NASSAU, Bahamas — Derek Jeter needed something to fill his competitive void when he retired from baseball. The former New York Yankees shortstop chose golf, and just like everyone else, it’s been a challenge for him to master.
“It’s frustrating,” Jeter said Wednesday, after playing the pro-am with Rickie Fowler at the Hero World Challenge. “It’s probably the most frustrating thing I’ve done, because the ball’s not moving, man. You should be able to hit it. I can hit it. It just doesn’t go where I want it to go.
“So yeah, I guess I’m addicted to improve. That’s the best way to put it.”
Jeter has had a busy week in the Bahamas, playing nine holes with Tiger Woods on Monday, going to a players dinner on Tuesday night at the home of Justin Rose and then competing in the pro-am on Wednesday.
Jeter never played golf in his 20 years with the Yankees, during which he compiled 3,465 hits. He said he had a charity golf tournament but would only hit one tee shot with each group or hit a few putts.
Now that he’s retired, he can’t get enough. Jeter started playing only two years ago and already is down to a 10 handicap.
“You’re always playing rounds of golf, and everybody always tells you how good you are? Yeah,” Jeter said. “Come see these guys and really see how good players play.”
Woods said he could tell how much Jeter was into golf by the technical questions he was asking Monday when they were joined by Rose and Jeter’s former teammate Tino Martinez.
Even though he has been hooked on golf for the past two years and has known Woods for nearly 20 years, Monday was the first time Jeter played with Woods.
“I could have played with him earlier, but why embarrass myself?” Jeter said. “I’ve embarrassed myself a lot in my career, but never intentionally.”
The Yankees great wasn’t buying into any baseball comparisons. He was asked if the difference between hitting a big tee shot and hitting a home run.
“Nobody’s watching out here,” he said.
So it’s like hitting one out during batting practice?
“In between,” he said. “A spring training home run, maybe.”