PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Insider: Former UCLA players shining
June 15, 2017
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- Brandt Jobe and Scott McCarron, who attened UCLA together, are excelling on PGA TOUR Champions. (Getty Images)
Eddie Merrins, 84, is a loyal follower of PGA TOUR Champions and with good reason.
Actually, he has six good reasons.
Merrins was the golf coach at UCLA from 1974 to 1989. He coached such former Bruins as Steve Pate, Tom Pernice Jr., Corey Pavin, Duffy Waldorf, Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe, all of whom are busy on PGA TOUR Champions.
Jobe won for the first time last week at the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines. McCarron, already a winner this year, gave chase with a final-round 66, but Jobe held him off for a one-shot victory.
“I was delighted to see Brandt win and to see Scott play so well,” said Merrins, the longtime pro at Bel-Air Country Club and now the pro emeritus there. “They’re wonderful individuals, good athletes, good players and great citizens.”
Jobe was a two-time All-American and the No. 1 player on Merrins’ team that was the surprise winner of the 1988 NCAA championship. It wasn’t his best team – the 1982 Corey Pavin-led Bruins won 13 tournaments and were the top seed at the NCAAs when they came in sixth – but they were a resilient bunch. They rallied from 13 shots back on the final day to shock leader Florida, and Jobe, a senior, tied for second place.
Jobe and McCarron, who arrived at UCLA the same year, were friends from the get-go.
“We met in 1983, first day of school basically, in a parking lot at Bel-Air, played nine holes and became very good friends from that point on,” McCarron said after the conclusion of the Principal Charity Classic. “We lived together, we were fraternity brothers and we've been friends ever since, played Canadian Tour, Hooters Tour, all over the place trying to get on the PGA TOUR. And we both had nice careers for 20-something years. Now we get to battle it out on the PGA TOUR Champions. It's pretty exciting.”
The fraternity part didn’t sit well with Merrins.
“That was somewhat against my rules,” said Merrins, who played in more than 200 PGA TOUR events in the 1950s and '60s before and after becoming the head pro at Bel-Air in 1962. “When you play golf it takes so many hours of the day, and school takes so many hours. If you pursued being a fraternity man … that takes so many hours and there are not enough in the day. So you can’t be good at any.
“I preferred that they put fraternity life aside, but that was not the case with the two of them. They were fraternity boys. But they turned out pretty well.”
Merrins built UCLA into a powerhouse with sheer numbers. He often had as many as 20 players available, even though tournaments allowed only five-man teams. The Bruins sometimes played in two or three tournaments per weekend.
Merrins recalled Jobe and McCarron both as strong players who were big hitters. The critical difference was on the green.
“Scott had a problem in school with putting,” Merrins said. “It was his bugaboo. He hit it long and did all the right things well except get it in the hole. He didn’t have as good a college career as he might have if he putted well.
“After he graduated he discovered the long putter through a friend. It made him a good putter. He got his PGA TOUR card right off the bat and became very successful. You don’t win at tournament golf professionally speaking unless you putt well. He took the necessary steps to address that.”
Merrins said he left a voicemail for Jobe after his victory on Sunday and that he asked him to convey a message to McCarron.
“It was a great moment for Brandt,” Merrins said. “It’s gratifying to have six of my guys playing (on PGA TOUR Champions), and they’re all doing well. I’m very proud of that. They all represent themselves and their school very well in everything they do and how they do it.”
HOW FORMER UCLA BRUINS STACK UP IN 2017
Name Events Earnings Schwab Cup rank
Scott McCarron 11 $924,351 No. 2 Brandt Jobe 9 $556,978 No. 6 Duffy Waldorf 11 $417,864 No. 15 Tom Pernice Jr.
11 $180,281 No. 42 Steve Pate 8 $147,072 No. 50 Corey Pavin 6 $118,461 No. 56
Brandt Jobe earns first PGA TOUR Champions title at Principal Charity
Scott McCarron wins in dramatic fashion at Allianz