18 holes with ... Nazr Mohammed

Bulls center hooked on golf, despite the extra challenges big men face

Bulls center Nazr Mohammed after his 18 holes at Conway Farms in Lake Forest.

Nazr Mohammed calls it his "golf claim to fame."

He played with Fred Couples at an outing in Charlotte, N.C., and Couples told him, "You have a nice swing … for a big guy."

" 'Nice swing' is all I heard," Mohammed said.

Golf isn't easy for the giants among us. For starters, Mohammed can't find his desired spikeless Ecco shoes in a size 16. His Ping clubs are 21/2 inches longer than standard. And when he's struggling, his swing has more moving parts than a windmill.

Mohammed is listed at 6-foot-10 but says he got shortchanged.

"At the draft, they made a mistake," he recalled. "They had me at 6-10, 221. I haven't been 221 pounds since the sixth grade."

No, life isn't always fair. Mohammed is not about to complain, not with three healthy kids, a wife who puts up with his golf addiction ("She understands there are a lot worse things to be out there doing") and an NBA career that will enter its 16th season.

On top of that, the Kenwood Academy alumnus expects to return to his hometown Bulls next season.

"They want me back," he said. "I want to be back. Now it's the technicality of getting (the contract) done."

But there is one unfortunate thing Mohammed hopes does not follow him to his basketball grave. It happened May 10, during Game 3 against the Heat. It involved a fellow named LeBron James hitting the deck.

"Some Heat fans went ballistic," Mohammed recalled. "I got 10,000 more Twitter followers on the LeBron day — and probably blocked 2,000."

Some of those who tweeted nasty insults got this response from @NazrMohammed: "God bless you and your family."

After the game, Mohammed said he was "disappointed because my son probably was watching the game, and I don't want him to see that type of behavior on the court."

Mohammed waited a few days before having what he anticipated would be a "tough conversation" with 7-year-old Nasir. When Mohammed expressed regret, Nasir replied, "But he pushed you first."

That take-no-junk response made the father smile.

"I'd rather tame the beast," he said, "than create one."

Mohammed was no beauty on the golf course. But he was no beast, either, showing nary a sign of frustration during a tough round at Conway Farms, site of the BMW Championship in September.

After making a quadruple-bogey 8 on the par-4 fifth, Mohammed simply said, "Double me up."

After he escaped a deep bunker with his fifth shot on No. 15, he said, "Glad something good happened on that hole."

And upon tallying his score of 100, Mohammed responded, "Oh, that hurts."

CHICAGO

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