Relationships are often cited as the root of a golfer's woes. The significant other insists you spend more time working on the house and less on the driving range. A buddies' trip to Bandon Dunes is foiled because you had to visit their family's vacation home in Michigan. Even might even get put in a bad frame of mind heading to the course with a simple, "For how much you play, you'd think you'd be good" remark. There's a reason love is a four-letter word, after all.
But in the case of Maverick McNealy, his better half … well, made him better Sunday, at least inside the ropes.
McNealy, the former World No. 1 amateur, had made the cut at the PGA Tour's Houston Open yet was out of contention after a 74 on Friday and and 73 on Saturday. McNealy bounced back on Sunday though with a seven-under-par 65, the best score of the day that vaulted him 29 spots up the leader board for a T-17 finish.
After his round, McNealy attributed the weekend contrasts to a simple notion. "Got a talking-to yesterday on the phone," he told the PGA Tour's Mike McAllister.
A reprimand delivered by an LPGA star—McNealy's girlfriend, Danielle Kang.
According to McNealy, Kang instructed him to do three things during his final round: Avoid sneaking a peak at the leader boards, be stronger with his "mental score card" approach and say two positive things to himself after every shot. Clearly, the instructions worked; the T-17 was his best finish is 22 career tour starts.
Along with his work with coach Butch Harmon, McNealy feels like he's in a good spot with two tournaments remaining on his fall schedule. "I’m really excited about the way I’m trending,” he said.
And he should be thankful for having a special someone to keep him on the right track.