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1st Annual Bermuda Golf Classic

NFL Veteran Lawrence Taylor (LT) for the win at the 1st Annual NFL Bermuda Golf Classic (photo via D'Lamina Photography)

NFL Vet Lawrence Taylor (LT) won the 1st Annual NFL Bermuda Golf Classic (photo: D’Lamina Photography)

Anytime you get 27 professional athletes together – whether current or retired – there are a few things you can expect. I had the chance to hang with some of the coolest guys ever to embrace “the shield” at the first annual NFL Bermuda Golf Classic last week.

For example – when there is no real pressure on the field, complete and utter nonsense and goofiness ensues – just laughing and smiling the entire time beyond grateful for the experience to be on such a beautiful course and hang with such legends. Those honors definitely go to free agent Ryan Lindley and St. Louis Rams Special Teams Devon Wylie.

Then you’ve got guys who are just loving life and spending time with their families on the beautiful island of Bermuda – like Adrian Murrell and Victor Green who split their time between hitting the links with former teammates and hitting the beach with their families. And of course we can’t forget the incredible wardrobe of Marcus Stroud and his wife strategically worn throughout the weekend’s festivities, which should have won an award all its own (this will be a thing next year, mark my words).

For others, and a pretty recurrent theme throughout the week, you might see extreme smack-talking that ranges anywhere from the number of Super Bowl rings one has to bragging rights for the bogey you shot on the last hole, or the time you turned left and avoided that hard-hitting tackle (Lawrence Taylor and Billy Joe Tolliver win the smack talk category hands down). Let me be the first to say – how these two retired NFL players don’t have their own reality show is beyond me. Someone needs to get on this. It is pure gold.

The Bermuda Golf Classic took place at the famed Port Royal Golf Club, former home to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. While there were no green jackets handed out to the winner, there was a stunning trophy as well as a custom-made Rockwell watch which went to retired linebacker Lawrence Taylor (L.T.) who beat out Billy Joe Tolliver in a sudden-death playoff round on signature hole 16 overlooking the gorgeous Bermuda waters. With about 200 sets of eyes (media, other players and locals), the two shot beautiful drive after drive, hitting the green like clockwork, but it was L.T.’s putting skills that won him the title.

Prior to the playoff round, L.T. was certain Billy Joe would have out-putted him. “The greens out here don’t give you the opportunity to make a lot of putts. It’s never the greens fault; it was the alcohol’s fault,” he says jokingly with a rocks glass in hand. “Of course we talk a lot of smack, but at the end of the day you still gotta perform. You always watch what you say because you don’t want to eat your words – it’ll come back to bite you like a big dog,” L.T. says.

After a bit of such talk, Billy Joe comes back with, “He’s been hit in the head too many times, you can’t blame him.”

[Check out The Blonde Side’s YouTube clip with these two vets.]

It was no surprise L.T. and Billy Joe made it to the finals (golf has sort of become their thing post-NFL), but a big surprise did come when Jaxson de Ville, the Jaguars mascot, shot an impressive 78 (7 over par) in his entire costumesize 24 shoes and all – only the second time playing a full 18

The Blonde Side goofing around with NFL Players Ryan Lindley and Devon Wiley

The Blonde Side goofing around with NFL Players Ryan Lindley and Devon Wiley

holes in costume. Golfing since age 5, Jaxson says signature hole 16 was his favorite, one of the most beautiful holes he’s played.

“We’re having a blast out here,” Hans Olsen, former tackle for BYU and the Colts says. “I gotta be honest – there’s been some pretty ugly smack talk – I’m not going to mention any names,” he says of a breakfast table encounter that went down the morning after the tournament. “Apparently there was some money, some words exchanged and things got really ugly, and I got up and left the table,” he says. Olsen also took a moment to casually mention that he was drafted in the Top 5 of the Pro-Am, because the competition between these guys never really went away.

“Smack talk has been more collegiate-based from my experience,” former Steeler Max Starks explains. “There’s a lot of Hurricanes, Seminoles and Gators out here – there’s a lot of heckling on the holes, but that’s ok because it’s not often you get to play a PGA-rated course,” the former Florida Gator says.

“It’s a fantastic course – you can find yourself in trouble in the bunkers, but it’s a lot of fun,” free agent Ryan Lindley says. The week also included a Pro-Am tournament where locals could draft-style bid on players. Lindley took it upon himself to grab the microphone and give all the compelling reasons he should be drafted for the Pro-Am. His team said he “lived up to the hype and more.”

While the tournament was certainly fun for all who played, it was more than bragging rights and custom watches up for stake. “We feel very fortunate to play on a course like Port Royal. It’s always good seeing the guys – we have a great reunion and the camaraderie we’ve built over the years is fun,” says former Jets safety Victor Green who puts on his own golf tournament in New York in September.

Former NFL Player Max Starks hits hole 16 at Port Royal Golf Course (photo via D'Lamina Photograph)

Former NFL Player Max Starks hits hole 16 at Port Royal Golf Course (photo: D’Lamina Photograph)

The weeklong event involved a lot more than just golf. Intangibles like bonding time, family style meals (and adult beverages for most), scooter tours throughout the two-lane island (if you passed your scooter test), swimming with and kissing dolphins, scuba diving and snorkeling, mini-golf and more. It was an all around great reunion for players and their families and a lot of love was shown from the Bermudians. Players and their families were put up at the Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa (which was a presenting sponsor) where they undoubtedly rolled out the red carpet. There wasn’t a single attendee who isn’t anxiously waiting and hoping for an invite for next year.

While the event was a ton of fun, I will say thank goodness none of these guys had backup plans to play professional golf.

This article originally ran in the sports section of CBS’s Man Cave Daily. Click here to see the original article online.