Little McCumber Shows Up Big at Kingsmill


He is small of stature, but he was long on talent. Mark McCumber put it all together in one week in 1994, when he won the Anheuser-Busch Classic, now the Michelob Championship of Kingsmill.
It was the week of the rookies. Glen Day, then a rookie, was tied for the lead midway through the final round. Then-rookie Justin Leonard, who had won the NCAA Championship earlier that year, was just two off the pace after the third round. But there also was McCumber, a 15-year veteran, and he clung to the top rung like a bulldog guarding his favorite bone.
He had gone almost five years without a victory. Until the Anheuser-Busch in July, McCumber had struggled in '94. He last won in 1989, his seventh PGA Tour victory, and at 42 years of age, some were wondering if time - and the victory circle - had passed him by. 'It almost makes you think - 'Am I going to win again?''
The problem was putting. But the week of the Western Open - the week prior to the Anheuser-Busch - McCumber did a clinic with Dave Stockton, who is to putting what Orville and Wilbur are to airplanes. Stockton shared a few tips, and the difference in McCumber's game was immediate.
'I had worked in some bad habits,' said McCumber. 'Once I changed those (bad habits), my whole attitude toward putting changed.'
McCumber couldn't miss during the Anheuser-Busch. Day tied him on the seventh hole Sunday with an eagle. But nobody thought McCumber would roll over and play dead - and he didn't. He chipped in on No. 15, then chipped in again - this time from long range - on No. 16. By now Day was three shots in arrears, and McCumber would stroll home a winner.
What had happened to make him feel so comfortable around the greens? McCumber was a new man.
'Basically, I had gotten back on my heels and had gotten the putter hooded,' he said, 'taking it back outside. Those are two or three things that make it impossible to be consistent. I would hardly make them when I was hitting them good.
'The biggest thing now is my attitude. And the putting has come around. I've always hit the ball pretty good. But if you believe you are going to make them - even if you don't - it sure relaxes you.'