August 10, 1997

I will bet twenty thousand pounds, against anyone who wishes,
that I will make the tour of the world in eighty days or less.

Around the World in Eighty Days

The Phileas Fogg of golf, by contrast, limits his bets to $2
Nassaus. He travels not by steamship and hot-air balloon but by
commercial airline and an old black Cadillac. In fact, compared
with Jules Verne's intrepid Brit, Bob McCoy is something of a
slacker. He took 100 days to circle the globe from his home in
Springfield, N.J., finishing on Monday, but along the way he
accomplished a singular feat--he played the world's top 100
courses in just as many days.

"Some people think I'm nuts," said the 58-year-old McCoy, a
consultant and former Wall Street analyst, after his 50,000-mile
journey. Indeed, he is one of only five people to have completed
the Golf magazine World 100. He's the first person even to
attempt the 100 in 100, to have the chutzpah to put his faith in
oft-delayed airlines, capricious weather and his own health.
"One Japanese guy described it as a kamikaze trip," McCoy says
with pride.

On June 15, for example, after finishing a morning round at
Royal Portrush (site of the recent Senior British Open in
Portrush, Northern Ireland), McCoy drove the 50 miles to
Belfast, took the four-hour ferry across the Irish Sea to
Scotland, rented a car and arrived at Turnberry with just enough
time to complete his round before the sun set at 10:30 p.m. As a
postscript to this midsummer night's dream, he watched the final
round of the U.S. Open after retiring to his room at a Turnberry

There were other highlights during McCoy's crusade, from his
eagle 2 at Royal Liverpool to his low round, a 74 at Black
Diamond Ranch in Lecanto, Fla., to simply playing Pebble Beach,
his favorite course. During one free afternoon in Australia,
McCoy came a fraction of an inch away from holing his tee shot
on a par-3 at Melbourne's Capital Club, a superexclusive layout
that has not yet cracked the World 100. Had he made a hole in
one, McCoy later learned, sirens would have sounded and he would
have won a million Australian dollars ($746,700) from an
adjacent casino.

Not that he needs the money. McCoy, who owns a small Canadian
island and has a building at Harvard named after him, concocted
the idea for his $35,000 adventure in 1988 while knocking off
the final courses in Japan for his lifetime World 100. When a
journalist there asked him what he would do for an encore, he
replied, without blinking, "I'll do them in 100 days." Now that
the voyage is complete, he confesses that there will be no
encores this time. "I might have created a monster," says McCoy,
who plans to write a book on the course architecture of the
World 100. "I know someone will want to do this in fewer than
100 days, so I set up some ground rules: You have to start from
your official place of residence, fly commercially, do all your
own driving and walk all 1,800 holes."

One unwitting steward at the TPC at Sawgrass, in Ponte Vedra
Beach, Fla., didn't understand the last rule and threatened to
throw McCoy off the course when he spied him walking and not
riding in a cart. Surprisingly, that was one of McCoy's few
close calls. No flights were missed and no lightning stopped
him, although he slogged through the same interminable British
showers that delayed Wimbledon last month.

What's more, McCoy's stamina was remarkable, even by the
standards of the fictitious Fogg from London. "People wondered
if I got tired, but every day I got up and played one of the
world's best courses with nice people," says McCoy, who had
played 105 rounds in 100 days by the time he left the 18th green
at Merion on Monday. "I don't know if it was adrenaline, but I
felt fine. I didn't want this thing to end."

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN F. GRIESHOP [Bob McCoy] COLOR ILLUSTRATION: ILLUSTRATION BY VICTOR JUHASZ [Drawing of distorted map of world resembling golf course with flags showing locations of courses]