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Mark O'Meara: What About Me?!

Mark O'Meara, two-time major winner and seemingly very well liked guy who would have made a fine Ryder Cup Captain, from a Morning Drive appearance Thursday:

“I feel a little disappointed, yeah. Kind of hoped that I’d get the job in Ireland,” O’Meara said, referring to the 2006 Ryder Cup held at the K Club in Kildare, Ireland. Tom Lehman led the U.S. squad to an 18 ½ to 9 ½ defeat.

“I certainly wouldn’t have been disappointed if I had gotten passed over for Larry Nelson,” added O’Meara, who played on five U.S. Ryder Cup teams, going 4-9-1.

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Reader Comments (54)

I wonder if he would demand to be paid, on top of the other perks the captain and players get?

If he'd got that Ireland job it probably would have been 23-5 Europe.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
Matt, what case would you put forth that supports picking Tom Lehman over Mark O'Meara to be RC Captain? The more detail the better!
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
I wonder if he would demand to be paid, on top of the other perks the captain and players get?

If he'd got that Ireland job it probably would have been 23-5 Europe.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBereniceTyree
ah, politics. O'Meara was one of the first to voice criticism toward PGA for making all the money and players getting none of it.
aused the PGA a lot of angst. not quickly forgotten. he was far from a certainty anyway despite friendship with TW. his eventual election to Hall of Fame seems muh more likely with 2 majors and a decent total of tour wins.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMedia maven
I think his former friendship with TW counts against him more than anything else...
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStord
O'Meara has a better winning record than seven of the last ten American RC captains, and he's the only captain Woods would have been passionate about playing for. He should have been a lock in '06, and would have if it wasn't for that little run-in with Jim Awtrey in '99.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
What about O'Meara???!!! Whattabout Larry frigging Nelson (and a few others).

Again...why anyone would lobby for a position that puts them into a situation where they can do no wrong yet get crucified in the media is crazier than a you know what rat.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Well, as pointed by several, O'Meara did pitch that fit about getting paid. He is still in line behind Nelson and Irwin. Or should be.

There was no excuse for picking Lehman over anyone. Nice guy, though.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Does anyone remember the 2006 team? I challenge any captain to win with that frigging team. Brett Wetterich? Vaughn Taylor??
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSari
i love this time in an even-numbered year. we get a week of recrimination, to be followed by a few weeks of past their prime geezers waving their hands for a job that has passed them by.

I wish the PGA would do it like the olympics. Announce the next captain (and maybe have him escorted to the stage by a stupid-looking and slighty scary to children oversized mascot) at the closing ceremony.

Larry Nelson deserved it---thats past tense gents. he certainly isnt the right pick NOW. even he would tell you that. for chrissakes, he'd problbly order those big "jiffy pop" ball caps, instead of the painter's hats so popular now.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered Commentersmails
I still think about when he started winning and making some money, he couldn't stand paying his caddy his proper share under their contract so he fired him saying: "nobody deserves to make that much money."
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
@PressAgent: Great point about O'Meara sticking it to his caddy...Indian Giver is an apt description.

I believe Tiger followed a similar plan after Fluff blabbed out his "old school" deal to a reporter...Stevie I believe was put on a (very!!) good salary w/ performance bonuses...which might be more popular among the younger PGAT pros these days.

Personally, I like the classic % pay structure the best. Latching on to a good bag and riding that horse for all he/she is worth is, and should always be, part of the caddy culture. If a player gets upset he's paying too much %...then he should have negotiated a better deal the first time around. Sounds like O'Meara can be a sore loser IMO.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Aaaah, isn't revisionist history a wonderful thing!

Press Agent, you and I were in complete agreement on something the other day, can't remember what it was....but the natural order of things has been restored!

