Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has yet to announce a decision on his future, he said at Wednesday’s Waste Management Phoenix Annexus Pro-Am at TPC Scottsdale.

Fitzgerald, having completed his 17th season with the Cardinals, was in golf mode as the celebrity player in a group that included PGA Tour pros Cameron Champ and Jason Day. He was twice asked about his future.

“I’m just playing golf right now, that’s all I’m worried about,” Fitzgerald said. “No timeline. I’m just taking it day by day.

“Honestly I haven’t given it much thought.”

Fitzgerald said he was “banged up” at the end of this past season and just started feeling better, so he hadn’t played as much golf as he would have liked to before Wednesday.

He said he’s enjoyed his offseason so far.

“The kids have been keeping me busy, normal offseason, nothing different,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald, wearing green pants and carrying his own red bag full of clubs, was a hit on the course with the fans, even with attendance limited to a few thousand throughout the day. He hooked his first shot of the day off the tee and the ball landed under a tree, after which it took him two more shots to get to the green.

“Luckily there was no spectators over there, I would have had a lawsuit on my hands if that was the case,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m glad I was able to rebound and get it going later in the day. I know I beat Patrick Peterson, that’s all that matters.”

Peterson, Fitzgerald’s Cardinals teammate, also took part in the pro-am.

Fitzgerald birdied the third hole, dropping in a short putt after a quality third shot over the rough. Then he called to a young fan holding a football and motioned for him to throw the ball.

The teenager tossed the pass, Fitzgerald yelling “Kyler!” in reference to Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.

“I hope so,” said 16-year-old Jake Walden, a golfer at Gilbert Higley High School who played catch with Fitzgerald, asked if he hopes the longtime Cardinal will be back. “I would give anything to see him back on the Cardinals for one more season, especially with where we’re at with D-Hop (Deandre Hopkins), Kyler. I mean, it’s up to him though, he’s been in the game for a long period of time. Whatever he does I’m still going to support him and follow him.”

Phoenix Open Pro-Am

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald at the Annexus Pro-Am at the 2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. (Photo: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic via USA Today Network)

At the famed 16th hole, which has only one deck this year and will not be as rowdy with far fewer people in the stadium seats, Fitzgerald’s opening shot was deemed to be the closest to the flag of any player taking part.

Fans cheered him, chanted his name and implored him to come back. Fitzgerald signed a few autographs, posed for socially-distanced photos and made conversation with bystanders and his golf group.

“It’s always a fun time to come through that tunnel and see the support that this community gives to this event, which is magnificent,” Fitzgerald said of walking into No. 16.

Gilbert residents Jeremy Holmes and his young son Carter, who followed Fitzgerald around the course, also hope for a Fitzgerald return.

“I just hope he keeps playing. He’s my favorite player,” Carter said. “He’s just all around amazing, on and off the field.”

Even other athletes who played Wednesday offered thoughts on Fitzgerald. Nolan Arenado, the former Colorado Rockies All-Star third baseman now with the St. Louis Cardinals, said Fitzgerald should keep playing.

“He’s still good. There’s no reason to retire. Larry’s a cool dude, I’ve gotten to talk to him a little bit,” Arenado said. “He’s a good genuine dude and he’s still performing at a high level, so he needs to keep going.”

By senior