Mark John Calcavecchia was born on this day in 1960. An American professional golfer and a former PGA Tour member. During his professional career, he has won thirteen PGA Tour events, including the 1989 Open Championship. Calcavecchia currently plays on the Champions Tour.
Calcavecchia turned professional in 1981 and joined the PGA Tour in 1982. Calcavecchia was at his best in the late 1980s. His most notable achievement was in 1989, when he won The Open Championship, one of golf’s four major championships, by beating Wayne Grady and Greg Norman in a four-hole playoff. He later revealed that he had initially not wanted to play in the Open Championship that year due to his wife expecting their first child, but he was persuaded to fly to Scotland to compete in the tournament by his wife. He also revealed that he didn’t know that the Open Championship had a four-hole aggregate playoff format until just before he teed off in the playoff.
1989 was Calcavecchia’s only multiple-win season on the PGA Tour, with two other titles complementing the Open. He also finished second behind Sandy Lyle at the 1988 Masters Tournament by a single stroke. Calcavecchia has won 13 times on the PGA Tour and 13 times in other professional events. He spent 109 weeks in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings from 1988 to 1991.
In winning the 2001 Phoenix Open, he set the Tour scoring record at that time by making 32 birdies in 72 holes finishing at 28 under par for the tournament. He has won the Phoenix Open three times (1989, 1992, 2001), and his margins of victory in the Phoenix tournament are also his three largest.
Calcavecchia was a member of the US Ryder Cup team in 1987, 1989, 1991 and 2002. His performance in 1991 is most remembered, as he lost a four-hole lead to Colin Montgomerie in the last four holes of his round. Thinking he had cost his team the victory, he broke down in tearsâ€”not knowing the US team would still win.
On July 25, 2009, Calcavecchia set a PGA Tour record by getting nine consecutive birdies during his second round at the RBC Canadian Open at the Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. The birdies came on the 12th through 18th holes, and then on the first and second hole (he started his round on the 10th hole). The previous record of eight consecutive birdies was held by six golfers including JP Hayes, who was one of his partners at the time Calcavecchia achieved the new record.
Calcavecchia retired from the PGA Tour and joined the Champions Tour in 2010.