Mark O'Meara won his first event in 1984, The Greater Milwaukee Open -- first prize $54,000, total purse $300,000. O'Meara won his last event in 1998, The Open Championship -- first prize $493,500, total purse $2,750,000. Mark O'Meara won 14 other events between those two wins, and won in 10 different years. His wins also included a Masters, 5 Crosby National Pro-Am's, 2 in Hawaii, the Canadian Open, Greensboro, and Disney, among others -- the guy won everywhere!

In 1999 purse escalation started, Open Championship went over $3,000,000 in 1999, over $4,000,000 in 2000. $4.7 million in 2001. $5.3 million in 2002. This was all due to Tiger's emergence.

O'Meara's caddie, Jerry Higginbotham, was fired in April of 1999. He and Higginbotham had been together for about 5 years and 4 or 5 wins. This was about 9 months after O'Meara's last win. Mark never had another win after sending Jerry packing.

So, back to your statement, "he started winning and making some money" -- ALL his wins and serious money were made PRIOR to firing Higgy.

And, "he couldn't stand paying his caddy his proper share under their contract" -- Higgy did not have a "contract". Like all caddie/player deals, they had a verbal agreement and Higgy got paid 100% of what was agreed to, every time.

(if there are any caddies on tour with an official written "contract" I'd be surprised...and if there are, they number less than 5, Higgy certainly wasn't one of them)

JFTR, just a month prior (March 1999) Ernie ELs fired Ricci Roberts who was on his bag for both US Open wins and is arguably a better guy and a better caddie...these things happen.

O'Meara did once say something like "I really don't envision paying a caddie 10% for a win again" but my recollection was this coincided with winners shares cresting above $1,000,000 (so the caddie check would be $100k+) and this did not happen at The Open Championship until 2002. I am unable to locate the exact quote but do believe the comment was made long after Higginbotham was let go, but I can't prove this. Mark never had to face the issue because he never had another regular tour win. And if you've ever seen Mark's house or car collection you know the dude is not hung up on hanging onto every dollar he ever made, he will spend some cash.

I guess there's things to pick on Mark O'Meara about but firing Jerry Higginbotham doesn't seem to be one of them. In case you've forgotten Sergio picked Higgy up almost immediately after Mark fired him and Higgy didn't even make it through the end of the year -- and in the interim made international headlines for getting his ass kicked in a drunken bar fight after the Ryder Cup in Boston.

If I learned anything from all this, it's that with 16 wins and 2 majors it sure appears that O'Meara is now a LOCK for the Hall of Fame!!
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Condensed version: Higginbotham was not fired over money -- it was just time.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Cheats should not be rewarded with a Ryder Cup Captaincy IMO
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJock
Jock.....the Ryder Cup organization has set a precedent there -- your caveat is not part of the selection process.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
What's the backstory about Larry Nelson being passed over? Did he offend someone? Hard to think, but stranger things have happened.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKS
I am not a Mark O fan, but I do not know what the ''cheat'' comment is about..? Anyone?

I NEVER understood why Tom Lehman was selected for RC captaincy, nor do I understand why he is held in such high (relatively speaking) regard in general. The list of one major winners, with a few PGA wins (or EPGA) is not short. Lehman is a one trick pony who has been able to use a hook, remarkably....but RC captain?...even talk of HOF !?! please... I know the HOF is a joke but you have to be kidding.

Larry Nelson deserves the captaincy, and after hearing him on Morning Drivel, he is certainly still ''in touch''.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
johnnycz--o' meara merely invoked the part of the old time caddie "culture" you seem to want to leave out---the caddie getting bada-bing'ed for no reason on a moment's notice.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered Commentersmails
Larry Nelson deserves it because he's "in touch"? he said himself hes NOT in touch. What's the last cut Larry made on the big tour? was a wooden club in his bag for it?
10.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjones
From Del the Flunk, the guy who proclaimed that we should never bet on Rory winning majors:

"All due to Tiger's emergence"


Football, hockey, baseball, basketball, European soccer all saw total compensation for athletes rise faster than golf over the Tiger era.

