Olympic silver medalist downplays second appearance in Tahoe

STATELINE -- Even for Olympic silver medalist skier Bode Miller, who usually thrives on individual competition, this week's American Century Championship isn't about winning. Actually Miller, who is making his second straight appearance at the event, hasn't really determined what exactly he wants to accomplish at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

"It depends on what your goals are," said Miller, who won silver medals in both the combined and giant slalom at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. "If your goals are to not hurt yourself, it's no challenge at all. All I got to do is go around the course and smack it around."

Don't let his sandbag approach fool you. Miller, who lists himself as a 10 handicap, is a pretty good golfer. In last year's tournament he had a three-day total of 251, and finished in a tie for 46th place with NHL star Jeremy Roenick. Miller's score was only a shot back of Michael Jordan, who plays golf as often as he gambles, which is a lot.

"We're all world class in something because we work at it," said Miller, who lives in Franconia, N.H. "This (golf) isn't it. And even if we do work at it, we're not that good. I played five rounds last year, so I got a good feel for everything. It was all right today. I struggled today but it's a practice round."

Miller played in a Caesars Tahoe pro-am tournament on Wednesday. Included in his group were two amateurs and former NHL goalie Grant Fuhr. Miller wasn't sure what his final score was, but he does know he nearly marked down double digits after one hole.

Realizing that, he thinks the new Stableford scoring system, which is being used for the first time at the 14th annual celebrity event, could help a lot of golfers. The Stableford is a point system that gives positive points for double eagles, eagles, birdies and pars. It gives negative points for bogeys and double bogeys. The lowest score any player can receive is minus-2 for a double bogey or higher.

"It's a better format, really for the guys who don't have the consistency as the pros have," Miller said. "All of us can make great shots but I got a nine on a hole today. Hopefully it will allow guys to be more aggressive."

Squeezed in between all his golfing obligations, Miller has found it hard to contact the area's other Olympians, guys like Truckee's Daron Rahlves, who is also a member of the United States Ski Team. And Miller made it perfectly clear that he hasn't tried to recruit any of Tahoe's world class winter athletes to the ACC.

"I was thinking about getting together with some of them but I haven't yet," Miller said. "I haven't really said anything to them about it because they really don't golf that much, so it could be kind of miserable for them."

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