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.