WEST DES MOINES | Something about returning to the Midwest brings out the best in Mark Calcavecchia.
The Laurel, Neb., native had already posted top 10 finishes in each of his four previous trips to Iowa before winning the Champions Tour Principal Charity Classic at Wakonda Club here last weekend.
Dressed in bacon-themed pants and using a putter he bought at a local sporting goods store, Calcavecchia shot 69 in the final round Sunday for a one-shot victory over Joe Durant and Brian Henninger. It was the third win on the Champions Tour for the 54-year-old who won 13 times on the PGA Tour, including the 1989 British Open.
The fact that Calcavecchia is even playing golf was an afterthought six months ago. He slashed a tendon in his right hand and left a finger dangling after stumbling and falling through a pane glass door at his brother-in-law’s house in Tampa, Fla., on Thanksgiving.
His arms were full of groceries when he tripped on a two-inch step in front of the door.
“I took two big lunges, dropped the groceries and my head went directly into the glass,” he told the Palm Beach Post. “There were three vertical panes and I broke two of them when I hit them with the back of my right hand, arm and shoulder.
“My first thought was my head was gushing blood, but somehow it wasn’t cut, which was a miracle. But my right hand was bad. We headed straight for the hospital.”
The injury required 14 stitches close an inch-and-a-half cut on a major artery that had been severed and 21 stitches in all. He underwent surgery in early December and couldn’t swing a club for three months.
But there he was, not far from his roots, wearing the most outlandish pair of pants this side of John Daly.
Organizers of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, an annual celebration in Iowa’s capital city, pitched the pants to Calc back in February. He liked the idea and donned them, along with a belt buckle inscribed with “Bacon Mania VIII” in Friday’s opening round.
He wore “normal” pants during Saturday’s second round when to shot into first place.
“All of a sudden I grabbed the lead and I’m like, I’ve got to wear them. I’ll give them one more shot,” Calcavecchia said.
Guess it worked out pretty well.