He’s at it again. Gary McCord, the CBS Sports’ golf broadcaster whom Augusta National Golf Club famously banned back in 1994 for daring to blaspheme its sacred putting surfaces, said Wednesday that PGA Tour golfer Dustin Johnson needed to wake up and smell the magnolias.
“It’s time to quit falling asleep out there Dustin,” McCord said in statement about this week’s Byron Nelson Championship, “and start winning on a consistent level.”
Johnson, who had his own brush with infamy when he mistook a bunker at last year’s PGA Championship for a patch of trampled-on dirt, has been something of a disappointment to followers expecting great things of the 26-year-old from South Carolina. Despite four PGA Tour wins as well as three top-10 finishes in 11 contests this year, the lanky golfer who may or may not have had a fling with the LPGA’s Natalie Gulbis has gained more notoriety for bizarre faux pas than for his accomplishments.
In addition to the bunker gaffe at the PGA, Johnson incurred a two-stroke penalty for being late to the tee at this year’s Northern Trust Open. Six seconds later to the tee and Johnson would have received the old heave-ho. Last year, of course, officials gave Johnson a two-shot penalty on the 18th hole at Whistling Straits when he grounded his club in what he later discovered was a bunker.
Perhaps Johnson’s new bagman will help his boss stay out of trouble and start notching some “Ws.” While he never blamed his former caddie, Bobby Brown, for his screw-ups, Johnson told Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard Wednesday that Fred Couples’ former looper, Joe LaCava, would shoulder the sack for him beginning this week. Chronic back woes and a bout with skin cancer forced Couples to withdraw from the Senior PGA Championship.
McCord, by the way, had some bon mots as well for tour bad boy, Rory Sabbatini. Several golf watchers have speculated that the tour would put Sabbatini on ice for 30 days after a couple of kerfuffles with playing partners and tourney marshals.
McCord pointed out that Sabbo had “turned into a model citizen” following rumors of a suspension.
“I have seen [Sabbatini] rake the bunkers for other players, buy furniture for a house donated to a military family and generally displayed acts of passion and human decency,” McCord said. “The heck with the fact he has already won $2.5 million this year. I’m picking him because he’s turned into a nice guy!”
In case you forgot, by the way, McCord’s turn at the mike for the Masters ended after he said the greens at Augusta National were as slick as “bikini wax.” He further irritated the Green Jackets by observing that moguls behind one hole looked “suspiciously like body bags.”