49ers' Smith among top QBs at Tahoe golf event

Published: Friday, Jul. 6, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 7C

Alex Smith will be one of several NFL quarterbacks competing in the American Century Championship golf event at Lake Tahoe later this month. And before you ask the question, the answer's no – Jim Harbaugh will not serve as his caddie.

Smith, of course, caddied for the 49ers' coach when Harbaugh played in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. That scenario reinforced the notion that re-signing Smith, who at the time was scheduled to become a free agent, was a formality for Harbaugh and the 49ers.

It turned out to be anything but. The 49ers and Smith were slow to agree to a deal. And before they did, the 49ers pursued Peyton Manning, who eventually signed with the Denver Broncos.

In a conference call Thursday, Smith reiterated that there were no hard feelings between him and Harbaugh. But he did allow that the episode was "a little awkward" and will serve as motivation.

"Certainly there are a lot of forms of motivation," said Smith, who signed a three-year deal with the 49ers. "I guess that (qualifies as) a little bit as far as motivation."

Smith said he didn't ask Harbaugh, who is back from a recent home-building mission in Peru, to caddie for him. Harbaugh and his staff will be preparing for training camp at the time.

During the annual golf tournament, Smith will be reunited with college coach Urban Meyer, who takes over at Ohio State this year. Asked about the similarities between Meyer and Harbaugh, Smith cited the intensity of practices at Utah and with the 49ers, as well as the coaches' selflessness.

"The 'team-first' mentality is constantly being preached," Smith said. "And in both circumstances, I feel that everybody really bought in."

The American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course will be held July 20-22 and televised live nationally (NBC) on the final two days. Other quarterbacks competing will include Carson Palmer (Raiders), Tony Romo (Cowboys) and Aaron Rodgers (Packers).

The 49ers open minicamp July 26. Smith and the other quarterbacks are expected to join the rookies earlier in the week.

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Read more articles by Matthew Barrows

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