Published On: Thu, Jul 18th, 2013

Calcavecchia happy to be in Nebraska, disappointed with his Open performance

Mark Calcavecchia

OMAHA —  The program indicated he was from Tequesta, Fla.

But, as Mark Calcavecchia prepared to tee off in the first round of the USGA Senior Tournament at the Omaha Country Club, the announcer said, “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mark Calcavecchia, from Laurel, Neb.”

Although he currently lives in Florida, he chose to acknowledge he grew up in Laurel.  This was the first time Calcavecchia played a tournament in Nebraska since he turned pro in 1981 and found the course at the Omaha Country Club to be a challenge.

His homecoming wasn’t what he wanted it to be, never breaking par throughout the tournament.

He said, “It’s the hilliest course I’ve ever played.”

That echoes the comments made by others in the tournament that the course was difficult, with the hills, the “tough” rough and small, fast greens.

Many Cedar County residents were on hand in the gallery during the week and found the hills indeed were steep, but only a handful had the opportunity to talk with Calcavecchia or get an autograph.

Calcavecchia told the Omaha World Herald he tried too hard and despite his outward demeanor, enjoyed seeing old acquaintances from the Laurel and Wayne area.

“The first day I got going the wrong direction and was pretty grumpy the whole week.  I apologize to the fans for that.  I certainly wanted to do better.  The fans were great the whole time.”

Retired Laurel businessman Verneal Gade, who spoke to him after the final round remembers when Calcavecchia was a freckled-faced kid who loved to golf.

“On hot summer days he would golf a round, then run across the highway to the pool to cool off and then golf another round.”

During his career he has won 13 major championships and is now off to Europe for two weeks to play in the British Open, which he won in 1989.

Mark Calcavecchia is pictured here outside the clubhouse after signing his card following the opening round of the USGA Senior Open at the Omaha Country Club on Thursday.