When the Senior PGA tour was fairly new John Brodie played on the tour. The former NFL quarterback had been a scratch golfer who qualified for the senior tour and went on to win 1 time in 7 years on that tour.
Rick Rhoden, a former MLB pitcher, played on the senior tour for 5 years and had 5 top 10 finishes.
The modest success of guys like Brodie or Rhoden makes the senior tour seem viable if you're a really good golfer and the other pros are far past their prime (with alloy hips and knees). On the other hand it is the height of ego and foolishness for 40+ former pro ahtletes to think they can compete with pros 20 years their junior on the Nationwide tour.
The Nationwide tour is golf's version of AAA baseball. Those guys are really good, they're only one step away from the major leagues. Many of the players on the Nationwide tour are former PGA players who lost their tour cards and some of those guys even had wins on the PGA tour.
Furthermore, there are other mini tours around the world with a lot of scratch (or better) golfers (the Hooters tour, the Pepsi tour, the various tours in Asian countries). Even on my home course I can walk out and find guys who are college age who regularly shoot below par. And of course most club pros are scratch or better.
So what do guys like John Smoltz or Jerry Rice think qualifies them to play at the Nationwide level? Jerry Rice's first try resulted in scores of 83-76, which meant he missed the cut by a margin wider than Rosie O'Donnell's waist size. Next time out he shot 92. That's not a typo, 92! Ninety-freakin-two. Can you imagine what his playing partners were thinking watching this debacle? Probably something like, "Another 5 strokes by this guy and it'll be my turn to hit, I should get strokes shaved for having to wait on this guy."
Now it's John Smoltz. He recently played the Nationwide tour and shot 84-87. He missed the cut by 27 strokes. Even if the leader had drowned a Bud 20 ouncer on every par 3, he still would've beaten Smoltz by a dozen strokes.
The reality is you or I could possibly shoot scores like Rice or Smoltz. The difference, we're not stars from other sports so no one would allow us to stink up their tournament. But Smoltz and Rice did just that, they stunk up the place. They proved they have no business trying to play with AAA golfers, anymore than Fred Couples could hit a AAA slider.
Jerry, John, you were great athletes in your respective sports (although the 90's Braves were the greatest underacheivers of all time) and you do belong on the celebrity tour (where Chris Webber shot 100+ at Edgewood), but leave the real tour to real pros.