Millionaire? McNealy finds dad worth much more
PINEHURST, N.C. – Maverick McNealy remembers bounding outside into his back yard as a youngster, but not to cannonball into a pool or help his mom pick the weeds.
No, it was his Crazy Daisy that enamored him.
The water-spouting apparatus gave him built-in target practice as he learned the game of golf. He'd spend hours simply playing – but with no pressure to become the next Tiger Woods.
As the 18-year-old Stanford sophomore took a shuttle back from the ninth green at the end of his Tuesday practice round at the U.S. Open, McNealy cracked a smile from the back seat and nodded at his father.
"Really, he taught me to love the game. He taught me everything."
That father? That'd be Scott McNealy, the millionaire co-founder of Sun Microsystems and current co-founder of Wayin. He's also carrying Maverick's bag this week at Pinehurst No. 2.
"I taught him until he started to kick my butt."
PHOTOS: 2014 U.S. Open (Tuesday)
Here are some images from Tuesday's practice round for the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, N.C.
Scott is a former college golfer at Harvard, where he earned his undergraduate degree, "at my peak, I was a plus-2 (handicap). But then I got old. I had four kids. A job . . ."
Despite the riches he struck in the business world, the job he reveres the most is being a father to his four sons – Maverick, Dakota, Colt and Scout.
Maverick is the oldest in the group and just completed an impressive freshman campaign at Stanford, making the Pac-12 All-Freshman team in helping the Cardinal to the semifinals at the NCAA Championship in late May.
Maverick's quick contribution to the team came as no surprise to anyone around him.
"He was born 40," said Scott, referring to Maverick's incredibly mature approach to life.
"He's mature beyond his years. He's a quick learner," said Stanford coach Conrad Ray. "I am looking forward to seeing his game at Pinehurst. It'll be amazing to see how far he has come in the last 18-20 months.
"I think he had a chance to learn from two of the best in (teammates) Patrick (Rodgers) and Cameron (Wilson). He took advantage of that opportunity."
Maverick – who will tee off with Smylie Kaufman and Brandon McIver at 8:46 a.m. Thursday – earned a spot in the U.S. Open through the Daly City, Calif., sectional qualifier, with his dad toting his bag around Lake Merced GC. And while being a caddie is only a recent development, Scott is used to the job of following in Maverick's footsteps – a departure from most golf dads.
"I've been caddying for him – carrying car seats, luggage, food, his golf bag – since he was 1 years old," said Scott. "It just hasn't always been a golf bag.
"I am just along for the ride. My job is pretty simple: show up, shut up and keep up."
Keeping up hasn't been a problem for Maverick in taking on Stanford's rigorous academics, a challenge that he enjoys instead of laments. Scott earned his MBA from Stanford, while his wife, Susan, received her undergraduate degree from the school in 1980.
"If you are going to go to a place like Stanford, you might as well make the most of your educational opportunities," said Maverick, who will major in Management Science (an engineering business degree) and minor in Computer Science.
Maverick says he is fully committed to finishing all four years at Stanford, bucking a recent trend of many of college golf's best opting to go pro before finishing their degrees.
"First order of business is to get my degree, something that will serve me well down the road," said Maverick, also an accomplished hockey player throughout his childhood.
"Don't forget winning an NCAA Championship," Scott quipped.
"Yes, we can't forget about that. We were so close. We need to make that happen," Maverick answered.
While Scott supports Maverick's current path of using his skills on the course to open new doors, he has focused on making sure that his eldest son knows that the game of golf is just that – a game.
"It is fun. It is entertainment. It is challenging. But Maverick has much more to accomplish than just chasing a white ball around. He aspires to do more than that," said Scott.
"I don't think about him as a great golfer or good student. I think of him as there is hope for the leadership of our country or our businesses when you have young men like him."
Maybe those leaders need a Crazy Daisy in their backyards – there is living proof that it might just have some magical powers.