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No More Mr. Nice Guy  

Daniel Dodd
ESPN.com

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. -- What do you get when you mix shock-rocker Alice Cooper with movie star Samuel L. Jackson, a handful of Hall of Fame athletes, a quartet of Hawaiian Tropic girls and a 100-degree day in the California desert?
Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper poses with Susan Anton at the 2000 ESPY Classic.

What else? The 2002 ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic, held Tuesday at the Lost Canyons Golf Club.

Cooper, a self-confessed golf addict, joined a throng of sports stars, including Julius Erving, James Worthy, Marcus Allen, Deacon Jones, Jose Theodore and Jason Sehorn, for a round of 18 on the eve of the 10 th annual ESPY Awards, which will take place Wednesday night at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).

An avid sports fan and owner of Cooper'stown, a rock and sports-themed restaurant in Phoenix, Cooper has become a regular on the links, while continuing to release albums and tour regularly.

“I play six times a week,” says Cooper with a huge grin. “I keep my handicap right around 5, 6 or 7. If I’m having a good day I can get down there and play in that Samuel L. Jackson range.”

Jackson, who will be hosting the ESPYs for the third time, is also an avid golfer who crosses paths with Cooper on several occasions and showed up early to take some practice swings and chat with his caddy .

“Samuel L. is a great player. I just played with him recently at the Michael Douglas tournament. He is tough to beat," Cooper said. "James Garner is also a good player. There are plenty of guys out here that if you give them enough strokes they will beat you pretty bad.”

Cooper wasn't kidding. Garner's group went on to win the tournament with a scratch score of 57.

When he’s not playing golf, you’ll likely find Vincent Furnier (that’s his given name) rooting for the Diamondbacks or Curt Schilling, who he says is the coolest athlete in pro sports right now with his ability to pinpoint pitches and his “politically incorrect” attitude. But Cooper's real love lies in Detroit Rock City.

“Being from Detroit, I can tell you I really missed living in a city with a baseball team when I first moved to Arizona. But now that we have a team, things are great. Once you are from Detroit, you are a Lions, Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings fan for life. I’m also a huge Coyotes and Diamondbacks fan but I can’t get those Lions and Tigers out of my system.”

Sitting in the clubhouse an hour before tee time, it’s apparent that Cooper fits into the golf world just as easily as he would backstage at Ozzfest. Everyone from Erving to Jackson to Worthy found their way over to Cooper to say hello. It appears that he has created his own mini-tour.

“I see Samuel L. Jackson more than I see my wife! I play so many tournaments this time of year," Cooper said. "But I go back out on tour in September, and I’m out until Christmas. That's four months I'll be away from the game.”

But before that, Cooper has at least 36 more holes on his intenirary.

“I’m not done yet. After this I’m headed to the Parasol and then the celebrity tournament up in Tahoe.”




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