"In golf there is no comfort zone," St. Louis Ram quarterback Mark Rypien, winner of the inaugural Celebrity Golf Championship in 1990, said in trying to explain the allure. "Every shot, every putt, is a bundle of nerves. But I still love it."
Conversely, the CGA provides the best argument that professional golfers are indeed athletes. More than 80% of the CGA participants carry a handicap of five or better, suggesting that when professional athletes channel their skills toward golf (as Elway has over the last three years in dramatically improving his handicap from a seven to a one), they are superior to nonathletes simply because the skills of coordination and strength, and the ability to perform under stress will always be valuable tools at the highest levels of the game.
Perhaps the key to the Celebrity Golf Championship's success is that the attraction of watching current and former pro athletes play golf pretty well isn't that different from watching professional golfers play it superbly. These are special athletes, applying their talents to a special game. It might be trashsport, but golf never had a better commercial.