Well, like I Said, It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over…

by Scott McNealy

So, this is cut day.  Go low or go home.  Only the fittest survive.  No losers allowed on Sunday.  Top 65 pros and ties.  Top 25 ProAm teams.  These are the survivors.

The cut for the pros was looking like 4 or 5.  For the ProAm, it is usually around 18.  Maverick starts the day even.  I start the day with a big omelette, some sausage, bacon, fruit, and a smoothie in player dining.  Team Mav starts the day at 10 under. Not an easy task for Maverick, seems monumentally huge for the Team.  I only get eight strokes.  And I am a really great blogger, not so good golfer….

Anyway, I am pure on the range again. We head over to the first tee.  Maverick hooks it into the tundra left.  I sky it high right, skank a 3w. Hit a lob way short, three putt.  Double bogey with a stroke.  I wipe the barf off my shoes as Maverick just misses his par putt. I am thinking all about the drive tomorrow morning.

Well, I was daydreaming up a bit early.  Maverick birdies three of the next four holes.  Maybe there is hope?  Hole six is a not too long par 5 and I get a stroke.  My chance to contribute.

I hit a total yip hack slice high ugly elephants butt (high and stinks) wayyyyy right.  OB.  I have played this course for 20 years as a member.  Never hit one OB.  Never.  Not in recorded history.  Maverick gets a par. 

And pars the tough par three. 

I finally help by three putting on eight for a bogey with a stroke as Maverick gets a bad lie in the green side trap. 

Great par by Maverick on nine.  He is one under.  Nearing the cut line.  Team is 11 under and treading water.  Cuz I have been birdie free and no pars on my four stroke holes.  Trump would say “You’re Fired!”

As we hit the tenth hole, I cheered Maverick on, said go get em, give it your best nine ever.  You can do it.  His caddie came by with the message that Maverick does not want any rah rah stuff.   Translation:  Be quiet Dad, I got this.  Message received.  I spent rest of the round talking to Susan, my caddie, muttering expletives deleted under my breath after most shots, and quietly saying “Nice shot” to Maverick on numerous occasions.

Maverick birdies 10.  Hits it to about four feet on par three 11.  I hit it close too but missed my putt.  No problem, Maverick is deadly from his distance.  Not this time.  The ball wiggles on a bumpy green and lips out.  Par. 

Does Maverick get upset?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  But he birdies the next two holes and is now inside the cut line at four under.  And the team is making a run at 15 under.  With five holes to go.

I get my hopes up about the team and am hoping that Maverick can keep it going as the wind picks up to about a three club wind.  It is cool and gusty. 

Maverick makes a good two putt par on the par three.  But the next hole is a long dogleg left into the wind towards the ocean.  Brutal.  I get a stroke.  Didn’t matter.  I am not going to say anymore than that.  Maverick hits a monster drive into a left to right wind.  He has an 8 iron in from 140 yards or so.  He normally hits it about 160 I am guessing.  He hits it right at the front pin.  Looking good.  But the ball hits hammered by the wind, balloons straight up and was probably coming down towards us when it landed in the front trap.  Crap. Well, another great up and down for Maverick but a lost birdie opportunity to Team Maverick. 

Down wind now on a par 5.  No problem. Maverick hits an iron and maybe a seven iron on the par 5.  Eagle putt finishes a foot short.  Tap in birdie.   I am seriously thinking we could make it at the team level.  I have a stroke on 17.  And 18 is reachable for me in two so we could end up with two birdie putts on 18 to make the cut line.

Well, Maverick makes a brilliant sand save for par on 17.  All I need to do is par this downwind hole and we have a chance on 18. 

I hit a good drive.  But just a bit right.   Into a waste area.  Not a problem.  A four iron to the middle of the green and we are golden.  Except I hit about eight inches behind the ball and chunk it to a hundred yards.  No problem, I got this.  Hit my low-flighted pitching wedge perfect.  Super nippy.  Right at it.  I am thinking this could go in. But it had too much spin and the green was too soft.  For once, I had pro spin and the ball is twenty feet short of the pin.  No problem, I got this.  Until I missed the putt and realized my tournament was over.

Anyway, just to seal the deal, I hit my last drive so far right that into the jungle that the marshalls just said it was gone.  Took my glove off, putt my tees away, and actually felt a bit of relief.  Lots of memories.  Plenty.  Didn’t need anymore.

