Career High Finish Again!

by Scott McNealy

A slower start than hoped for on Thursday and Friday led to a major charge up the leaderboard for Maverick on the weekend.  His last 27 holes had him eight under par.  Not sure anyone was better.   But time ran out and he secured his best ever finish on the PGA Tour with a t5 finish.  And the second best round of the day at 68 on a cool and blustery day that showed why Pebble Beach as a major tournament venue.

The excitement was off the charts.  A birdie on his second hole of the day on the 11th got things going.   But birdies were hard to come by everywhere.   In fact, finding the greens with the wind, firm surfaces, and very fast greens was beyond challenging.   Short game and especially putting became paramount.   And Maverick saved par numerous times with what he called “easily my best round of putting ever.”    Quite a statement from what I consider to be one of the top putters on Tour. 

Par save after par save let to a monster drive on the Par 5 second (his 11th hole).  A long iron to the back of the green set up this eagle putt.

Eagle Putt!

And later, he drained this putt on the par 3 7th hole.   Epic deuce on an epic hole.

Birdie on Famous Par 3 7th Hole

This final putt was maybe his most rewarding.   A bogey free round in those conditions was truly incredible. 

Maverick drains a par putt on the last hole!

A week off.  Then he heads to Puerto Rico and then to Florida for the swing through the Sunshine State.

Thanks to Maverick for all of the thrills and birdies.  And especially to all of you out there supporting him and his quest to raise $1m for www.birdiesforeducation.com

I am going to stand down from blogging for a while.  Back to my day job making a difference in K12 education with Curriki.

Scott

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

Some Days are Diamonds, Some Days Start Early and Go Long

by Scott McNealy

Not a lot to report from the AT&T Pebble Beach ProAm today. It started early as I was up at 3 am with Susan and we headed into the temporary SquawkBox studio at Casa Palermo.

Joe was very generous to let me describe what Maverick is supporting with his www.birdiesforeducation.com commitment.  Thanks for all who are helping this cause.

We teed off at 10:15 am and finished almost six hours later in the cold and fog.  There was a small of close and enthusiastic band of friends and family who watched us try our butts off.  But it was a slow day for birdies.  Two for Maverick who carded his second straight even par round.  And I chipped in one natural birdie and two net birdies to help the cause.  My clutch factor was not too great as I three putted from about 20 feet on a hole where the team needed my two putt par.  


I sure hope my 85 and 86 over the last two days is not impacting Maverick’s mojo.  It sure is impacting mine.  Gotta figure out how to take my A range game out to the course and replace the D game that shows up about three swings into the round.  Clearly the hardest part of me in the cold and wind and fog is to stay loose and focused for nearly six hours.  Rigor mortis sets in with me after a full swing in about three minutes.


Here are some TV highlights of us from the Friday round.  Golf Channel 

Scott and Maverick AT&T ProAM Medley


After all is said and done, Team Maverick needs a good nights rest and a determined run at the gettable Monterey Peninsula CC tomorrow.  A four or five under round for Maverick and a team score of -8 might do the trick to get both of us inside the cut line.


Thanks for all of your support and best wishes.  I really want to play Sunday.  So does Maverick.  But the time together is special.  More tomorrow night.  

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