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Up, down about par for McCord

If one listened to Gary McCord as he spoke yesterday after a first-round 69 in the Constellation Energy Classic, he seemed the least likely to promote a product called Dose-a-Day Golf, a calendar-based collection of tips and observations directed at fans of the sport.

The truth, said the analyst on CBS' golf telecasts, is that he sometimes feels as if Dose-a-Decade is enough for him, even after a round in which he had seven birdies to place two shots behind leaders Des Smyth, Larry Nelson and Jay Sigel.

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" 'Why are you doing this?' " McCord said he asks himself after a 32-year career in the sport. "I've done it so long that I can't take a week off."

It was the bumpy ride on the way to an otherwise productive result that rankled McCord.

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When he thought he was settling into a groove over the first four holes yesterday, he then double-bogeyed the fifth. Similarly, his other two bogeys - at the eighth and 14th - came immediately after birdies.

The inconsistency shouldn't surprise anyone. Because of his television commitments, McCord's appearances on the Champions Tour are few and far between, despite two tour victories in 1999.

With breaks of two and three months this season, he's played in nine of the tour's 26 events.

The return from his first sabbatical in June coincided with two of the circuit's major events, the Senior PGA Championship and the U.S. Senior Open.

Accordingly, he finished 10-over par in the championship and 17-over in the Open. Two months later, he finished 7-over in the Tradition in August.

"You have to take a major to work on your game," McCord said, "so it's not been good for me."

Perhaps his plans for last night - dinner in Little Italy and a movie - were able to take his mind off his golf. And despite the occasional mistakes on Hayfields' course, he also felt his round might reverse any misfortune he experienced.

"I need to get to the point where you are coasting," he said. "You see the ball and you say I want to do that, and it does that."

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For a guy dispensing doses of golf, McCord hopes a strong day on the course might give him he what he needs - a dose of confidence.


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