The 35-year-old actor plays the title role in the movie Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius, which opens on April 30.
SI: Why did playing Bobby Jones appeal to you?
Caviezel: He reminds me of guys like Roger Staubach: high-integrity guys, people who were offered temptations and turned them down. Jones took the road less traveled.
SI: You were offered the part of Walter Hagen, but you wanted to play Jones even though you're a lefty and had never golfed before. Why?
Caviezel: Well, I played the Count of Monte Cristo, and I never knew how to fence. They asked me if I golfed, and I said, "No, but I can learn."
SI: You played basketball for two years at Bellevue (Wash.) Community College, and your father, James, played at UCLA under John Wooden. What's the best Wooden story your dad told you?
Caviezel: I remember him telling me about putting my sneakers and socks on correctly. That was the first thing Wooden taught his players.
SI: Having played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, do you expect other players to give you the benefit of the doubt if you call afoul in a pickup basketball game?
Caviezel: Not the good ones. They would still kick my butt at any opportunity. As they should.
SI: Though you just started playing, you told Golf Magazine that you thought you could eventually be a scratch golfer. With or without divine intervention?