Steve Ballmer has added another title to his growing list: Champion of the first Seahawks Floating Green Golf Challenge.
The former CEO of Microsoft, new owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and billionaire philanthropist tied PGA Tour and Champions Tour golfer Fred Couples and bested a trio of Seahawks by putting two of his three attempts on a floating green that was anchored in Lake Washington 90 yards from the Seahawks’ practice fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Ballmer then beat Couples by also dropping his playoff shot on the platform, as Couples final attempt hit but bounced off the floating green.
Ballmer didn’t just take the floating green honors; he also took out a small portable camera on his only shot that didn’t hit nothing but green.
Told that the price of the camera was $2 billion, the man who paid $2 billion to purchase the Clippers didn’t miss a beat by offering, “That’s the price of everything nowadays.”
But then beating Couples at his game was priceless. Couples, a Seattle native, will compete in the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge this week. Couples has 15 PGA Tour and 10 Champions Tour titles on his resume – including The Masters in 1992.
“I’m a random-number generator when it comes to golf swings and where the ball goes,” Ballmer said. “I just feel glad.”
Couples, however, wasn’t buying it. He and Ballmer competed in the Snoqualmie Showdown this month against former University of Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel and KJR’s Mitch Levy, and it was Ballmer who won that day as well.
“He was way better than I was. We won because of him,” Couples said. “And today, except for hitting the (camera), which was pretty exciting, he was phenomenal.”
The Seahawks usually have a closest-to-the-pin competition with Champions Tour players the week of the Boeing Classic, with the players aiming for a flag on the practice field. But they went the water route this year after Boeing engineers designed the floating green that was anchored in Lake Washington.
“Ballmer’s pretty good,” he said. “He had a pretty good little short game there. And he was able to take out the camera, too, which was very impressive.”
Couples went to O’Dea High School before moving on to the University of Houston, so he has been a Seahawks fan for years. He had tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII in February, but did not attend the game the Seahawks won 43-8 over the Denver Broncos.
“Which was a real bummer, maybe the biggest mistake I’ll ever make,” he said.
Instead, Couples watched Wednesday’s practice from the sideline.
“I went to U of H, so I knew a lot of football players in college and it was fun to watch,” Couples said. “I’ve been to a few Seahawk practices, but it’s mindboggling that they’re that big and they’re that fast.
“It’s fun and I enjoy it. It’s very relaxing.”
Wednesday, however, Couples turned out to be just the guy that Steve Ballmer brought with him.