NASSAU, Bahamas — The tee shot was launched at the perfect trajectory with a slight draw, landing softly well down the right side of the fairway on the Albany Golf Course 18th hole Wednesday.
If you didn’t know any better, you would have thought the shot was struck by the pro in the pro-am group playing in advance of this week’s Hero World Challenge, which begins Thursday.
But the tee shot did not come off the Cobra driver of Rickie Fowler. The author of that majestic tee shot was Derek Jeter. And he was quite pleased with himself, albeit with a touch of self-deprecation.
“I hit one good drive all day,’’ Jeter told The Post, during the back nine of a pro-am round Wednesday in which he was partnered with Fowler and former Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez. This was just two days after Jeter and Martinez played nine holes with tournament host Tiger Woods and Justin Rose.
Jeter, as Yankees fans know well, is not one to boast about himself — or offer much of anything to the public when it comes to his innermost thoughts.
Asked if there is any correlation to flushing a drive down the fairway and the feeling of hitting a home run, Jeter said, “Nah … nobody’s watching out here. It’s hard to compare, but you do feel good about it. Let’s say it’s like a spring-training home run.’’
That Jeter is a 10 handicap is no small feat because he didn’t pick the game up until after he retired two years ago. He and Martinez are members at Old Memorial Golf Club in Tampa, Fla., where both live.
Martinez, who took up the game 10 years ago when he retired, also is a 10 handicap, but he can feel Jeter gaining on him.
“He got really good at this game really fast,’’ Martinez said. “He’s going to be a good player because he works at it and he loves it.’’
It was the first time Woods played with Jeter — despite that fact the two have been friends since the mid-’90s, when both were budding young stars in their respective sports. Woods said he has noticed Jeter’s thirst for the game.
“Now that he’s out of baseball, he’s addicted to playing golf,’’ Woods said. “I had first heard from some of the guys I know who have played with him [and] he slashed it around. But now he’s focused. He likes to practice. He likes to play. He tries to get better.
“You can tell he’s analyzing, he’s watching, he’s asking questions. He asked me a bunch of technical questions about the game. I could hear him pick the brain over there with Rosie [Justin Rose]. He wants to know. He’s one of the best athletes who ever lived. He wants to learn. He asks the right questions.”
Jeter copped to his addiction to the game, but called it “probably the most frustrating thing I’ve done, because the ball’s not moving, man, [and] you should be able to hit it.’’
“I can hit it, it just doesn’t go where I want it to go,’’ Jeter said. “So yeah, I guess I’m addicted to improve, that’s the best way to put it.”
His frequent matches with Martinez at the club — at least in a small way — are satisfying his lust for the competition he misses now that he is retired.
“You’ve got to find something that sort of quenches that competitive thirst after you retire,” Jeter said.
Playing alongside the likes of Woods and Fowler has opened Jeter’s eyes to just how good these guys are at their craft — much the way a Woods or Fowler would realize how out of their element they are if they took batting practice off live major league pitching.
“You see how good these guys really are,’’ Jeter said. “Your best shot is their worst shot. You watch these pros play and then you hear guys say, ‘I’m a 2 or 3 handicap,’ and you’re like, ‘No you’re not.’ ’’
For more than a decade, Jeter has hosted a golf tournament to benefit his Turn 2 Foundation, but he always would do no more than hit one shot with each group. Now he can’t get enough.
“I play a lot when I’m home, but my problem is when I travel, I don’t play,’’ Jeter said. “I’ll go a couple weeks without playing and then you come back home and it’s like starting all over again. This is a game you should not start at 40.’’
Jeter, who is 42, said of seeing Woods try to resurrect his ailing career at nearly age 41 that it was “good to see him back and good to see him healthy,’’ adding, “Golf is more interesting when he’s playing.’’