18 holes with ... Jonathan Ogden

Hall of Fame electee a man of big drives, big appetite

Played Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS — Jonathan Ogden once lectured a young Tommie Harris during a Ravens-Bears game.

"He was a rookie mouthing off," Ogden recalled. "I said, 'Hey, man, you haven't done anything in the league yet. It's unbecoming.' "

Unbecoming?

Harris nodded. "You're right," he said.

Ogden has an agreeable personality that puts everyone around him at ease. You almost could forget he made a career of turning 300-pound men into dust mites.

Ogden has an extensive vocabulary but won't be verbose when he delivers his Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement speech Aug. 3. His plan: "Stick to the script. Be concise. Don't ramble."

Ogden can laugh at himself, saying he's a "mental midget" after leaving birdie putts short on the first two holes at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.

Yes, he's a 6-foot-9, 350-pound midget who wears 4XL shirts and has a "46ish"-inch waist.

As a boy growing up in Washington, D.C., he was too big for football. His mother didn't let him play because he would have had to line up against kids two years his senior.

As an 11-time Pro Bowl selection, some teammates joked that his head was too big for his helmet.

"My cheeks did puff out a bit," he acknowledged. "Hey, it's not a beauty contest."

Now, even though he's a 6-handicap who effortlessly ripped his first drive 320 yards, Ogden said the game is not kind to large specimens.

"It's hard enough being tall," he said. "It's hard enough being big. You throw them together …"

Ogden lives on a golf course in Henderson, Nev., where the original residential appeal was no state income tax.

Despite my offer to plunk down some chips, we played for nothing but pride.

"You live in this town," he said, "you learn not to gamble. You can't really win."

Our round took place March 27, a little more than a week before Ogden teed it up at the 12th Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational, which has generated more than $6 million for charities.

Ogden's career best is a 73, but he played in the Lake Tahoe celebrity event three times and recalled being petrified on the first tee. He said he wished he could have told the spectators, "Look at something else."

His game, he said, is a mix of "some really good shots and some 'where did that come from?' shots."

Or as he later put it: "This is golf. (Stuff) switches up."

CHICAGO