PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Defending Mitsubishi Electric Classic winner McCarron awaits return to competition
April 15, 2020
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- April 15, 2020
Highlights | Round 3 | Mitsubishi Electric Classic
The coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to all PGA TOUR-sanctioned events, but what players can do to keep themselves sharp varies wildly from state to state, county to county, city to city.
2019 Charles Schwab Cup champion Scott McCarron is keeping his game sharp because his home course in Mooresville, North Carolina, remains open.
“As of right now I’m able to play and practice,” McCarron said this week. “We’re using social distancing. One player to a cart, no rakes, no sand seed fillers, the flags stay in, and there’s foam noodles in the cup so the ball doesn’t really drop in.”
He knows the rules are different for many of his fellow competitors on PGA TOUR Champions. Some live in states where golf courses have been closed.
No one is quite sure what to do with themselves during this unprecedented time, and golfers aren’t much different.
“It's almost like an offseason with no ending in sight,” McCarron said. “You don’t know when to prepare and get ready. We’re always preparing; we know when the next tournament is. It’s on the schedule.
“But as of right now there’s nothing to get ready for. It’s odd. I’m working on some things that I’m not able to usually do in the middle of a season. So hopefully when we come back out I’ll be better at those things.”
McCarron said the onus is on each player to figure out ways to make the time off work for him.
“It’s not ideal to just sit around and watch ‘Tiger King.’ I’ve got to figure out how can I use this time wisely to get better.”
For the record, McCarron and his wife, Jenny, have yet to check out the exploits of Joe Exotic. Though he did admit he might have to check it out to see what all the fuss was about. What they have had is more time to spend with each other than they would during a normal PGA TOUR Champions schedule.
They’re working out frequently and biking, taking walks and walking their dog.
McCarron definitely will miss not being in the Atlanta area this week for the Mitsubishi Electric Classic. It was the first of three titles he won last year, and he will not get to defend any of them. All have been canceled, including the Insperity Invitational and the MasterCard Japan Championship.
He really jump-started his 2019 with the win at TPC Sugarloaf on the way to his first Schwab Cup. McCarron has two top 10s in five events in 2020, with a best finish of solo fifth at the Hoag Classic, the final event before the shutdown.
“Mitsubishi I hate to miss,” McCarron said. “They’re one of the great sponsors on our tour, and Sugarloaf I won at twice on the regular tour and then last year on PGA TOUR Champions. It’s tough not to defend on courses I like.
“It was just funny it worked out that way, the first three tournaments canceled with no chance of trying to reschedule were the three that I won. A lot of tournaments have canceled since, and some are trying to find other dates and the TOUR is doing its best trying to accommodate everything. I hope we’re able to get back to playing golf and the country continues to heal.”
One question on everybody’s mind is The Masters being played in November. McCarron played in six Masters, all between 1996 and 2003. He made five cuts, with a best finish of T10.
Today would have been the Par 3 at the Masters. This was in 1997 when my Daughter Courtney caddied for me. We got to meet Byron and Peggy Nelson right after this photo. Great day! pic.twitter.com/0vj0G7h2kw— Scott McCarron (@ScottMccarron) April 8, 2020
“The Masters in November will be strange,” McCarron said. “I see a lot of majors right in a row there. A Masters anytime is good. We all love it. I sat here and watched Tiger (Woods) on Sunday and the replay from last year and had tears in my eyes after he won. It was always one of my favorite tournaments to play in.”