Golfer Turned Football Player

His best days in golf earned him a 8 to 10-handicap. So Tiger Woods has nothing to worry about when Mississippi State right offensive tackle Mark Melichar is on the golf course. But when he's on the football field he's definitely a guy who Woods, if he was a football player, would surely like to have as a teammate

Mark Melichar was a golfer long before he took up the game of football.

"When I was in middle school I was strictly on the golf team," said the 6-5, 295-pound redshirt sophomore. "I didn't play middle school football."

He explained why he had such an interest in golf.

"Golf was something that I felt I could learn when I was little and continue playing it the rest of my life," said Melichar.

But due to his size, it was only a matter of time before football would take precedence over golf.

"I started to grow and get bigger and I went out for football my ninth grade year," said Melichar, who also continued to play golf competitively through the 9th grade. "Once I got into football I really started to enjoy that. Then, I kind of focused on football after that."

But to this day, he still enjoys golf, more as a form of relaxation than as competition.

"I like to play golf every once in a while," said Melichar. "It gives me a chance to relax and get my mind off the school work and the workouts that I'm doing. It's nice to get out there and hit a couple of golf balls and relax."

He doesn't get as many chances to play as he would like, but he still finds time a couple of times a week.

"I try to play on Wednesday afternoons because the workouts are a little shorter on that day," said Melichar. "And on the weekends I'll go out to the university course or the Highlands and play a little bit."

Although it's hard to imagine that the two sports of football and golf have their similarities, Melichar sees them.

"I think both of them deal with your mindset," said Melichar. "If you hit a bad shot in golf you have to disregard that because you have another shot. It's like (MSU head) Coach (Sylvester) Croom said, 'one play, this play.' That's our motto. I think it goes hand in hand. You have one bad play, you have to shrug it off and not think about it because you have another opportunity with the next play to redeem yourself."

And he even believes golf helps him physically when it comes to football.

"I think golf is good for loosening you up and getting your flexibility going in your shoulders, your arms and your core," said Melichar.

But it won't be golf that gets him ready for the upcoming season. What he and his teammates are doing this summer will do that.

"Coach Croom met with us in the spring and told us the ballgames are won in the summer," said Melichar, who won the right tackle position during spring practice. "And I really have realized this summer that you can't waste a day. Either you get better or you get worse each day. And I felt like, so far, I have gotten better every day. I'm stronger than I have ever been and I am in the best shape of my life right now. I have more stamina. (MSU strength) Coach (Ben) Pollard and his staff have really done a great job."

Seeing those improvements make what most see as a difficult thing to do something that Melichar actually enjoys doing. Yes, I wrote enjoys. But it's the competitor in him that uses the word enjoy.

"I think everybody looks forward to these workouts every day," he said. "Sometimes it seems like a grind, but you have to get out there and recharge your batteries every day and get back after it.

"You can do that by asking yourself, 'did your competition get better today?' Think about it - there are 11 other teams that are probably looking forward to their workouts. You have to think that there is someone somewhere who is working harder than you and you are always trying to catch up and get ahead. And we just have to try to be better than them every day. You cannot waste a day out there."

And Melichar believes if they continue putting in the hard work, the results will come.

"The long hours and hard work that we are putting in now are going to pay off on Saturday in August, September and throughout the fall," he said.

And if he's correct, then another bowl game and even, dare I say it, a Southeastern Conference Championship could be a possibility for Melichar and his teammates. And that's something even Tiger Woods would be proud of.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by email at

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