History reigns at Western Am

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Talk about a blast from the past.

That’s what I encountered while walking through the Conway Farms Golf Club clubhouse during the first round Tuesday in the 107th Western Amateur Championship.

There, sitting at a table in the lunch area, sat Mark McCumber and his son Tyler.

It has to be 15 or so years since I last saw the elder McCumber and watched him play as a regular performer on the PGA Tour. In fact, I first met Mark back in the 1970s at the Pensacola Open while working at the daily newspaper in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

It was fun spending some time chatting and catching up on things. Mark is in the process of completing a renovation to a course in West Palm Beach, Fla.

This week, though, his job description is simple – caddying for Tyler, who will be a freshman this fall at Florida, Mark’s alma mater.

“Well, I haven’t been fired yet,” Mark said with a laugh. “So I guess that’s a good thing. However, the way Tyler’s been hitting it off the tee, I might be better off being a forecaddie for him.

“But this is a great golf course and a tough one,” he said. “You really have to keep it in play and Tyler struggled (7-over-par 78) with that today. Hopefully, we’ll come back tomorrow and get it together.”

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