WEB: Golf Pros Mix It Up With Pinehurst People
Goosen, as cool, calm and collected as ever, didn't break a sweat as he routinely ousted McGraw 3 and 2 in the second ESPN-produced People vs. the Pros event held at Pinehurst Resort's No. 8 Course.
It was another story for the gregarious McCord, who was taken to the final hole in the senior division before topping Johnstone with a birdie from approximately six feet.
The ESPN producers got it right this time as both the pros and the amateurs earned admiration from the gallery. The pros were applauded for their excellence with their clubs and the amateurs for their heart and determination.
It was Goosen's first return to Pinehurst since his ill-fated adventure in the 2005 U.S. Open. In the final round of that championship held on the No. 2 Course, the usually unflappable South African soared to an 81 on Sunday as Michael Campbell blew past him for the title.
Goosen and McCord, who plays on the PGA Champions Tour when he's not doing golf analyst work for CBS-TV, each received $50,000 to be donated to charities of their choice.
Goosen started fast against MacGraw, a heavy-set 47-year-old Office Depot manager from Davie, Fla.
The two-time U.S. Open champion birdied the first two holes and appeared on his way to a rout. But MacGraw, who weighs close to 300 pounds, plays to a 12 handicap and was soaked in perspiration before the match even began, rallied and made it a contest.
"I was two-up after two and then he won two holes where he didn't even have strokes," a smiling Goosen said. "That was a bit of a scare, but I think the heat got to him a little. This isn't an easy course to walk."
There was a controversy two years ago when John Daly was paired against a confirmed sandbagger who defeated him. The angry Daly declined to return this time.
In contrast, Goosen praised his opponent. "He was a good, consistent player," Goosen said. "I think he had a lot of fun."
"There were a couple of holes that got away from me," MacGraw said, "but otherwise I was in the match. Retief played well. It's tough to watch him hit the ball like that all day."
McCord, who lost in the 2004 match, obviously had a lot of fun. He was constantly heckling Johnstone, who proved unflappable. McCord held a 1-up advantage going into the 16th hole, but found a fairway bunker and lost to square the match. He then won 17 to go 1-up, and both players had short birdie putts on the final hole with Johnstone, getting a stroke on the hole, just outside McCord.
As Johnstone studied his putt, McCord rattled off one-liners, much to the delight of the fans. Johnstone finally got over his ball and McCord walked around him to stand in his vision. Johnstone laughed and backed off, then left the seven-footer inches short.
McCord quickly ran his birdie putt in and it was over.
"OK," McCord said, feigning a sigh of relief. "Now I'm one and one. The monkey's off my back. If I had lost this year, they might not have invited me back."
Johnstone, a 51-year-old from Staten Island, N.Y., shrugged and laughed. "What can you do?" he asked.
Two Pinehurst residents, Michael Robinson and Chris Parillo, were in strong contention to make it to the match play finals. Robinson finished one stroke behind Johnstone, while Parillo was two back.
Goosen, who had played in the PGA Championship last weekend, wasn't planning on paying a visit to No. 2 for a vindication round.
"No," he said. "I'm about an hour from being on my way out of here."
Check Friday's Pilot and ThePilot.com for the full story.
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