Gary McCord spent decades as one of the top golf analysts at CBS.
Long a colorful character, from being barred from Augusta National to a solid cameo role in Tin Cup, CBS parted ways with McCord a few years ago. Never one to apply much filter to himself, McCord spoke to Alan Shipnuck for Shipnuck’s forthcoming unauthorized Mickelson biography Phil, out this week.
The book release would have originally coincided with Mickelson’s defense of his 2021 PGA Championship win. Instead, thanks to a series of revelations about Phil’s involvement with a rival Saudi-backed league, the most damaging of which came from Shipnuck himself, Mickelson chose not to play at Southern Hills, where his absence might end up being one of the bigger storylines of the week.
In an excerpt released this weekend (quoted here from the London Times) focused on Mickelson’s gambling habits (and losses), McCord revealed one of the most absurd (and yet, considering the people involved, very believable) anecdotes yet: that he used to gamble with Phil on shot outcomes while working in the CBS tower.
The section in question, via an excerpt at the Times:
“When I was in the TV tower,” says former CBS announcer Gary McCord, “every time Phil got to my hole, Bones [his caddie] would look up at me and I would flash the odds. If Phil had a 15-footer, I’d flash three fingers, which meant the odds were 3-1. If he was 60 feet, I’d give him 2-1 on a two-putt. Bones would go down and whisper in his ear and Phil would look up at me and shake his head, yes or no.
“I can’t tell you how many wadded-up twenties I threw out of the tower, until the Tour found out about it and I got word through CBS I was no longer allowed to gamble with Phil while up in the tower.”
On the list of wild Phil Mickelson stories, this is probably one of the tamer ones. But there’s also something to be said for the fact that Mickelson was literally gambling on himself during live play, with an on-air broadcaster. And doing so routinely enough that they had an entire shorthand signaling system.
Anyway, there are likely even more wild anecdotes in Shipnuck’s book, which is garnering plenty of early praise for being detailed but even-handed.