Bio: John Maginnes
John Maginnes is a former PGA Tour player who spent more than a decade and a half playing professional golf. While recovering from elbow surgery in 2004 John was offered an opportunity as an on course commentator by USA Network who covered Thursday and Friday rounds on the PGA Tour. With the microphone in hand John found his second passion. He stayed with USA Network until the Golf Channel contract took over early round coverage in 2007. He joined the XM Team in 2005 and started Maginnes on Tap in March of 2011.
John grew up in a golf family in Durham, North Carolina. He is the youngest of four and was given the opportunity to play golf at an early age. By the time he was in sixth grade he had decided that he was going to become a PGA Tour player and would spend seemingly endless hours working on his game year round. He was hardly a standout in the early years but was convinced that hard work and determination would prevail.
John enrolled at East Carolina University in 1986 where he walked onto the golf team his freshman year. John quickly qualified for the travelling squad that fall and led the team for four of the next five years. John won a handful of tournaments during his years as a Pirate and qualified for three consecutive US Amateur Championships. There was very little about John’s amateur or collegiate career that suggested that he had a future in the game at the professional level. But as he says,
I majored in English and Philosophy, what the hell else was I going to do?
After losing the North Carolina Amateur by a shot in June of 1991 John entered a mini-tour tournament the following week. He won in a playoff pocketing nearly $1,800 for the effort. It was the first of many checks John made that summer. For whatever reason playing for money suited John better than playing for trophies. He entered Q-School that fall and made it to the Finals. John and Brett Quigley were the only two players who had played collegiate golf that spring who made it to the finals that fall.
John received a Hogan Tour card (now Nationwide Tour) for his efforts and played a few events in 1992. Finances were a major issue in spite of good play on the mini-tours.
I kept going broke and going home. Sponsors were non-existent, at least for me. It was a kill what you eat atmosphere and if I went a few weeks without playing well I had to go home.
Finally help arrived in 1993 when a benefactor gave John the seed money to play the Canadian Tour for the summer. Free from financial worry John had a solid summer and was back through Q-School the next year. He regained his status on the Hogan Tour and continued his progression. John spent 1994 and 1995 on the Hogan Tour where he won for the first time in San Jose and gained the confidence to take the next step. A success trip through Q-School (his first of many) and John Maginnes was a rookie on the PGA Tour in 1996.
As a rookie in 1996 John struggled early to find his way on the PGA Tour. After hitting his stride in mid-summer John was paired with a young Tiger Woods in Tiger’s third professional event, the BC Open. He played well with Tiger that week and the next week contended at the Buick Challenge. John was part of a five man playoff on Sunday that included, Davis Love, Fred Funk, Len Mattice, and eventual winner Mike Bradely. With the tie for second John would be exempt on the PGA Tour for 1997 thus starting the rollercoaster that would become John’s career. Over the next decade there would be a half dozen trips to Q-School. A couple more wins on what is now the Nationwide Tour and enough good tournaments on the PGA Tour to catch the eye of some members of the broadcasting community.
In 2004 John sustained an elbow injury in Memphis while playing in the St. Jude Classic. Surgery ended his season that year. When John returned to the Tour in 2005 the game that he loved so much eluded him for its final time.
Throughout my career I knew that if I could get just a little bit better or a little bit worse that my life would have a better chance of making sense … it went the wrong way.
Prior to the injury John was playing some of the best golf of his career. He had played in three consecutive US Open Championships and felt like he was coming into his own as a golfer. But, as he says, the golf gods had a different plan for his career.
While injured in 2004 USA Network gave John a two week stint as an on course commentator covering early round PGA Tour events. John had limited experience having worked occasionally for the Golf Channel on weekends on the Nationwide Tour. The second week of the two week stint John was interviewing Tiger Woods. While the producer was telling John to ask Tiger what he had to do on the weekend to win the golf tournament John asked:
Tiger, we all know you are getting married soon … how is that going to affect your fishing?
Tiger laughed and gave a candid response. John was hired for the rest of the season.
In 2005 XM radio started covering PGA Tour events on radio. While playing out his medical exemption John contributed to XM and became a contributor to pgatour.com. In 2006 John dedicated all of his energies to his media career. A contributor to periodicals both here and abroad and a member of the broadcast media John became busy very quickly. In 06 he split his time between XM and USA Network. In 2007 John worked full time for XM radio where he remains today. In 2009 John became a contributor for the Golf Channel as an on air personality covering live events covering everything from amateur events to the PGA Tour. Thursday through Sunday John can be heard on Sirius 208 and XM 93 on Maginnes on Tap.