Monday’s Genesis Open qualifier was packed with some real throwbacks. Mac O’Grady, golf’s favorite eccentric, is a force to be reckoned with.
If you don’t know old O’Grady, the guy is absolute bananas. Not to mention he is a Skip Bayless look-alike. Despite that, seeing him on a golf course isn’t a bad thing.
(Source: Golf Digest)
The man has had one hell of a career. O’Grady famously attended PGA qualifying school 17 times before earning his Tour card. Usually they say three times the charm, but not for Mac. Although Mac only won two PGA events, he played them right handed and putted left handed. He was so good at shooting lefty, he thought about making a go of it as an amateur. Why? We don’t know, but the real question is why not?
One of my personal favorite quotes from Mac comes from describing a wedge shot:
“A wedge shot isn’t just a wedge shot, but ‘a bird flying to the firmaments, outlined against an incandescent sky, beginning to fall, gently sashaying back to the earth.”
That quote came from an interview with Steve Wolf over at Sports Illustrated and shows a pinnacle Mac O’Grady ism. He also said he was retiring at the age of 38, but obviously he can’t put down the clubs, as he is now 66 years old.
Thomas Bonk from the Los Angeles Times once said that O’Grady tried to play in a tournament under two different names.
“O’Grady tried to qualify for the B.C. Open under the name Mac O’Grady II and was going to do it left handed. Again it seemed logical to O’Grady. He wanted to play with Mac O’Grady I, who could get in as [with his PGA Tour past champion status]. O’Grady played as a right hander, but wanted to enter under the second name as a left hander. The tour informed him he would have to choose one of his personalities and he stuck with the right handed version.”
At 66, O’Grady struggles a bit, shooting an 80 at Monday’s opening round. Honestly though, it’s nice to see the man back out on the course. You gotta root for the guy who treats a wedge shot like he’s at a Grateful Dead show. When all is said and done the game of golf benefits from fringe players like Mac O’Grady, or at least the fans do!