All kidding aside, Gary McCord cared deeply about his debut as a Senior player. The 50-year-old CBS golf analyst showed plenty of game at the U.S. Senior Open until a final-round 78 dropped him to 33rd place.
"I've got a lot of ring rust, most of it mental," he said, "but I think I can compete out here." McCord was less than competitive on the PGA Tour, which he played from 1973 to '86 without a victory. He felt some of the old desperation at Riviera. "There's still a ball, a tee and a bunch of evil. You fight your wars alone," he said. "At least now I have a couple bullets in my gun." Bullet No. 1 is money. McCord has his TV work and a movie deal to help make a film about the gambler Titanic Thompson. Bullet No. 2 is faith in his mechanics. After leaving the Tour, he learned a new swing from Mac O'Grady. "I got a template from Mac, and my game is good enough for the Seniors," says McCord. "I'm long enough, got a good short game-it's all there. Embarrassment is not in the scenario."
McCord hopes to play a dozen Senior events a year. "This game is my love, but I have never done it well," he says. "I'd like to do it well this time."
The Green at Concrete Canyon
"I'm the only golf architect in Manhattan," says Ron Cutlip. "That means I have to take risks." The 38-year-old designer recently finished two Ohio courses, Briar Hill in Millersburg and Crystal Springs in Hopewell, but longed to work closer to home. He got his wish when David Murbach, director of the annual Rockefeller Center Flower and Garden Show, asked him to build a putting green amid the skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan. The result, patterned on the Road Hole at St. Andrews and the 16th at Augusta National, cost $62,000, "but it was worth it," says Cutlip, who loved looking up from his handiwork to see office workers craning to watch the action. "Security guards were switching their cameras around so they could see, too. They said it was like watching the Masters."
Gotham's green will be gone with the flora after the show ends this week, but Cutlip hopes to bring something bigger and better to Rock Center next summer, maybe even a full-length par-3 hole. "You can't beat the location. My wife, Cheryl, works right over there," he says, nodding toward Radio City Music Hall. "She's a Rockette."
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