Christian Ponder (Dave Martin/AP)
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder met up with other NFL stars, including Adrian Peterson, for a charity golf tournament at one of the country’s most well-known courses.
Welcome to The Show, Christian Ponder.
In what will be the first of many such appearances, Ponder was officially welcomed to the velvet-rope world of the NFL Saturday with his appearance at a charity golf tournament hosted by Tim Tebow.
What’s that you rhetorically say? Tim Tebow has a golf tournament? Let’s just say “uhh…yeah.”
Tebow, who already has a statue of himself outside his college stadium, remains an enigma that could quite possibly blossom into a positive cult leader. For a guy who, as an NFL rookie, had more rushing attempts (43) than completions (41) and more rushing touchdowns (6) than passing TDs (5), his stroke in the NFL community has already become huge.
Adrian Peterson was there, but his motivation was competitive more than it was being an ally. He and Tebow met up in Las Vegas for a Nike event and Tebow made the request for A.D. to come to his golf tournament. One thing led to another and Peterson said he would if Tebow beat him in hoops – a game of H-O-R-S-E. Tebow won. Peterson attended, saying he was there because “I had to show my boy Tebow some love.”
The event wasn’t held at some area par-3 hacker’s haven. It was held at little something called TPC Sawgrass – a course so renowned its mere mention gets the hair on the back of the duffers’ necks to stand up.
Fans who paid $12.50 a pop to help the cause numbered more than 1,000, most of whom followed Tebow’s group. The tournament was held in Jacksonville, Fla., a day trip for Ponder, but one he plans to make several more times – thanks to his new bestest golfing buddy.
When Viking Update spoke with Ponder the day after he was drafted, talk turned to fishing. Ponder has two off-field loves – golfing and fishing. He said fellow first-round QB Blaine Gabbert, who became a friend of Ponder’s when the two worked out together in Arizona prior to the Combine, had called each other after they became the faces of two franchises – Gabbert in Jacksonville and Ponder in Minnesota.
When asked about the conversation, Ponder told VU he told Gabbert to buy a house on TPC Sawgrass and he would buy a boat (seems Ponder gets by a little cheaper in his proposed arrangement) and they would exchange trips for golf and fishing.
As far as NFL quarterbacks go, Tebow is much more intriguing to fantasy football owners than to John Elway and the Denver front office. He is far from a guarantee to be a success in the NFL, but he has a statue in his honor and a golf tournament. If nothing else, it has to have turned the heads of guys like Ponder and Gabbert. They see what can be for a young quarterback in the new era of the NFL – even one that has yet to prove he can be “all that.” That’s something to ponder.
MOTHER’S DAY NOTES
The best part of the Tebow golf tournament was that it gave Ponder and Peterson a chance to meet up away from football and build their own relationship as two guys at another guy’s golf tournament and not make their first introductions formal ones. As a team leader, if A.D. came away with a positive view of Ponder, you can bet his teammates that he communicates with in the offseason know about it already.
Among the celebrity guests that took part in Tebow’s tournament was Fred Durst, lead singer of Limp Bizkit, which makes one wonder how he became tight with Tebow.
Speaking of Ponder and Florida, he’s getting included in a strange little piece of in-house P.R. On the official Tampa Bay Buccaneers website, in a story entitled “Welcoming Committee,” the Bucs promo patrol points out that six of the team’s 16 games next season could be played against rookie quarterbacks. Aside from two games with Cam Newton and the Panthers, the Bucs are scheduled to play the Vikings in the Minnesota home opener in Week 2 (with Ponder potentially at the wheel of the offense) and there is an outside chance that 49ers second-round pick Colin Kaepernick could be starting when Tampa Bay meets San Francisco in Week 5. While that eventuality is far from assured, the other two potential matchups with rookie QBs make much more sense – eighth overall pick Jake Locker and Tennessee in Week 12 and Blaine Gabbert and Jacksonville in Week 14. For a team that finished 10-6 last year but missed the playoffs, the Bucs seem to be grabbing at hypothetical straws to assure fan interest.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.