Maverick had a routine par and moved up to 32nd.  Two stokes out of 15th place.  Love his chances to move up tomorrow. And excited to be on the other side of the ropes where I belong.

So grateful that he let me play along side him.  What a memory of seeing him make his ninth straight cut and shot his 24th straight par or better round.  I believe this round was in the top five or so rounds of the day.  His two brothers, Dakota and Colt, his grandpa and grandma, and Mom and Dad all got to see him.  As did his girlfriend.  And many other buddies. 

We will all be there tomorrow.  And I can be more rah rah from the stands.  Cant help myself.

Love my boys to death.  I am sure all you dads out there understand.

Scott

Only Took ’til Tuesday to Miss My First Blog Deadline

by Scott McNealy

Sorry this is a little late hitting the web.  It as a full day Tuesday.  Slept in til 6am, did email that I had ignored since getting to Pebble Beach and then hit player dining for breakfast with Susan.  She had some serious work to do at the Spa and left me at Monterey Peninsula Country Club mid morning to work on my game and wait for Maverick to play an afternoon practice round.

I was minding my own business, searching for that game that has eluded me for about twenty years.  The MPCC range is one of the prettiest and nicest ranges in the business.  But right away I hear some serious excavation going on behind me.  Some guy with a Dallas National bag is attacking what must be his 10th bucket of balls.  I have never seen a deeper, broader and wider divot pattern in my life.  The pile of loose divots in front of him looked like a dirt and grass version of the one of the pyramids.  
This is what it looked like after. 

Serious Divot Action!
“I have never seen a deeper, broader and wider divot pattern in my life!”

He actually moved from his first stall to another as he was at risk of turning an ankle by swinging and falling into one of his gouges.  This guy was a machine.  Part excavator, part backhoe, part bulldozer.  Should be sponsored by Caterpillar.  

The range guys were laughing, shaking their head, telling him to keep it near the stall markers as there were still five more days of range use ahead.

Later in the pro shop, someone had ordered some new sod and let the pro at Dallas National know that their earth mover was spotted here today. Personally, I was impressed by this old guy.  I would be in traction if I had to move that much dirt with a golf club.

I hit too many balls myself though.  Worked on my skulls and chunk chips for an hour.  Putted for a while and virtually eliminated most of my four putts.   Maverick shows up after an all morning photo shoot for Cisco.   Said he was posing with some robot that could stripe a golf ball like nobody’s business.  

Wonderful afternoon of beautiful and quiet golf at one of the most amazing courses in the world.  Three and half hours of leisurely play and practice with just me and my son and our caddies.  Plus Hunter Stewart, a former Walker Cup mate of Mavericks who does some statistical course management work for Maverick.  TeamMaverick is an amazing group. Hunter is a fun but valuable secret weapon.  

The mind wanders wondering what that leaderboard will say this week.  Whales are breaching in the background.

Finished at 5pm.  Still desperately seeking my first birdie since arriving in Pebble Beach.  Raced to Player Hospitality to the Pairings Party.  Maverick is confirmed as my partner.  Bad news is that I am only getting 8 strokes.  I am a 10.0 index.  But the guys who run the show (and do a great job of it almost all of the time except this) decided I am too good to get 10 strokes. Note to world: a big time CEO who is a 9.8 told me he is getting 12 strokes!  Fake Handicaps.  Russian collusion. Iowa ballot issues abound.  Oh well.  One official did say I was dinged cuz I have a great pro.  Good point.  Our playing partners for the first three rounds are Seamus Power and Mike Weeks.

Thursday 8:33 am Pebble Beach
Friday      10:12 am Spyglass Hill
Saturday  9:17 am MPCC

Should be fun.  So, after the pairings party, Susan got invited by former 49er standout and super successful VC Harris Barton to THE party of the week at the Beach and Tennis Club.  Harris relented and said she could bring me.  Food out of sight great.  Country band playing my personal playlist or so it seemed.  And stars galore mingling everywhere.

Some of the attendees:

Alex Murray.  Coached my four boys all through high school and beyond.  Coached Maverick to number one amateur in the world.  Great guy.  Great friend.  Great family man. Working with at least half the amateur field this week plus Rod Pampling.
Very gracious of Sir Nick Faldo.  He really didn’t need me going all paparazzi on him.  Saw him on the range.  He is a very big guy and still hits it great.

