“Outside of my family, playing on that team was the greatest thrill of my life,” McGee told the Morning Journal in 2020. “To be one of 12 golfers picked to represent your country, I still get chills thinking about it.”
The slender 5-foot-9, 160-pound McGee was known on TOUR for his short game. He played in 26 majors and posted a trio of top-10s, including a tie for fifth in his 1972 Masters debut.
“It’s ironic the Masters is next week,” Mike McGee wrote on Facebook. “That was by far his favorite week of the year and during his radiation treatments for cancer years ago, he played Augusta National in his mind.”
McGee was plagued by nagging injuries during his career and eventually sidelined by hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, in 1981. He took a job as director of golf at Oak Tree Country Club in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, where he go on to work for 12 years.
During the last year of his employment at Oak Tree, McGee had a sign on his desk that said: 1993. It was a reminder that he would be eligible for what is now known as PGA TOUR Champions that year.
“Everybody asked, ‘What’s that,’” McGee recalled in a 2005 interview with the Tampa Tribune. “I just kept it between me and well, me. That was the year I turned 50, when I could join this tour. I gave it a shot. I’ve done well.”
McGee made 318 starts on the Champions Tour and posted five top-three finishes. He earned more than $3.2 million in a dozen seasons, including the 1999 campaign that was interrupted by surgery to remove cancerous tumors on the left side of his neck and the base of his tongue.
After the surgery, McGee had 6 ½ weeks of radiation. He returned to PGA TOUR Champions four months later and ended up playing in 130 more tournaments before retiring after the 2004 season.
“I was so lucky,” McGee told the Tribune Chronicle. “I’ve gone to places, met people, that I would never had the opportunity to without the game of golf.”
In addition to his wife Jill, Jerry is survived by his brother, Don Holden (Joel); his daughter, Roxane Love-McGee; his son, Michael McGee (Annika Sorenstam); and his daughter, Michelle McGee (Mark Riley); along with grandchildren, Dylan Love, Ava McGee, Will McGee, and Liam Riley.
There will be a Celebration of Life at a later date. Memorial contributions can be made to the Youngstown State women’s basketball team.