Rice has rocky debut in Nationwide Tour

Hall of Famer Jerry Rice hits out of a bunker during the opening round of the Nationwide Tour. (Dino Vournas / Associated Press)

Jerry Rice was known for his tremendous work ethic during his Hall of Fame career, and he is going to need that in golf — at least if his professional debut on the Nationwide Tour is any indication.

Because honestly, Rice is going to need a lot of brick-catching to reach his peers.

Rice shot a 12-over 83 in the Fresh Express Classic in Hayward, Calif. on Thursday, a humbling beginning for a guy who was one of the best receivers of his generation.

“I remember how my first NFL starts were bumpy,” Rice wrote on his PGA blog. “I was dropping footballs all over the place. This is a little bit like that: bumpy. And my putter is toast. I am going to melt it down. You won’t see it again.”

Rice actually was the NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1985, but that was likely because of one game — a 10-catch, 241-yard performance against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football.

But really, Jerry, a true golfer does blame his equipment — especially a guy who enjoyed a career of catching passes from two Hall of Fame quarterbacks — Joe Montana and Steve Young.

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