One of my favorite CEOs, John Chen. Still at it while I am reduced to a part-time blogger. Running Blackberry. We first got to know each other when he ran Sybase.
Here is my buddy Joe Kernen.  He is broadcasting Squawk Box from the Lodge this week.  Wants me on at 3am CA time Friday.  What the heck. I am up worrying about my game all night anyway. Why not go on national TV and rant about big government while I am up!

Here is Patrick Rogers.  He mentored Maverick on the Stanford golf team when Maverick was a young and wide eyed freshman.  Expect to see him do well this week as his game is trending nicely and fresh off his marriage to Jade.
Another of the many superstar CEOs.  Aneel Bhusri of Workday.  And a huge supporter of golf and the many charities that the PGA Tour supports. Sorry my arm is not long enough for good selfies…
Last and not least, Larry Fitzgerald who won the ProAm amateur event two years ago.  So nice and respectful.  Kept calling me Mr. McNealy.  This guy is built.  I am glad my boys didn’t play football.  Yikes.  He is getting eight strokes too.  Not fair.  He is not even forty years old.  He could throw me farther than I can hit a ball.  This is Susan and I posing with him.  My buddy Brian Swette accidentally cut me out of the picture.  Susan seems ok with it.  You can see my right shoulder with his arm behind me on the right part of the picture if you look closely.  Really.  Thats me.

So, after way too much fun, we left the Beach Club.  But the Tap Room was on the way home.  One glass of champagne and a scoop of vanilla with chocolate sauce later, we left a roaring Tap Room and went home.  Up early to write this blog.  And looking forward to a round of golf with the CEO of KPMG this am.  


I am sooooo exhausted already…  
Scott

P.S. Get your pledges in now so you can get in on the Birdies fun at the AT&T ProAm!

Monday, Toys, Practice, Opening Party

by Scott McNealy

The big rule for the week:  Get your rest and stay off your feet.  So, I made sure to finish  and submit my blog to the lawyers and censors last night right before leaving Maverick at his grandparents house.  

Problem:  Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch is on the way back to Pebble Beach.  Somehow, the autonomous driving feature of Susan’s all black, very unladylike Dodge Charger Daytona took over and we ended up parked right outside the bar on karaoke night.  Since we were already there, we went in for a night cap.  Great scene.  I felt young again.  Singing was awesome.  Some guy had to be a pro.  Nailed “Unchained Melody.”  Of course, Susan and I ended up dancing to it.  My boys would call it groping.    Sorry, no pictures.

Anyway, we did make it home not too late.

Woke up at 5:40am.  Swing slow, full turn, relax forearms, load at top, use lower body to start downswing, drive right shoulder through the ball, full finish on balance, don’t throw a fit or your club.  Can’t remember the other swing keys.  Have to remember all of it in 43 nanoseconds as that is the elapsed time of the whole swing.  Couldn’t fall back asleep.

Put every bit of warm weather gear I had on as it was windy and 39 degrees on the way to the course.  Checked in.  Got lot of great stuff as tee prizes.  Susan got two jackets, a sweater, golf top, sweatshirt, and other stuff with my gift certificate.  I am so happy and excited.  

16th at Spyglass. Missed the putt for 3 inches low.

But most importantly, Maverick took me over to the Callaway truck.  The guys in the truck are true craftsmen.  They built a new Mavrik driver for me while I watched.  Magic.  Now I was truly happy.  

I hit my first shot at the range with it.  Solid strike, but a bit low with minimal spin.  Maverick adjusted the head and boosted the loft.  Two solid drives with excellent ball flight and we were off to the first tee.  And of course I almost put my first drive into the driving range on the right.   I need serious counseling.    Over the course of the day though I got really close to my driver and dropped my old driver like a bad habit and banished it to the trunk for eternity.  The Mavrik looks great but is fast and forgiving.

Absolutely love it.

The practice round was uneventful. I did hit one on 16 to four feet and didn’t scare the hole on the birdie putt.  The course is playing hard.  Soft fairways, lots of mud balls, lush and thick rough, firm and fast greens.  Some new tees make it a long and tough test.  Spyglass is one of my favorite courses anywhere.

Afternoon consisted of a nap.

Dinner at MPCC with Susan’s parents as Maverick hosted all of his TeamMaverick partners for dinner in the other room.  Nice touch by him to host his sponsors and agent to thank them for supporting him on this two year journey to the Show.  Mom taught him well.