For the statistically challenged, golf's 8.5% growth rate is the slowest of the bunch. At the top end, hockey salaries grew at over 15% per annum. At the bottom, NFL salaries grew at about 9%.

The common denominator is that corporate sponsorship budgets and greater media coverage exploded - across all major sports.

Tiger helped, but it was not "all due" to him.

Don't let your love for your idol get in the way of reality Del.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHole in Three
@ Del,

Ok, I stand corrected on my very very loose description of the events, however, I do think the quote was a direct quote, which is enough for me. If it wasn't, I stand corrected again.

In any event, I don't think he'd make a good RC captain. They brought "Stricks" along this year to try and make Tiger comfortable - it failed.
Now they should choose a certain captain for Tiger?? no thanks.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Mr. Jones, don't put words in my mouth.

He deserves it for reasons long discussed, and I don't feel like I need to rehash all that yet again and I won't waste our time doing that.

The ''in touch'' comment was my own observation of his conversation on one show, and where you heard him say that he was not in touch would be of interest to this conversation.... So where did he say that? Maybe I am out ''of touch'' in his status.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
digger, in 1997 Jarmo Sandelin accused Mark O'Meara of improperly marking his golf ball at the Lancome Trophy event. If you were able to get them to comment on it I presume that about 99.9% of tour players, not knowing anything else, would side with O'Meara -- Sandelin is a whacko. However, the tiff was reported by the press and and the rumors have dogged O'Meara ever since. Whether he did it or not I don't know....not sure why he would.

jones...who cares when the last time Larry made a cut was? How is that relevant? I think some older captains with some grey hair who still retain possession of their balls is just what our Ryder Cup team needs. Our last 2 captains were nice guy thumpers resigned to having their wives keep their balls in a box up on the mantle or some such place -- enough of that! I'd start with Jackie Burke Jr., and then give Larry his turn at the wheel. Using this strategy Freddie and Mark would get their turns in about a decade!
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
@Del: Sandelin is a whacko, but O'Meara replaced his ball about half an inch from his marker on the green - the close-up left no room for interpretation.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Smails you need to get out more, painter cap went out 2 or 3 years ago.

Dig South Mark it neara, remember? He put the ball about half an inch in front of the mark at a European event on a 18 incher and it WAS noticeable. He actually admitted it after seeing it on tv. They let him keep the trophy but many players were hot about it. If he did it once, he probably did it before.

Del & Others O'Meara has a rep with insiders as being quite the phony. I know your response already Del but you don't know everything and while it is hard to believe you are not the only one with Tour information. Many of us have brothers or friends or ex-teammates on the Tour so we get info also. The guy comes across as the nicest guy on Tour but loves to run his mouth about everyone. He also thinks he knows everything. Pretty sure he won't be captaining a RC team anytime soon. And the comment he made about paying the caddie is a prime example of what a class act he really is.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve W
Press Agent, he definitely commented on the topic of caddie pay....but Higgy got canned because the jig was up, not over a money dispute. Maybe someone can come up with the exact quote and date. Hole in Three, can you find that for us between cold calls? What's your best idea today? I bought a bunch of JPM after the Whale was harpooned, working out great.

As for whether Mark would make a good captain or not, hard to say. But the list 2 time major champs with 14 other tour wins, that have gotten no consideration whatsoever for RC captaincy, is extremely short. O'Meara also won the previously mentioned Lancome Trophy, twice in Japan, the Australian Masters, The World Cup, The World Match Play, Dubai, and a bunch of other international events. I mean this type of resume is tailor made for Ryder Cup Captain.

In the U.S., Mark won 16 times in a 14 year time span, with wins in 10 distinct years

Corey won 1 major and 14 other events. Twice in Japan, twice in New Zealand, the World Match's scary how similar their records are, the main difference being Mark validated that 1st major with a 2nd one. In the U.S., Corey won 15 times over a 22 year time span! Including wins in 11 different years. WOW!

