PGA Tour

Watch tour pro roll birdie putt into the water, chip-in for bogey en route to WD at WM Phoenix Open

February 11, 2023

Maddie Meyer

Golf can be a tough game, even for tour pros. If you don't believe us, just ask Maverick McNealy.

Entering February, the 27-year-old former college player of the year at Stanford had been having a season in which he looked like he was making progress toward a breakthrough first PGA Tour win: eight starts, seven made cuts, five top-20 finishes, 29th on the FedEx Cup points list. It explains why he was among the betting favorites last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. But after putting together rounds of 71-71 amid the crazy weather conditions on the Monterey Peninsula, he was forced to withdraw in the third round after nine holes with an injury to his left shoulder.

Fast forward to this week at the WM Phoenix Open. McNealy was still nursing the injury but when you’re playing for $20 million in a designated event, well in the words of Dan Jenkins, you got to play hurt. Which is what McNealy attempted in scrapping around an opening 76 at TPC Scottsdale.

Returning to the course on Friday, McNealy started his second round on the 10th tee with a bogey, but bounced back with a birdie on the 11th. His tee shot on the par-3 12th found the front left portion of the green but left him with a 81-foot birdie try. From there, well, a little bit of madness ensued.

Putting off a green into a water is something amateurs could related to? Chipping in for bogey? Well, that takes a little bit of mental hutzpah.

With pars on the next two holes, McNealy was one over for the round, but he had decided enough was enough. For the second straight week he withdrew because of his shoulder. McNealy is listed in the field for next week’s Genesis Invitational—another $20 million you got to play hurt scenario—but it will be interesting to see what happens.