Mike Eruzione is one of only four athletes to play in all 24 American Century Championship golf tournaments.
After captaining the 1980 Olympic hockey team known as the “Miracle on Ice,” which defeated the Soviet Union en route to winning a gold medal in Lake Placid, Eruzione says he gets nervous just by stepping on the course at Edgewood. Besides the competition, the crowds add to the pressure.
“The competition is one thing, but just the enjoyment and the fun you have about being out there and the galleries of people that show up,” Eruzione said. “So many people come back to watch you play and it’s intimidating, but it’s also a fun intimidation ... I’ve always told people I’d rather play the Russians every night than step on the first tee in Lake Tahoe.”
Eruzione considers hole 17 as the highlight of the tournament with the spectators who gather on the land and the boats that line the shore.
“I love playing 17. That’s the most fun you can have on the golf course,” Eruzione said.
The Winthrop, Mass., native is confident that he won’t be winning the tournament overall, but is looking for a hole-in-one on 17. Any golfer who makes a hole-in-one on 17 wins a million dollars. A few years ago, Joe Sakic shot a hole-in-one on 17 and won $500,000 for himself and $500,000 to a charity of his choosing.
“I got a better chance at winning a hole-in-one than I do in winning the tournament, so I look at it this way, I fly out to Tahoe for three shots,” Eruizione said. “I’ve had six hole-in-ones in my life and I think I have a seventh somewhere coming, and I hope it’s on 17.”
Eruzione is slated at 300-1 odds to win overall and, even though he’s happy with those odds, he wouldn’t suggest betting any money on him.
“That’s pretty good,” he said. “I wouldn’t put a dollar on myself.”