Then Susan and I headed to the opening party.  Food and drink everywhere. Toby Keith and Colt Ford entertained.  As did Clay Walker.  Clint Eastwood was there. Joe Kernen wants me to get up at 3am Friday and do Squawkbox. Depends on how I am playing. Lots of friends we had not seen in a long time.  Ice cream served at valet on the way out.  

Time to go to bed.  Wondering if Susan will mind if my Mavrik driver sleeps with us tonight. 

Colt Ford and me.

MPCC practice round tomorrow.  Hope to improve on the even bogies round I had today.  Should have practiced but nap seemed more valuable.

Scott

Toby Keith

Sunday Night. It’s Happening!!

Scott McNealy here.  AKA father of the four McNealy boys.  I am 65.  Empty nester.  Watching Super Bowl in the Tap Room at the Pebble Beach Lodge.  Susan, my wife of 25 unbelievably great years, sitting next to me.  And I am so nervous I can barely eat.  


Not because the 49ers are on.  That’s just football.  I am playing in the @ATTProAm with my son @mavmcnealy starting Thursday.  And did I tell you I am 65.  And a 10 handicap that has seen his club head speed drop into mid double digits on a fast track to single digit mph.  My short game is better now because they don’t charge extra for a two chip anymore.   There is no one better with a ball retriever.  No one.  But not sure the Tour speed of play rules will allow for a net plus on balls found/lost.  So the best part of my game is not reflected in the rules of play.

Fishing…

I thought I was done playing in the this event, but I was fortunate enough to receive an invite from Maverick’s hat sponsor, KPMG! I am honored, but the pressure, the embarrassment, the anxiety, and even the horror of nailing an innocent bystander with a high fade drive that carries the far side of the adjacent fairway, skulling a wedge shot into the grandstands, and missing a two and a half footer without even scaring the hole?  All on the same hole.  


So, I am choking down large chicken spinach salad, full slab of ribs, a pile of fries and some slaw.  Comfort food.  Lots of it.  At the best 19th hole in the game.  But I didn’t play today.  It is 48 degrees out.  Wind steady at 35mph, gusting to 50mph.  Wind chill is colder than the look your wife gives you start standing and cheering the Shakira and Jennifer Lopez halftime show.  


Now back at Susan’s parents house in Carmel where Maverick is staying for the week.  It’s free after all.  Maverick is, shall we say, frugal.  Still has the first quarter he won off me at the age of five.   Grandma is going to stuff some potstickers, bbq pork, green beans, corn and some chocolate chip cookies down his gullet.  Gotta carb load when it is cold outside.


Even though I would rather caddy naked for Tiger Woods than share the state of my game with the paying public, Maverick is having a solid start to his rookie year on the PGA Tour. Eight straight cuts made.  Par or better last 21 rounds.  Ranks 77th on the FedEx Cup list.  Clearly, my job will be to swing when he is not looking.   Don’t need to put any negative thoughts into his head.   

As happy as I am for his success on course, I am really happy with the sponsors he has signed up.  I am long on KPMG ProAm invitations, Callaway clubs, UnderArmor clothes, AT&T phones and networking (even got fiber to my cabin in Incline Village), and  Discovery Land property.  Sorry Cisco, downsizing so I don’t need a Cisco switch.   Would be happy to accompany Maverick as his significant other for the annual meeting in Hawaii though.   I could teach your sales folks how to fish for golf balls in deep waters.  

But the partnership that really makes me proud is the support Maverick is giving to my current passion, www.curriki.org. His www.birdiesforeducation.com pledges have generated nearly $500k for Curriki since he started this effort.  And Brandon Wu, another Stanford golf standout, has gone pro and signed up to support Birdies for Education too.  Go Brandon and Maverick.  Make some birdies, boys!


Anyway, I will be reporting back every day on this site.  Let your buddies, golf fans and anyone who cares about K12 education know about it and check out how the week is progressing.  Not likely you will see me on TV unless Maverick gets hot early.   


And feel free to pledge on this site to support Maverick.  He is on track to make about 400 birdies this year on Tour.  You can pledge as little or as much as you like.   By pledging, you will get this blog every day automatically and all of the regular recap blogs that Maverick sends out every few events.  Plus you will help us make a difference in the education we make available to every child.  


Registration, practice round at Spyglass and opening party tomorrow.  Last time I got to meet and talk to a man crush of mine.  Spent 45 minutes talking to Toby Keith.   Thats him with the cowboy hat.  


Til tomorrow.  
Fore!!!!!!!!
Scott