposing quarterbacks and squashing opposing offensive lines.

In both 2008 and 2010, Ware led the NFL in sacks. His 138.5 career sacks rank ninth all-time. He is also a member of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team.

Ware knows how to finish on the football field.

On the golf course, however, it is a work in progress.

“You can’t go out there and three-putt. That doesn’t work, right?” Ware said. “You gotta be able to finish like you should, so everything is getting [better] than last year.”

Ware hopes his improved short game will prove everyone wrong in Lake Tahoe, especially his chipping.

Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course sits more than 6,200 feet above sea level and is surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The course is listed at 6,865 yards. That may seem like a lot for amateur players, but the yardage is much shorter than it appears due to the elevation changes.

The golf ball travels much farther due to the thinner air at high altitudes, and yes, it even affects the short game.

American Century Championship, NFL, Lake Tahoe
STATELINE, Nev. — Former NFL player Brian Urlacher plays his shot from the 17th tee during the final round of the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course on July 10, 2022.
Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images

Ware knows this because of his prior experience at the American Century Championship. Hence his concerted effort to improve his game from 50 yards and in.

“Here, you gotta think about if you’re hitting into the mountain, the ball is gonna roll back down, or if you’re hitting away from the mountain, the ball’s gonna go way farther,” Ware explained. “You have to have your distances dialed in, especially with chipping, because you want to just get it on the green and get it as close as possible.”

The 2023 Pro Football Hall-of-Fame Inductee also explained how other top players—especially his former teammate Tony Romo—have elite short games which help lower their scores.

Romo won the 2022 American Century Championship.

“The majority of the time you see [these top players] not three-putt,” Ware said. “They do not one-putt often, so they are likely going to two-putt. You are just trying to get it close enough, but your drive is going to get you there.”

DeMarcus Ware, Emmett Smith, NFL, Dallas Cowboys
IRVING, Texas — APRIL 21: Former NFL player DeMarcus Ware talks to Former NFL player Emmett Smith on the seventh tee during the first round of the Invited Celebrity Classic at Las Colinas Country Club on April 21, 2023.
Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

“[These guys] usually two-putt because off the tee, they get in position, and then they hit their approach shot and put it on.”

Ware, who carries an 8.4 index according to the USGA’s GHIN handicap system, has played enough golf to know what he is talking about.

But to contend at this year’s American Century Championship, Ware has to bring his technical side from the gridiron to the course.

“The competitive nature of football comes to the golf course, not from a tenacity standpoint, but from a technique standpoint,” Ware said. “You have to be technical for 72, 74, or however many strokes you should have. And that’s the mental part that comes from football. You have to be technical in what you have to prepare for in golf.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.