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Mac O'Grady Is Quitting Golf to Write a Book

January 29, 1989|Associated Press

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Exit Mac O'Grady.

Enter Henry P.P. Farnsworth.

The maverick O'Grady, who achieved a certain notoriety in his celebrated feud with PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman, says he's on his last go-round on the PGA Tour.

Mac will hang it up after this season.

"It's time to turn the page on this career and get on to the next frontier," O'Grady said.

He didn't make a cut from June until November of last year. He hasn't made a check this year.

But he'll be leaving with a bang, not the whimper.

Mac, you see, is writing a book.

It's called "The Golfing Prophet." Henry P.P. ("it stands for Philosopher and Philanthropist," O'Grady said) Farnsworth is a central character, who--it appears--becomes the spokesman for some of O'Grady's iconoclastic pronouncements.

The book, Mac promises, will create something more than a stir among some of his fellow pros, and possibly golf's officialdom.

"If they read the first two chapters and I'm in the same room, I'll guarantee it will be the St. Valentine's Day Massacre," O'Grady said.

"Deane knows about the book. He called my attorney and said, 'I'd like to see the manuscripts and transcripts before publishing.' But we wouldn't give it to him.

"It won't be done in a sleazy way. It won't be who's sleeping with whom.

"But this book will make some people angry. They'll come after me but I'll be off the Tour so they can't touch me.

"This place (the Tour) is so rich. It's like a laboratory. There are so many things to write about. Woo, woo . . . "

Revelations will be made and controversy sparked. It's a role with which O'Grady is familiar.

Over his career he has been anything but orthodox. But then, his life hasn't been orthodox.

He was born Phillip McGlenno, but changed his name. He made 17 tries at the PGA Tour school before gaining his playing rights. He plays right-handed and putts left-handed. He speaks Japanese. He has practiced yoga, run marathons, and trains by trotting up mountains.

Over the years he has tilted at the windmills of the Tour with some frequency.

He was fined once by Beman for verbally abusing a volunteer at a tournament and eventually fined $5,000 suspended six weeks for criticizing Beman at the PGA. O'Grady in turn filed a $12 million antitrust suit, which he eventually dropped.

Later the loquacious O'Grady, said: "my five-year residency program on the Tour is over and I can now shake hands with corporate America. I hope to maximize the efficiency ratio of my management resources."

Those management resources are involved in other, extensive programs that are in the works, O'Grady said. There's much, much more than the book. There's videotapes and research centers, "a United Nations of Golf," O'Grady quotes the mythical and apparently somewhat mystical Farnsworth as saying.

O'Grady, or Farnsworth--it's sometimes difficult to distinguish precisely who is speaking--call it "golfology."

"Henry says at these research centers the front door is golf and the back is a tiny little door called life. When the kids leave the centers, they'll realize the front door is life and golf is one of the little back doors," O'Grady said.

O'Grady, and/or Farnsworth, indicate it involves much more than golf, though that is central point.

In the conversation, O'GradyFarnsworth also mentioned, somehow, "the greenhouse effect," "fossil fuels," and "fiber-optic sensors."

There were certain observations, possibly made by Henry P.P. Farnsworth, who O'Grady places on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean:

"You realize you are a frail human being in a vast universe in a galaxy of many galaxies."

Some other observations:

--On the Tour: "It's a tough life. In your first year you love everybody. By your sixth year you hate yourself, your wife, your kids, your sponsors because you can't make the cut or win the U.S. Open."

On athletes:

"All my life I wanted to be an athlete, from Day One. Today I'm embarassed to be an athlete. There is so much ignorance . . . no connection with the real world."

--On himself and his relation to other players on the Tour: "No question, no question (that he is ostracized). That's the fun of it. I'm treated like a whistleblower in a corporation. But I don't hold a grudge. I'm entitled to my rights."

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