Gary McCord relives Masters firing, calls out LIV’s ‘steaming hot s— mess’

gary mccord brushes mustache

This April, Gary McCord celebrates a different kind of Masters memory.

Darren Riehl

It was the seminal moment in Gary McCord’s broadcasting career … and also the one that got him fired from the biggest job he’s ever had.

Even some 30 years later, “bikini wax” earns a place of unique melancholy in McCord’s life. On one hand, it was the moment that cost him the most heralded job in golf broadcasting — a spot on CBS’s Masters coverage. On the other, getting fired by Augusta National “made” him in the public eye.

Ultimately, McCord says, his Masters experience was doomed from its very first day (an effort earned, in part, by a crude joke made to Augusta National chairman Hord Hardin). But in hindsight, there’s not a second of it he’d do differently, right down to his final moment on the air.

As he prepares to watch his 29th Masters from home, the Hot Mic grabbed a minute with McCord to talk about the moment when everything changed, the fallout from it that sent his career into the stratosphere — and about the “steaming hot s— mess” that is LIV Golf’s inclusion at this year’s Masters.

GOLF news and features editor James Colgan: Gary, let’s start you off with an easy one. What’s your favorite Masters memory?

Gary McCord: I think it was the very first time I went there, back in 1986. [Laughs.]

JC: What happened?

GM: The first thing you have to do when you work at Augusta National is talk to the chairman, which at the time was Hord Hardin. So Jimmy [Nantz] and [longtime CBS Sports producer Frank Chirkinian] and I go down into the catacombs of Augusta National to the chairman’s office for a meeting.

JC: Hoo boy.

GM: Hord wanted to share guidelines for calling the Masters and how you were expected to act. It was literally like going to the principal’s office, and I’m a 7-year-old smartass. I remember there was a moment when he paused at a critical juncture in his lecture and I interjected. I said, ‘So Mr. Hardin, is it safe to assume that I can’t wear my clown outfit on Saturday afternoon?’ And he said, ‘Son, I don’t believe so.’ And I said, ‘Ugh. I’m gonna lose my deposit.’

JC: [Laughter.] Well, this year marks the 30th anniversary of another comment that miffed the Augusta National chairman’s office. What is your memory of ‘bikini wax’?

GM: It was late in the day and we went to a commercial break, so I started looking at a magazine in the booth. I think it was People Magazine. I see an advertisement for a place called the Golden Door Spa, and it’s a menu of things — cucumber presses, seaweed wraps and, all the way down at the bottom, bikini waxes. Then all the sudden, we come back to me at the tower on 17. I say, ‘one thing these guys are afraid of when they come here is green speed, but towards the end of the day, these things just accelerate beyond belief. In fact, I don’t think they mow these things, I think they bikini wax them.’

gary mccord speaks microphone
Darren Riehl

JC: What happened next?

GM: The next thing was Neal Pilson, the CBS Sports President — who was sitting next to me — laughed his ass off. But then about a week later, all hell broke loose, and that’s when Frank said, ‘okay, you’re gonna have to fight here.’

JC: What did that mean?

GM: It meant I had to fight to save my career from imploding. I just followed Frank’s guidelines and stayed above it. I knew I was done at Augusta. They were steadfast and I was apologetic — in the media that is, not to them directly.

JC: Did you ever offer an apology?

GM: I don’t remember that, and I have a pretty good memory. I don’t remember even talking to anybody there.

JC: Looking back now, do you have any regrets?

GM: Zero. That got me to another level. I got on the frickin’ Jay Leno Show and the first thing they asked is how I got kicked out of Augusta. It got very complicated, but man, I learned how to fight. I think that was the biggest thing, and it’s helped me ever since.

JC: While we’re on the topic of Augusta National discontent, I’m wondering, what are you expecting from the PGA Tour/LIV drama at Augusta National?

GM: I don’t know what kind of soup they’re gonna serve at the Champions Dinner, but it should be aggravated soup. Let the boys all have a big spoon. The whole thing, we’re putting this Masters on a social plate. How do you interact with people that are your antagonist? This is totally different from anything we’ve ever dealt with before. This is a daily deal. We’re in the middle of the fight.

JC: How do you see all this playing out, in the long run?

GM: This is a steaming hot s–t mess right now. These guys hate those guys. Well, hell, you’re going to have to make some money, TV-wise and rights-wise, so let’s have LIV against the PGA Tour. You gotta qualify to get in. And you do this in the middle of the year, the end of the year, whatever. Let’s see how it goes. I can tell you this, it’d certainly would break into conflict in some way, shape or form — and probably involving Patrick Reed.

JC: Alright, last one for you. Sunday morning of the Masters, a couple minutes before CBS goes live, where are you going to be?

GM: I’ll be on the island of Kauai, either sitting in front of the TV or on the beach with some sort of drink with an umbrella in it.

JC: That sounds quite nice. Gary, thanks so much. We’ll be thinking of you this Masters Saturday.

GM: [Laughs.] It’s good to have free rein now. Thank you.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at

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