Rhode Island golfer Tom McCormick keeps moving forward after grieving
LINCOLN – The catharsis for Tom McCormick arrived long before Tuesday morning.
It was just another round of golf on his course at Kirkbrae Country Club. The time to pay homage to the memory of his late father, Mike, is over.
McCormick is a different person from the fresh-faced kid – his description, it must be said – who won the 2005 version of RI Amateur here. What remains is a 41-year-old man who went through a long period of mourning a long time ago.
That’s not to say her old man wouldn’t have been proud of the under-68s her son sacked to take over as clubhouse head with Kevin Silva de Montaup in the 116th iteration of this event. McCormick’s game looks in great shape, as he counted just one bogey against five birdies. He just teamed up with his close friend Larry Lafauci Jr. to win the RI Golf Association Four-Ball in June.
“I felt really comfortable with the ball,” said McCormick. “He was really going where I wanted him to go, which doesn’t happen all the time. The putter woke up late.
What happened on that 6,647-yard track the last time he hosted the State Amateur was magical. McCormick was an outstanding junior golfer and played during his high school career at Pilgrim, but drifted into club hockey as an undergraduate student at the University of Rhode Island. His return to the tee box coincided with a storybook headed for the state’s first golf landscape title.
Mike McCormick didn’t live to see it. The six-time state champion of Public Links died of lung cancer a few months earlier, and his son’s gallery was shrunk by one. McCormick’s mother, Laura, and younger sister, Casey, were among those who have followed him closely throughout what has become a special week.
“I want to play well just because I love this tournament,” said McCormick. “Obviously it’s also my home run, but I love this tournament. I really do. ”
McCormick didn’t fully realize it at the time, but he was about to start the next chapter of his life. Kirkbrae offered him a one-year honorary membership which is now approaching two decades. He professionally moved from building software to running his own digital services business.
Casey was in elementary school at the time – she is now a physical therapist pursuing a master’s degree in public health. All his older brother has to do is make a quick phone call to remember how much time has passed. Needless to say, he’s a far cry from the kid who spent most of his time at the booth in public places like Seaview and Triggs.
McCormick has his own softer mark of mischief about him than Mike, but that doesn’t mean he’s less competitive. He prepared for this week by racking up a few more practice sessions and was hoping to start quickly after Monday’s rain forced a postponement. McCormick took a lesson earlier this year at Point Judith with head pro Dave Marcotte, and he feels more confident that he can find his game when needed.
“Come in with a plan – what am I working on today,” McCormick said. “What is swing thinking. How does he react? And then the next time you play golf, put it to work. ”
McCormick made his move to the back Tuesday, collecting three birdies in four holes between the 11th par-4 and 14th par-5. He ignored a few missed opportunities early on the greens and his only mistake in the difficult eighth of 454 yards. Annual contenders like Tyler Cooke, Silva and Brad Valois gradually moved up the rankings as the day wore on.
“All the emotion and all the thoughts about 2005, which has been happening over the past two weeks,” McCormick said. “From now on, we are in 2021 and I am trying to move forward.”
On Twitter: @ BillKoch25