Golf Adds New Passion for Cowboys Cornerback
By Nick Eatman
DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
May 22, 2005, 1:12 PM (CDT) IRVING, Texas
- A year ago, the only thing Terence Newman knew about "fades" and "draws" were passes to the end zone and delayed running plays.
While playing both correctly is still vital for an NFL cornerback, Newman is learning a thing or two about hitting fades and draws on the golf course. In fact, he has not only picked up a few tricks with the irons, but he's turned himself into a solid golfer as well here in the past few months.
Newman was one of the better golfers among the Cowboys players participating in last week's annual golf tournament for the club sponsors out at the Cowboys Golf Course in Grapevine, Texas.
And to think it was only two years ago when he first discovered just how much he enjoyed the game, despite his lack of experience.
But two years, several dozen tee times and thousands of range balls later, Newman is much more appreciative of the sport.
"It's a peaceful game that's very challenging to hit the ball straight and be consistent," Newman said. "I think the technical aspect of it is what I like. There are so many things about the game that I like, and there's always something more you can do. There's always something you can work on to get better at. That's what I like about this game. You can never be good enough."
And that view alone is what keeps Newman out on the golf course anywhere from two, to sometimes four times in a week, especially here in the off-season.
While he appears to be fairly strong with his driver - his group used six of his drives in last week's scramble - Newman said he tries to work on all aspects of his golf game equally.
"I don't really have a strength right now," he said. "I think I do everything just OK. I'm OK with the driver. I'm OK at putting. I'm OK with the short game. So I really need to continue to work on everything. But that's what I do. I go out and play as much as I can."
And when he plays, Newman is now good enough to work on a few shots he didn't even know existed until this year.
"I really didn't know about (different shots)," he said. "I knew you could slice the ball because I used to do that all the time. But when I started hearing about draws and fades, I would be like, 'This ain't football, you know.'"
And just because he's on the course more these days, don't think Newman is mixing up his priorities. He knows the difference between golf and football is more than the peacefulness one sport affords.
He understands one is recreational for him and the other is where he makes his living.
"I don't get paid to play golf," he said. "Golf is something you do to go out and have fun and take your mind off of things. But football is my job. That's what I do. So I'm working just as hard to get better at (football), too."
Newman will be the first admit last year was a disappointment, not because the Cowboys finished 6-10 and out of the playoffs, but also from his own individual performance. He struggled midway through the season with his confidence, giving far more big plays than he did as a rookie in 2003.
While the absence of strong safety Darren Woodson and the constant rotation to find solid help at right cornerback were factors in the Cowboys secondary getting torched for 31 touchdown passes, Newman had trouble finding his groove as well.
But he wasn't alone. While Newman reiterated several times he wasn't trying to make excuses, he did point out other established cornerbacks had "off-years." Much of the reason had to do with the NFL heavily-emphasizing illegal-contact by defenders on wide receivers past the allowed five yards.
"You look at Champ Bailey last year," Newman said of the former Redskins Pro Bowler who was traded to the Broncos last year. "He's one of the best corners in the game and he had a bad year last year. I don't know if it was because of the rules changes or what, but it didn't pan out like they thought. But a lot of cornerbacks had bad years.
"But you can't worry about it. You have to just get better, and stay confident and come back fighting the next year."
While Newman seemed to play better near the end of the season and did end up leading the team again in interceptions with four, he said he's not the only one looking for vast improvements this year.
"Everybody has a bitter taste in their mouths from last year," Newman said. "And I think people have different perspectives about it. But last year is last year. We have to worry about this year."
The Cowboys have certainly addressed the cornerback position this year, not only signing former Browns veteran Anthony Henry to a five-year, $25 million contract early in free agency, but adding the savvy Aaron Glenn, a 12-year veteran who has played three seasons under Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells. Glenn certainly will add much-needed experience and depth, and gives the Cowboys a great addition to their nickel defense.
"I think it's great because we needed help in the secondary," said Newman, who is expected to slide into the slot in passing situations with Glenn and Henry manning the corners. "I definitely think I can learn from a guy like Aaron Glenn. I've watched tape on him. You don't play 12 or 13 years in this league just because you've got in good with the coach. He can play. And I think we all can learn something from him because we didn't have any veteran at cornerback."
So for himself, Newman said he's tried to improve on every aspect of his game: Footwork, hand-eye coordination, studying game film and technique. Kind of like his golf game, where he says putting, chipping, driving and even the mental aspect of it all has room for improvement.
"My goal is just to be a good golfer," Newman said. "Right now, I shoot about 85 or so on a good day. I want to get down to shooting about 75 on a regular basis. But that really is determined by how much you get out there and play.
"But I just want to keep getting better and better."
Like fades and draws, another similarity for Newman between golf and football.
1. Redskins - Check
2. Dolphins - Check
3. Arizona -