Heartache, jubilation at Q-School final
When PGA Tour Q-School begins Wednesday, expect there to be stories of heartache and jubilation at golf’s ultimate pressure-cooker. My favorite story involves Mac O’Grady, and comes courtesy of Gary McCord.
McCord played a major role in rallying support for the Tour’s move in 1983 to the current top 125 All-Exempt Tour. Previously, the magic number was top 60. In some sort of poetic justice, McCord lost his card by a matter of a few thousand dollars and had to go back to Q-School, held at TPC Sawgrass and Sawgrass CC in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., in late 1982.
McCord made it. So did O’Grady, who, despite opening with rounds of 79-76, earned his card for the first time in 17 attempts. Recounting the story to me earlier this year, McCord said, “I invited him to dinner. I said, ‘Let’s go celebrate.’ He said, ‘No, I’ve got something to do.’ ”
Months passed and McCord sees O’Grady and, out of curiosity, asked him what he did that night after making his card at last.
“He told me he went down to the sporting goods store and bought 17 Louisville Slugger baseball bats, got a Sharpie, and wrote the date and location of every time he failed (Q-School), then waited until dark and went behind the second green at the TPC and broke all 17 of those bats against a pine tree,” McCord recalled. “He said, ‘I got rid of the demons.’ I just went ‘OK.’ Whether he did it or not, I don’t know. But I bet he probably did.”
Q-School: It will mess with your head.