RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. (AP) — Drew Brees is enjoying the perks of being the Super Bowl MVP.
The New Orleans Saints quarterback played in a pro-am with Jack Nicklaus. He was invited to play with Arnold Palmer but had to pass because he was overseas on his fifth USO tour. He's been invited to play in a pro-am before the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Brees will also host the Cox Communications Championship charity golf tournament in May at Morgan Run in this upscale enclave near San Diego, with some of the proceeds going to the Brees Dream Foundation to fund cancer research. He was named host before leading the Saints to their Super Bowl win against the Indianapolis Colts.
"I really haven't played a whole lot, not as much as I would have liked," Brees said during a news conference Tuesday. "But I plan on winning my own tournament now. I'm not making any guarantees for this year but at some point I will win my tournament."
Brees played in the pro-am before the Honda Classic in early March with Nicklaus, Dan Marino and Kenny G.
"It actually went really well considering I hadn't picked up a golf club in seven months," he said. "It was the most nerve-racking thing ever. I don't think any of us as athletes ever get comfortable with this, especially because we are not really golfers — we think we are — is lining up on that first tee, with people lining the fairway and you say, 'Just don't hit anyone in the head.'
"So the first tee they call Jack and he strikes one right down the middle with his driver. Dan Marino is next and he drives it down the middle and Kenny G, driver. I have a 3-wood in my hand because it is really a 3-wood hole, it's a par 4. But they all hit drivers so that means I've got to hit driver and it's not a driver hole. My confidence level is already low but I take the driver and strike it down the middle and I birdied 18. So it doesn't matter what happened in between."
He was invited to play with Palmer at Bay Hill but was on a USO tour to Turkey, Africa and Dubai.
"You figure those are two pretty neat opportunities, so this Super Bowl thing has its perks," Brees said.
Brees has kept his ties to San Diego despite being unceremoniously dumped by the Chargers after suffering a shoulder injury in the final game of the 2005 season.
"At the time I thought it was the worst thing that ever could have happened to me," Brees said. "Now I look back and say it's the best thing that ever happened to me."
Brees said he's releasing a book on July 6, called "Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity." He described it as a self-help, motivational book that will touch on him joining the Saints six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, as well as his final two seasons in San Diego.
After Brees struggled in 2003, the Chargers obtained Philip Rivers and a handful of picks for Eli Manning in a 2004 draft day trade with the New York Giants. Brees led the Chargers to the playoffs in 2004, but they missed the playoffs the next year and Brees was injured in the final game. General manager A.J. Smith kept Rivers and let Brees leave as a free agent.
Will the book have an I-told-you-so feel? "There would be too many people to tell that to," Brees said.
"One of the great moments of my life will be holding my son up there on the trophy stand after the Super Bowl game," he said. "That is where you really reflect on the journey, and what it took to get there and who was a part of that with you, and you try to just be in the moment. When I was in that moment, I was sitting there thinking about not the people that doubted me along the way but the people that believed in me along the way. Those are the people that deserve the credit."
Brees also said he thinks friend and former Chargers teammate LaDainian Tomlinson, released by San Diego in February, will do well with the New York Jets.
"I think he ended up in a great place, probably the perfect place for him," Brees said. "He's with Brian Schottenheimer, who's very familiar with him and his strengths, and in a very similar system to what he ran here when he was breaking all the records."
Brees thinks Tomlinson has plenty left, and that going to a team like the Jets "will kind of rejuvenate him."
While Brees was leading the Saints on their Super Bowl run, the Chargers imploded in a playoff loss to the Jets.
Somehow, ex-Chargers seem to find success elsewhere. Star safety Rodney Harrison won two Super Bowl rings with New England, linebacker Junior Seau came close with the Patriots and then Brees led the Saints to the title.
"We all just landed in some great opportunities," Brees said.