Years ago, before he began his career as a television golf
analyst, Gary McCord was introduced to his idol Ben Hogan while
Hogan was having his customary lunch at the Colonial Country
Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
"Tell me, Mr. McCord, what do you do?" Hogan asked.
McCord said he was a touring pro.
Hogan nodded. "How long have you been out there?"
"Seventeen years," replied McCord.
"Seventeen years," said Hogan, startled. "I must be getting out
of touch. Tell me, Mr. McCord, how many tournaments have you
"None," answered McCord.
"None?" said Hogan. "What the hell have you been doing out there?"
Mocking himself, McCord has automobile license plates that read
NO WINS, but he may have to change them now. Last week at the
Toshiba Senior Classic in Newport Beach, Calif., the
50-year-old, wisecracking CBS commentator with the
barbershop-quartet mustache finished the regulation 54 holes
tied with three other players, two of them already winners on
the Senior tour this year. He then battled through a sometimes
hilarious five-hole playoff to win his first event in 383
starts, regular and Senior. Hogan would be amused.
Onstage with McCord were former PGA winner Al Geiberger, whose
bogey on the final hole created the playoff, rookie Allen Doyle
and McCord's good buddy John Jacobs, another free spirit. On the
first playoff hole, a par-5, Jacobs chipped in for an eagle that
eliminated Doyle and Geiberger. McCord answered, making a testy
18-foot putt to tie.
"I've played with Gary enough to know he wouldn't make that putt
for a $180 Nassau," said Jacobs, "so I was sure he wouldn't make
it for $180,000."
McCord and Jacobs each made two pars before television got into
the act. When Jacobs drove into the trees on the fourth extra
hole, Andy North came over to Jacobs and his ball. "This," said
North, "is exactly the shot John Jacobs faces," the camera
showing the problem. Jacobs quipped that he hadn't faced such a
quandary in some time, and North in turn offered his assistance
and a pat on the back, to guffaws from the gallery.
Jacobs scrambled to a par. McCord, left with a four-footer for
the win, missed. Finally, on the fifth extra hole, the par-4
16th, McCord provided the punch line by holing a short putt for
a birdie and the win.
"I don't know what happened this week," he said afterward.
"Tiger Woods must have been channeling my body. I've been
spending a lot of time with David Duval lately, and he's told me
that whatever happens, you've just got to hang around and make a
nuisance of yourself and sooner or later you'll make some
birdies." --Walter Bingham
AUSSIE EYES DINAH SHORE
When Karrie Webb won last month's Australian Ladies Masters, her
26-under-par total broke the LPGA record by three strokes. Her
10-shot margin of victory was the biggest since Liselotte
Neumann won by 11 at the '96 Tournament of Champions.
Yet for all of Webb's dominance, the only two-time winner on the
tour this season is still 0 for the big ones heading into next
week's Nabisco Dinah Shore, the LPGA's first major of '99. Among
active players she has the most victories (11) without winning a
major, and as such is the anti-Nanci Bowen (one career win, the
'95 Dinah), the successor to Ayako Okamoto (17 wins, no majors)
and on track to break the record of Jane Blalock (27 wins, no
majors). Or so you might think--if you forget that Webb is only
"Winning a major is a career goal for me," Webb said last week
at the Welch's/Circle K Championship at Tucson, where she tied
for eighth. "If I don't do it this year, there's always the next."
Webb certainly looks ready. She's cut 1.69 putts per round off
her '98 average after a tip from putting poo-bah Scotty Cameron
in November. His suggestion: a cross-handed grip, which Webb
fine-tuned during a fruitful off-season. "For the first time, I
worked on my game," she says. "Usually I go home [to Australia]
and spend the winter visiting relatives and don't even touch a
"I've shocked myself. I've hit the ball this well, but I've never
made so many putts."
What do these players have in common?
They're the only ones to come from five or more shots behind on
Sunday to win on Tour in '99. Duval came from seven back at the
Hope, Elkington made up six shots at Doral, and Singh made up
five at last week's Honda Classic.
If you could win only one of the four men's majors, which would
U.S. Open 21%
British Open 9%
--Based on 781 responses to our informal survey
Next question: Is the Hale Irwin-Gil Morgan era over on the
Senior tour? To vote, go to www.cnnsi.com/golf.
Since the introduction of the Big Bertha in 1991, driving
distance has trumped accuracy off the tee. Here are the
percentages of the PGA Tour yearly purses won by the top 10 in
distance and the top 10 in accuracy.
'89 3.07% 6.29%
'90 6.79% 7.51%
'91 6.52% 6.08%
'92 7.00% 4.91%
'93 7.65% 5.98%
'94 10.05% 4.83%
'95 7.01% 5.08%
'96 10.95% 5.25%
'97 11.01% 7.42%
'98 10.14% 6.69%
Carlton Forrester, Gainesville, Ga.
Stacy Prammanasudh, Enid, Okla.
Forrester, a junior at Georgia Tech, and Prammanasudh, a
freshman at Tulsa, were voted the Rolex college golfers of the
month for February. Forrester helped lead the Yellow Jackets to
a 17-shot victory at the Big Island Intercollegiate in Hawaii by
tying teammate Matt Kuchar for medalist honors. Two weeks later
Forrester placed sixth at the Puerto Rico Classic. Prammanasudh,
the country's top-ranked female collegian, had two runner-up
finishes last month, at the TRW Regional Challenge in Palos
Verdes, Calif., and at the Arizona Invitational in Tucson. In
six rounds this spring she has a 71.17 scoring average for the
Kristi Larsen, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Kristi, 16, a junior at Chaparral High, won the Junior Golf
Association of Arizona's Thunderbird Invitational at Papago G.C.
in Phoenix, shooting a three-over 147 to beat Nicole Wagner by
four shots. Last year Kristi won the Class 4A high school
championship and the Phoenix Junior City Championship.