The richest man working inside the ropes at this week’s US Open golf championship won’t be Tiger Woods (he’s injured) or Phil Mickelson (despite his alleged ill-gotten, insider trading gains). No, that distinction will go to tech billionaire, Sun Microsystems co-founder and former CEO Scott McNealy.
McNealy won’t be hitting any shots himself, despite being a respectable golfer in his own right as a former member of the Harvard golf team. Rather, the 59-year-old will be carrying the clubs and presumably handing out the high-fives to his amateur son, 18-year-old Stanford freshman Maverick McNealy.
Maverick, an All-Pac-12 honorable mention who just helped his team reach the NCAA semifinals last week, finished third among all competitors at last week’s Daly City sectional qualifier, shooting scores of 67-69 (-7) at Lake Merced Golf Club and Olympic Club (Ocean) to beat out a field comprised mostly of professionals.
The McNealys are in Pinehurst, North Carolina this week hoping to keep the good momentum going. The odds are stacked against Maverick in his quest to hoist the championship trophy at week’s end, not the least of which due to the obviously intimidation of competing alongside his sporting idols in front of tens of thousands of spectators and millions of TV viewers.
But maybe, when his collar gets particularly tight, Maverick will remember that his dad is worth more than all the other 150 players in the field combined. Then again, that fact may do more to calm junior than his proud papa, considering he told the San Francisco Chronicle last week, “I can get on national TV and it doesn’t faze me at all, but I’m a wreck out here.”