Tom Lehman, 1 major, and only 4 other PGA Tour wins. 5 wins in a 7 year time span, only won in 4 distinct years. How the hell did this guy even get a glance, much less the ultimate nod?!?!?!
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Steve W, based on the most recent selection for US Captain "phony" is obviously not a disqualifying trait ;-)
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Mark O lost his shot the day he complained about being paid - all the rest of these posts are simply noise. He tugged on Superman's cape and is still paying the price.

What about the basic premise of paying the players? What are the PGA's revenues and expenses for the Ryder Cup? Where does the profit go? Why shouldn't the players receive an appearance fee? What would be wrong with $500K for winners and $250K for losers? Or $0 for losers?

The US Open has roughly the same financial model (albeit annually) - sell out the tickets, a ton of merchandise, big TV deal, etc. But all that USGA revenue funds a large purse, a number of other subsidized championships for men and women, and an occasional upgrade to a public course (think Bethpage, Torrey). What does the PGA fund with the Ryder Cup profits (and the PGA Championship for that matter) other than some blazers with enormous logo patches?

I don't know any of these answers but would certainly like to do some evaluation before choosing sides on the Mark vs PGA debate.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBanker
Banker, I think you nailed it....the PGA of America is still angry 15+ years later and that's kind of what I've been trying to get at from the beginning of the thread. His playing record checks out. Accused cheaters aren't excluded as per Monty. Phonies aren't excluded as per Davis. So it must just be that the PGA is mad. Either that or they are invoking an unknown thumper rule! (3 of last 4)

Out of curiosity I did a quick google seach. Appears that O'Meara was first mover on the topic of paying players but it didn't get traction until Duval and Tiger picked up the ball and ran with it in 1999. A nice article here: texnews (dot) com/tiger/ryder0810 (dot) html

Hawk, if the consensus is he did it, I can accept that. Do we think he did it knowingly and to gain an advantage? Monty got accused of a similar thing didn't he? Dtto, knowingly?
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
O'Meara didn't get the RC captaincy because he was the ring leader in the players should be compensated for the Ryder Cup movement.

Clearly the players should be ashamed for wanting some (small) share of the profits the PGA of America receives off of their efforts at the Ryder Cup.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Hank Haney is outraged that Mark hasn't been selected, and that's enough for me.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStord


A non-profit (PGA of America) uses independent contractors to enrich itself and in return pats these guys (Tiger & Co) on the back and says thanks for being patriotic! What a sham. OH, and on your death bed you'll receive total conscienceness, so they got that going for them....

However, if the PGA of America donated all the proceeds (after expenses) to organisations it isn't affiliated with well then that'd be a real act of patriotism..... money is on them using it for highly inflated salaries and year end bonuses....the new American Dream...don't earn it...steal it...nobody's being prosecuted anymore according to Gordon Gekko.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Spackler
Carl, I think elf was being facetious. elf?
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
yep...elf was funnin' us.
10.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Doesn't the PGA use the Ryder Cup revenues to lower the costs for apprentices
to complete their required education???

My God, that's funnier than Lehman being captain before Nelson
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPat Burke
PB, you are flat out on your game these days...

...but your shot of the month was the Alec Baldwin car idling snark - L'dMFAO!
10.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Del, you are a real piece of work. First last week you start out saying nice words about Davis Love(go ahead and re-read the thread, you did). Then PB makes a comment on that same thread and you say maybe you were wrong, maybe DL is a bit of a phony. Now you have just gone ahead and declared that yes, DL is a bona-fied phony and you are sucking up to PB like you want to be his new BFF. Are you sure you're not old Mitt Romney? Stand your ground Del, don't be such a flip flopper, and stop sucking up to PB, it's embarrassing.
10.13.2012 | Unregistered Commentermaster g
Uh, yeah that was sarcasm
10.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterElf
Good luck harnessing those anger management issues. What will your handle be next week?
10.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk

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