It took Washington Capitals legend Alexander Ovechkin 13 seasons to hoist the Stanley Cup. Checking off golf’s signature achievement took him far less time.
Ovechkin was honored late Thursday night in Las Vegas for his role in captaining the Caps to their first-ever Stanley Cup title, capturing the Conn Smythe trophy in the process as the playoffs’ most valuable player. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a look back at Ovechkin’s first-ever round of golf.
The year was 2006, and Ovechkin, coming off a rookie-of-the year campaign, decided to make an appearance at the team’s pre-season charity tournament in Springfield, Va. Get this: despite frequent overlap between hockey players and golf, Ovechkin had never played in his life and had to borrow clubs from teammates for the day. But the golf gods work in mysterious ways, and when Ovi stepped up to the 160-yard par-3 4th hole, he caught one clean. It landed on the green, bounced twice and landed directly in the cup on the third bounce, sending the young superstar into a frenzy.
For a celebration, onlookers got it all: First he raised his arms and screamed in celebration, then flipping his golf club to use as an electric guitar. Then he held his hand up to his ear, and yelled to the game’s best player. “Tiger, where are you?” Ovechkin then took off towards the green, attracting the attention of a nearby group.
“I hit it!” Ovechkin yells their way, pointing to the pin. “I shot over there and I got it! I swear to God.”
When it came to explaining his rookie brilliance, Ovechkin put it simply. “I watched a couple lessons with Tiger Woods, how he shot and I said maybe I can do same shot,” he said. “And I shot it and [gesturing] pshew.”
You’d better watch the original video to see for yourself.
The ace wasn’t the start of a great second-sport career, however. A decade after his on-course debut, Ovechkin showed that making contact was still a very real issue. #https://instagram.com/p/BLPMew4BEUM/
After reviewing the footage, it’s tough for us to disagree with the sentiments of Caps owner Ted Leonsis those 12 years ago. “Don’t give up your day job,” Leonsis said. “I don’t want him to give up his day job.” We’ll see if Ovechkin’s celebratory offseason plans include any trips to the links.