People in our business take a lot of flak these days, so it’s nice to point to a good deed done by a couple of sportswriters in New York.
Hank Gola of the New York Daily News and Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post helped make a golfer’s dream come true at the U.S. Open.
After years of failing, New Jersey club professional Mark McCormick finally qualified for this week’s big event in San Francisco at age 49. He beat a field in sectional qualifying that even included his 21-year old son, Ryan, who plays at St. John’s.
Gola and Cannizzaro have gotten close to McCormick through the years. They know McCormick, a lefty, is a huge Phil Mickelson fan. In fact, when Mickelson pulled into contention during the 2010 Masters, McCormick made a beeline to Augusta National to be on hand to see him receive his third Green Jacket.
The sportswriters both had the same thought. Without consulting the other, they each sent text messages to Mickelson, explaining the story and asking if he would play a practice round with McCormick.
Mickelson immediately texted back, “8 a.m. Tuesday.” Filling out the group is Keegan Bradley, a St. John’s alum.
So this morning, McCormick will prepare for his first U.S. Open while walking the fairways with his favorite player.
In a diary for the New York Post, McCormick said:
I’m playing a practice round with Phil Mickelson [today] and I don’t know how I’m going to be. I’ll probably be a wreck, but it’ll be fun. I’ll probably be ready to puke and smile at the same time.
Maybe because I’m a lefty and he’s always been such a nice guy who does the right thing, I’ve always rooted for him to win every week. I’m going to be so nervous playing with him, I hope I can get a ball airborne.
I’m sure he will. And I’m sure it will be a memory of a lifetime for McCormick, thanks to a couple of sportswriters.
“This is one of those times as a sportswriter, you’re just really happy for somebody,” Gola said.
Indeed, to use a Jewish term, you did a “mitzvah,” boys. Well done.