Mark Calcavecchia

Mark Calcavecchia (1 Open. )

1960

Mark John Calcavecchia (born June 12, 1960) is an American professional golfer and a former PGA Tour member. During his professional career, he won 13 PGA Tour events, including the 1989 Open Championship. Calcavecchia currently plays on the PGA Tour Champions.

Calcavecchia was born in Laurel, Nebraska.[1] While he was a teenager, his family moved from Nebraska to West Palm Beach, Florida in 1973.[2] He attended North Shore High School in West Palm Beach, and won the Florida high school golf championship in 1977 while playing for the North Shore golf team.[3] While playing in junior tournaments, Calcavecchia often competed against Jack Nicklaus' son, Jackie, and as a result began a lifelong friendship at the age of 14 with the legendary pro.[4][5]

He accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played for coach Buster Bishop and coach John Darr's Florida Gators men's golf teams in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition from 1978 to 1980.[6]Calcavecchia earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) honors in 1979.[6]

Calcavecchia turned professional in 1981 and joined the PGA Tour in 1982. Calcavecchia was at his best in the late 1980s. His most notable achievement was in 1989, when he won The Open Championship (the "British Open"), one of golf's four major championships, by beating Wayne Grady and Greg Norman in a four-hole playoff.[7] Upon being awarded the Open's Claret Jug, Calcavecchia (whose Italian surname translates as "old crowd") asked "How's my name going to fit on that thing?"[8] He later revealed that he had initially not wanted to play in the Open Championship that year due to his wife expecting their first child, but he was persuaded to fly to Scotland to compete in the tournament by his wife.[9] He also revealed that he didn't know that the Open Championship had a four-hole aggregate playoff format until just before he teed off in the playoff.[10] Calcavecchia shares the record for the lowest back nine in the Masters at 29, in 1992. 1989 was Calcavecchia's only multiple-win season on the PGA Tour, with two other titles complementing the Open. He also finished second behind Sandy Lyle at the 1988 Masters Tournament by a single stroke.[11]

Calcavecchia has won 13 times on the PGA Tour and 13 times in other professional events. He spent 109 weeks in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings from 1988 to 1991.[12] In winning the 2001 Phoenix Open, he set the Tour scoring record at that time by making 32 birdies in 72 holes finishing at 28 under par for the tournament. He has won the Phoenix Open three times (1989, 1992, 2001), and his margins of victory in the Phoenix tournament are also his three largest.

Calcavecchia was a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1987, 1989, 1991 and 2002. His performance in 1991 is most remembered, as he lost a four-hole lead to Colin Montgomerie in the last four holes of his round. Thinking he had cost his team the victory, he broke down in tears—not knowing the U.S. team would still win.

On July 25, 2009, Calcavecchia set a PGA Tour record by getting nine consecutive birdies during his second round at the RBC Canadian Open at the Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. The birdies came on the 12th through 18th holes, and then on the first and second hole (he started his round on the 10th hole).[13] The previous record of eight consecutive birdies was held by six golfers including J. P. Hayes, who was one of his partners at the time Calcavecchia achieved the new record.[14]

Calcavecchia joined the Champions Tour in 2010,[5][15] but still plays a limited PGA Tour schedule that includes The Open Championship.

Calcavecchia has two children, Eric and Britney, with his previous wife Sheryl.[4] He married Brenda Nardecchia on May 5, 2005 in Lake ComoItaly.[16] Calcavecchia's principal home is Jupiter, Florida, but he also owns a house in Phoenix, Arizona.[2][5]