Who stung JR? Hornets nest puts sting in Smith’s golf debut

Oct 13, 2021, 4:07 AM | Updated: 4:13 am
North Carolina A&T head golf coach Richard Watkins, left, bumps fists with and North Carolina A&T's...

North Carolina A&T head golf coach Richard Watkins, left, bumps fists with and North Carolina A&T's J.R. Smith on the ninth hole during the second round of the Phoenix Invitational golf tournament in Burlington, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. Smith spent 16 years playing in the NBA, winning two world championships. (Woody Marshall/News & Record via AP)

(Woody Marshall/News & Record via AP)

BURLINGTON, N.C. (AP) — J.R. Smith stepped into a hornets nest in his first college golf tournament and it had nothing to do with his high score.

The 36-year-old two-time NBA champion was literally stung by hornets while completing his round Tuesday for North Carolina A&T on the second day of Elon’s Phoenix Invitational.

“To get stung on the basketball court or in an arena, never happens,” said Smith, now a freshman walk-on. “That’s one of the very few things you don’t have to worry about (in basketball) – other animals. When I got stung, I was like ‘No way.'”

The hornets just added to the sting of Smith’s birdie-less round of 8-over-par 79 on the Donald Ross-designed layout. Combined with his two rounds Monday, he finished at 29 over 240 – in 81st place out 84 entries.

Smith said he’s determined to improve because he knows others are paying attention. He communicated with Phoenix guard Chris Paul after Monday’s two rounds and heard from ex-NBA teammates as part of a group text.

“I got a lot of great feedback,” Smith said. “Chris Paul was telling me guys were talking about it in the locker room. Guys are really looking for my scores, so I got to take care of business so when I see them it ain’t going to be too much backlash.”

Still, he made an impact at the event. Well after the round, playing partner Mason Whatley of Presbyterian went to have a photograph with Smith.

“He has made golf cool for people,” Whatley said.

When the hornets attacked, being an ambassador for the game was not Smith’s top priority.

It happened on his third hole of the third round at Alamance Country Club. His tee shot went off the fairway and became embedded in pine straw. He found the ball, but his pull cart’s wheel rolled over the the nest.

Smith darted away from that area, waving his arms, before needing treatment. Smith, along with playing partners Florian Blatti of George Washington and Whatley, were granted a 15-minute break as other groups played through.

“I tried to turn it into a positive,” Smith said, referring to suiting up while ill in the NBA. “This might be your equivalent of a flu game.”

Smith had the sixth-best score out of six players on his team. The Aggies finished 11th in the 13-team field, 57 shots off the pace set by tournament champion Elon.

Smith played 16 years in the NBA, winning championships with Cleveland in 2016 and with the Los Angeles Lakers last year in the Florida pandemic bubble. The Lakers’ title-clinching win came exactly one year before his debut as an Aggies golfer.

Smith said he has a round tentatively set up next week with recently retired North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams. Smith was originally set to play basketball for Williams’ Tar Heels before going jumping straight to the NBA in 2004.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - In this July 27, 2015, file photo, a BNSF Railway Company train is parked in Seattle. The he...
Associated Press

Rail union: Plan for contract deal doesn’t address concerns

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The head of the nation’s largest railroad union says the report designed to help resolve stalled contract talks with freight railroads doesn’t do enough to address concerns about working conditions, even though it suggests 24% raises. The railroads indicated earlier this week that they were ready to hammer out a deal […]
16 hours ago
FILE - A Bed Bath & Beyond sign is shown in Mountain View, Calif., May 9, 2012. Shares in Bed Bath ...
Associated Press

Bed Bath & Beyond tumbles after influential investor exits

NEW YORK (AP) — The newest meme stock on Wall Street, Bed Bath & Beyond, is tumbling even further in after-hours trading Thursday after a high-profile activist investor confirmed that’s he’s bailed out of the stock. Ryan Cohen, the co-founder of Chewy who helped ignite a couple of meme stocks to jaw-dropping heights, confirmed in […]
16 hours ago
FILE - People shop at an Apple Store in Beijing, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. Apple disclosed serious s...
Associated Press

Apple warns of security flaw for iPhones, iPads and Macs

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple disclosed serious security vulnerabilities for iPhones, iPads and Macs that could potentially allow attackers to take complete control of these devices. The company said it is “aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.” Apple released two securityreports about the issue on Wednesday, although they didn’t […]
16 hours ago
The Trump Organization's former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg leaves from court, Thursd...
Associated Press

What’s next for Trump Organization after Weisselberg plea?

NEW YORK (AP) — The numbers guy did the math: Allen Weisselberg — a longtime loyal lieutenant to Donald Trump — could have gotten years in prison if he went to trial and failed to beat tax evasion allegations. But if he agreed to testify in an upcoming trial of the former president’s company, he […]
16 hours ago
FILE - This June 23, 2011, file booking photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows James "Wh...
Associated Press

Justice Dept.: 3 men charged in Whitey Bulger’s killing

BOSTON (AP) — Three men, including a Mafia hitman, have been charged in the killing of notorious Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger in a West Virginia prison, the Justice Department said Thursday. The charges against Fotios “Freddy” Geas, Paul J. DeCologero and Sean McKinnon come nearly four years after Bulger’s killing, which raised questions […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Opera tenor Placido Domingo attends an awards ceremony in the Royal Theatre in Madrid, Spain...
Associated Press

Placido Domingo’s name comes up in Argentina sex sect probe

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Opera star Placido Domingo’s name has appeared in an investigation of a sect-like organization in Argentina that also had U.S. offices and whose leaders have been charged with crimes, including sexual exploitation. Domingo, the Spanish opera singer who has faced accusations of sexual harassment from numerous women over the past […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Who stung JR? Hornets nest puts sting in Smith’s golf debut