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Seve's mentor is one iron short of a full set.

Every sport has its weirdos - those who defy convention and sound nuttier than a fruitcake.

Football has the flaky Eric Cantona, a Frenchman who spouts drivel straight from the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest school of insanity.

Boxing has that monacled, strutting, jodhpur-clad, wired-to-the-moon buffoon, Chris Eubank.

But golf has a unique specimen who makes that pair appear the sanest and most well adjusted human beings on the planet.

His name is Mac O'Grady (changed by deed poll from Phil McGleno in 1978). He is 44, born in California and, after quitting the US Tour in the late eighties, now works as a golf coach.

His most famous pupil is Seve Ballesteros - and that may well explain why the dashing Spaniard performed so abysmally in 1995.

Last year, O'Grady hatched a cunning plan. He collected pictures of Seve swinging badly, popped them in a box and he and Ballesteros drove into the Arizona desert and conducted a funeral service.

Seve, who inexplicably went along with the nonsense, insisted: "It was a very happy funeral.

"We buried the box then prayed for two minutes that I should keep my good habits."

The outcome? Seve played like a plonker, could hardly hit his way through a wet paper in the Ryder Cup and eventually took a five-month sabbatical. Mac worked the oracle.

O'Grady might then have passed into oblivion as far as I was concerned - until I thumbed through a new book, Golf Shorts.

It contains 1001 of the game's funniest (or wackiest) one-liners. Guess who gets 12 entries all to himself?

Try this for size ... "When I putt, my emotions collide like tectonic plates. It's left my memory circuits full of scars that won't heal."

Well, I don't know about you, but after that little gem I wanted to know more about what O'Grady says.

On a typical, everyday round of golf ... "One minute you're bleeding, the next minute you're haemorrhaging. The next minute you're painting the Mona Lisa."

And what is Mac prattling on about in this poetic piece?

"A bird flying to the firmament outlined against an incandescent sky, begging to fall, sashaying gently back to the earth."

Amazingly, he was talking about one of his wedge shots.

Oh yes, O'Grady is different from your average pro in a Pringle and loud trousers.

As a youngster, he practised yoga - and playing golf left and right-handed. No one knew why, but logic doesn't appear to be his strong suit. Anyway, he managed to become highly skilled at swinging the club both ways - so much so, he once demanded to enter a foursomes championship on his own!

O'Grady argued that he could play the "alternate shot" format by switching from right to left hand as appropriate. His entry - surprise, surprise - was refused.

Mac had 17 visits to the US Tour school before gaining his card, and managed to win an event in 1987.

Most golfers might have said that they hoped to cash in on their good fortune. Not O'Grady.

He barbled: "I now hope to maximise the efficiency ratio of my management resources."

O'Grady also likes to explain the key to playing good golf.

"You must attain a neurological and biological serenity in chaos. You cannot let yourself be sabotaged by adrenaline." Yes, quite.

There is something infectious about the alleged wit and wisdom of Mr O'Grady.

My favourite item of his verbal diarrhoea followed O'Grady's withdrawal from a tournament after a first round 79.

He rambled: "That round was like a first date. She didn't care for me and I didn't like her.

"I tried to kiss her, but she slapped me. I was afraid to come back for a second date."

Classic stuff - and it makes Cantona's bilge about sardines, seagulls and trawlers appear lucid.

Take my advice, Seve. Stay away from the Arizona desert - if you hanker after a big Mac, try McDonald's.

PS - the book, by American Glenn Liebman, is great fun and outstanding value at pounds 10.95 from Robson Books.

If you've got to shuffle of this mortal coil, the golf course is as good a place as any to snuff it.

It happened to Bing Crosby during a round with Spanish pro Manuel Pinero.

And just last week American Peter Sedore, 83, claimed his 18th ace in California - then keeled over with a heart attack.

Another Yank, Thomas Caradonio pegged out on the eighth of his home course and was granted his dying wish - to be buried in full golfing gear with his favourite putter.

Then there was Irishman Tom Forde, 57, who smacked a drive and three- wood to four inches at a par five, punched the air in delight and dropped dead.

His wife Margaret said: "If he could have chosen a way to go, he would have wanted it this way."

I don't accept that - he didn't get the chance to hole the putt.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Simpson, Gordon
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 2, 1996
Words:815
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