"Golf Bro" Will Mackenzie by John Bradley (from Outside)

He goes surfing between rounds. He's a class v kayaker. He once bummed heli-rides in ALASKA while living in a snow cave—for a month. And thanks to the strangest personal history on the PGA Tour (step aside John Daly), Will MacKenzie has even made it cool to watch golf.

WILL MACKENZIE IS LINING UP an eight-foot birdie putt halfway through the first round of the Zurich Classic, a low-key April tournament held in New Orleans the week after the Masters. Per PGA regulations, he has the form-fitting, deep-pink polo shirt from his Swedish clothing sponsor, J. Lindeberg, tucked neatly into his gray slacks, and a white golf hat from Bridgestone holding back his thick, sun-bleached brown hair. The 32-year-old buries the putt to quiet applause from the handful of spectators fanning themselves in the Louisiana heat, grabs his ball, and slowly walks off to the next tee. Standard uniform, standard procedure. In other words, if you were to find yourself watching Will "Willy Mac" MacKenzie play golf on a Sunday afternoon, you might think, This is the most unusual player on the PGA Tour? But dig just a little—scratch the surface, really—and the picture gets much scruffier.

Start by looking at MacKenzie's player profile on the official PGA Web site. His stats this past June won't tell you much—his standing on the money list (58th), his rank among players in scoring average (53rd), his tournament victories (one, the 2006 Reno Open)—but the first of the two photos in his "player gallery" will provide a clue. Rather than a shot of MacKenzie playing golf, you see him backstage with hip-hop stars the Black Eyed Peas (that's him in the blue blazer, one spot away from Fergie). Now scour the news reports about January's season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii. MacKenzie took fourth place and earned a $260,000 paycheck. But while his competitors logged extra time on the practice tee, MacKenzie spent his time between rounds surfing. At a break called Shitty's. "Hey, man, I was getting my work done," he'll tell you. "But I'm not going to Hawaii and not surfing."

Finally, search "Will MacKenzie" on Wikipedia. Here's what you'll find:

MacKenzie was born and raised in Greenville, North Carolina. He was a golfing prodigy growing up but burned out on golf at age 14 and completely quit the game after high school. He then spent five years snowboarding, kayaking, and climbing rocks while living out of a van in Montana. At one point, he spent 30 days in Alaska without showering, smoking blunts every day, living in a cave, and ending up with frostbite ... A glimpse on television of his boyhood idol, Payne Stewart, winning the 1999 U.S. Open rekindled his love affair with the game, and he decided to play professionally. He turned pro in 2000.

All of which is true. Well, most of it, anyway.

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