Scott McCarron won the Allianz Championship, now the Boca Raton Championship, a year ago by one stroke.
That was a great moment in his career and he will be back on the Old Course at Broken Sound Friday through Sunday this week defending his title of a year ago.
Making last year’s title even more meaningful to McCarron was the fact that he captured the championship on the 18th and final hole — not by making par, not by making birdie, but by making eagle.
Even better was that he did it by making a shot he could not even see.
On that 18th and deciding hole, McCarron hit an enormous drive. “It’s a tough driving hole for me, and I wanted to cut the ball and I did,” he said. “One of my best drives of the week.”
When he approached his drive on the fairway of the 507-yard, par-5 hole, he looked up at the green. One problem. “The sun was setting, and I could not really see where the flagstick was,” McCarron said.
At that point, he took the easy way out.
He said, “What the heck,” or something somewhat similar to that.
“I forgot my mechanics and just hit the shot,” he said of a 7-iron from 186 yards out. “I knew if I ripped it that it would be good. And I did rip it.”
McCarron looked up with the ball in the air and the blinding sun looked right back at him. Sun won. McCarron blinked first and he had very little idea where the shot went, but felt as though he had struck it pure.
“I asked my caddie if he had seen it,” and the caddie responded in the negative.
“We didn’t see the ball until we got up there,” he said. And when he did see it his face went from grim determination to a big smile.
“It was six feet from the pin,” he recalled. And a confident McCarron rolled the uphill putt in for a one-stroke victory with rounds of 66-66-67 and a paycheck of $262,500.
McCarron has been enjoying himself on the PGA Tour Champions, which includes many of your favorite golfers — Bernhard Langer, Corey Pavin, bad boy John Daly, etc. — who are over 50 years of age.
“Tournaments are only three rounds,” McCarron said, “so you have to go full-blast from the get-go or you will get run over.
“I am having such a blast,” McCarron continued. “I never knew how good this tour was until I got here.”
To back up that assessment, McCarron called upon the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus.
“Jack told me, ‘I wished I had played more on the PGA Champions Tour,’” McCarron recalled. “When you hear that from the greatest player ever, it means a lot.”