Before Mark O’Meara became a two-time major champion, he was a U.S. Amateur winner who commanded respect.
Well, not from everybody…
O’Meara is the next subject on “Feherty,” the one-on-one interview show with golfer turned broadcaster David Feherty. The O’Meara episode premieres on Golf Channel tonight at 9 p.m. ET.
In an exclusive clip from the interview, O’Meara divulges his experience at the 1980 U.S. Open. As the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, O’Meara was paired with the defending U.S. Open champion – Hale Irwin.
How’d that go? O’Meara shot 79-77 to miss the cut but decided near the end of his second round to saddle up to Irwin. O’Meara told Irwin that he hoped his own poor play hadn’t slowed the reigning U.S. Open champ down.
Irwin’s reaction was blunt, and priceless.
“(Hale) goes ‘First of all, I could care less how you play. Second of all, I hope you play like crap, the sooner you learn that, the better off you’ll be,'” O’Meara told Feherty. “He might not have used those same words, but very similar to that.”
We’re guessing any of O’Meara’s remaining naivete evaporated in that moment.
O’Meara’s parents were there for the action at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. O’Meara’s father commented that watching from a distance as Irwin, an eventual three-time U.S. Open champion, consoled his son was pretty special.
That notion was quickly disavowed.
“I said, ‘Dad, he told me he didn’t give a crap about me and he hoped that I played terrible,’ ” O’Meara said, with a smile.
Watch the full clip below: