Scott McCarron has recently found great success on the PGA Champions Tour, winning three tournaments in the past nine months. WHOOP had the opportunity to speak with Scott about his unlikely path to becoming a pro golfer, and how he’s been able to stay on top of the competition during his “second career.”
Barry McCarron, Scott’s father, was a Triple-A ballplayer who began playing a lot of golf after his baseball career came to a close. “He started dragging me out to the golf course as soon as I could walk,” Scott told WHOOP. “I think my only toy as a kid was a golf club that I would crawl around with,” he joked. In high school, Scott played a variety of sports, including football, basketball, baseball and tennis. But golf was always his first love, and it earned him a scholarship to UCLA.
However, after graduating Scott gave up the game altogether. “I wasn’t playing that well, I just decided it wasn’t for me,” he said. “I was not a very good putter–not good enough for me to make it to the next level.” He pondered law school, but instead decided to team up with his dad.
The elder McCarron had owned a clothing business that was destroyed by the 1986 Napa River flood. When Scott finished school two years later, the pair started a golf apparel company in Sacramento. From there they began manufacturing headwear, and Scott’s career might’ve continued in that direction had he not attended a local Senior PGA Tour event in Rancho Murieta in 1991.
Amongst the likes of Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Chi Chi Rodriguez, Scott saw several players using a new style of club–the long putter. It was a revelation:
“I went home that night, made my own, then tried it the next morning and was like ‘Hey, I can do this!’ I liked putting that way. When I found the long putter it made me think I could do this again.”
From there, Scott started competing in (and winning) amature events around his home state of California. A short while later, he turned pro.
Over the course of his “first” career, Scott won three PGA Tour tournaments and finished in the top 10 at the Masters, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. Despite these impressive results, Scott says that qualifying for the tour in the first place is his greatest athletic achievement:
“I’m most proud of just getting through the qualifying school in 1994. There were 5,000 guys and only 50 made it. I was always right on the number [one stroke from missing the cut] at every stage. To make it through that pressure cooker and get my PGA tour card was probably my biggest accomplishment.”
On the PGA Tour in his late 40’s, Scott spent half his time playing and the other half as a broadcaster, for both the Golf Channel and FOX. When he turned 50, Scott became eligible for the Champions Tour, where he’s already won three times in less than a year.
When asked about the great start he’s had to what he refers to as his “second career,” Scott said “At 51, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. The fact that my wife is a fitness instructor and a triathlete who’s always on the cutting edge has helped. On the Champions Tour, if you can stay in good shape you definitely have an advantage.”
Last month, Scott eagled the final hole at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton to win the tournament by one stroke (notice the WHOOP Strap on both Scott and his wife Jennifer):
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) February 13, 2017
What motivated Scott to start using WHOOP?
“I was reading a USA Today article about a San Francisco Giants relief pitcher who was a free agent. He was wondering if his new team was going to support WHOOP. That was the first I heard of it. Being a device that measure sleep and Day Strain, plus the idea that athletes who don’t get enough sleep after strenuous workouts have more of a chance to injure themselves, I thought it was really interesting. … I like working out, but over the years I’ve injured myself or pushed too hard on strenuous days. As a golfer you don’t have to be a powerlifter, you have to be flexible and strong. Sometimes we might push ourselves too hard when really we need rest.”
Scott got on the WHOOP system this past December and immediately started seeing the benefits:
“We travel so much, 26-28 weeks a year, through different time zones, it’s not always easy to get good sleep. Being able to monitor it is a huge advantage. Sometimes I used to wake up at 5 or 5:30 in the morning and I’d just get up. WHOOP tells me to go back to bed and get the sleep I need. The days [my Recovery is] in the green I feel more refreshed, golf feels good and workouts are easier. The days I’m in the red I’m definitely tired. WHOOP has made me more aware, and once you start going with it everything falls into place.”
“Instant feedback” is something Scott particularly enjoys about WHOOP. “To be able to check the sleep coach and see I need to go to bed ‘here’ and wake up ‘here’ if I want to peak” is what he finds most valuable. Scott even credits WHOOP for helping him secure his latest victory:
“It was funny, that weekend I was green Thursday and green Friday, but in the red Saturday night for Sunday. I did not sleep well. Because of that I didn’t go as hard as I usually do in my pre-round workout routine. I really focussed on conserving energy before I teed off.”
Clearly the strategy paid off. Scott hopes to play on the Champions Tour for 10 years–don’t bet against him.