By David Shefter, USGA
Nobody was happier to hear that Fred Couples got the call from the World Golf Hall of Fame on Wednesday than longtime friend and SCGA member John McClure.
The 54-year-old McClure, who is competing for California at this week’s USGA Men’s State Team Championship at Galloway National GC, has known Couples for more than 30 years.
They first met in 1979 when McClure was competing for the University of Oklahoma and Couples was at perennial power the University of Houston. One of Couples’ suitemates was John Horne, a player McClure had known from his junior golf days in Texas.
Horne and Blaine McCallister, another ex-University of Houston standout who competed in Texas junior golf with McClure, introduced McClure to Couples at a college event, and over the years McClure and Couples kept running into each other, first in California and later in Florida. McClure helped to develop the La Quinta Resort in the Coachella Valley, which sponsored Couples during his early PGA Tour days.
In 1998, Couples asked McClure to caddie for him at the Australian Open and the Presidents Cup Matches at Royal Melbourne GC. Joe Lacava, Couples’ regular caddie at the time, couldn’t travel because his wife was due to give birth to their first child.
“[The United States] got smoked, but Fred played well,” said McClure. “We won both matches on Friday. On the second day, we lost on the 18th hole when Craig Parry chipped in. We lost in the afternoon to [Steve] Elkington and [Greg] Norman. We played with Davis [Love III]. And then we tied Vijay Singh in singles [on Sunday]. We went 2-2-1 and he had one of the better records down there [for the U.S.].”
Now that Couples has moved back to Los Angeles, where McClure lives and remains involved in real estate development, the two regularly see each other. A week before the State Team, they had lunch in Los Angeles.
“I think he probably knew then,” said McClure of the Hall of Fame announcement.
On Wednesday, McClure texted Couples to offer congratulations, and Couples, in turn, wanted updates on how California was playing.
“I’m excited for him,” said McClure, who shot a 5-over 76 in the second round after a first-round 74 on Wednesday helped California earn a share of second place. The team’s 9-over 293 total (T5) is eight strokes behind 36-hole leader New York going into Friday’s final round. “I think he deserves to go in. People talk about that he’s only won one Masters and 15 tournaments. But he won two Players Championships. Those are pretty big wins.”
McClure said he plans to be in St. Augustine, Fla., on May 6 for the induction ceremony. He attended the festivities in 2008 when Pete Dye went into the Hall of Fame.
“It’s a neat deal,” said McClure. “It will be great to see that with Fred.”