How Jim McMahon channels his inner ‘Tin Cup’ before every round
As the saying goes, when it comes to your golf game’s traditions, it’s only weird if it doesn’t work. Golf is one of the world’s most idiosyncratic activities, with infinite numbers of swings, swing tips, mental approaches and strategies. For some, it’s a warm-up routine, for others, it’s a pregame meal or a playlist.
In the cult classic movie “Tin Cup,” Roy McAvoy (played by Kevin Costner) has a unique tendency. McAvoy, a washed-up instructor, supposedly plays his best golf when he’s drunk. In the movie, Costner’s character stays up all night before the first round of the U.S. Open drinking, only to wake up hungover and finish his round in disappointing fashion.
In this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, former NFL QB Jim McMahon reveals a secret about his golf game to hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz. McMahon and McAvoy share the gift of inebriated excellence on the course. As he tells it, McMahon realized his gift at the American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe.
“I think it was my 10th year at [the tournament] and my caddie said to me, ‘let’s try something different this year. Maybe get a little sleep, get up, hit some balls, have some breakfast, and don’t drink.'” McMahon said. “I said okay, 10th year, we’ll try something different. So I get up, sleep, have breakfast, hit balls. I go out there and fire a smooth 88.”
Evidently, McMahon isn’t one for patience when it comes to his golf game. Immediately after the round ended, he had news for his caddie.
“I told him, ‘dude, now we do it my way,'” McMahon said. “The rest of the day we stayed up hammering drinks. I probably got two or three hours of sleep. I get to the course and he says, ‘are you going to hit balls?’ and I said ‘no.'”
Instead of preparing for his round, McMahon prepared his drinks. The former QB arranged for a fan to run him drinks during his round. By end of the round (by his tally) he’d finished 11 of them. But even in a near-comatose state, McMahon’s game improved over the previous day’s performance.
“We get to the 18th hole, the old No. 9 at Tahoe,” McMahon said. “I double-bogeyed that hole to shoot 72.”
As the saying goes, it’s only weird if it doesn’t work.
“My buddy says, ‘I don’t know how the hell you do it, but we’re drinking again tomorrow,” McMahon said. “I said, ‘You’re god damn right.'”
You can watch McMahon’s whole Subpar interview, including the story of his high-stakes ante with Michael Jordan, in the video below.