Cousin Kevin: USA’s secret weapon in Presidents Cup win

He doesn’t talk about himself much, likes to keep quiet in his retirement from high school coaching, prefers to get on the mower at his home course, Royster Memorial at City Park, in his hometown, Shelby, N.C., and quietly work his part-time job with no more fanfare than a bump on a tee box.

So you didn’t read about what Kevin Allen did this weekend at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, an hour’s drive from Shelby and a golf universe or two removed from Royster Memorial — 9 holes, 2911 yards (from the tips!), par 35.

But for two crucial matches in last weekend’s Presidents Cup, he was a standard bearer, the guy who walks inside the ropes with that Big Huge Sign that the gallery can see, the sign denoting the players and scores of the match they are watching.

Cousin Kevin. My man. America’s Man, a man you didn’t read about for two reasons.

One, the Americans pretty much spanked the Internationals, 17.5 to 12.5, which is equivalent to you (the American) firing a light-running 68 and me (the foreign guy) turning in a bulky, bloated 89.

Not a tremendous amount of drama.

The other reason is Cousin Kevin’s humility. “I just wanted to help the team,” he told me Tuesday, when his knees had quit aching long enough for him to walk to his car and find his phone.

He’s a regular volunteer down in Greer, S.C. at the annual Korn Ferry event, the BMW Charity Pro-Am, so this was nothing new. He loves it. He’d be a professional standard bearer if there were such a thing.

But it was the Presidents Cup, at updated and lush Quail Hollow, (and all I heard about all summer).

So …

Thursday, the event began. Cousin Kevin had America’s Tony Finau and Max Homa against Foreign People Taylor Pendrith and Mito Pereira. Kevin and Finau and Homa won, 1 up.

America led, 4-1, when the day ended.

“3-2 makes it a longer night,” Cousin Kevin said. “Felt like I helped us push through there late. Big point.”

I’ll say.

His next shift was the biggie: Sunday. The US had a comfortable but not insurmountable lead. So Cousin Kevin drank an extra Red Bull, grabbed his standard and headed out to seal the deal.

His singles group was Xander Schauffele (Us) against Corey Conners (Them). Schauffele closed out Conners with a putt on 18 that gave America all the points it needed; the rest was for show.

But here’s the story behind the story:

Earlier in the round — Schauffele was putting on 6, a challenging 249-yard par-3 — and Cousin Kevin and his standard are behind the green. He gets a tap on the arm.

It’s Davis Love III, the team captain.

Keep in mind that the volunteers like Cousin Kevin are told in no uncertain terms that they aren’t to speak to the competitors unless spoken too. Gentleman’s agreement.

But Davis Love III, captain of the whole team, for crying out loud, in the heat of the battle, the middle of competition, spoke to my cousin, who recreated for me their conversation, word for word.

Love: “Is Xander’s putt for birdie?”

Cousin Kevin: “Yessir, Captain.”

Swear to Arnold Palmer it’s true.

“Felt like that was another point right there,” Kevin said. “Look, he could have called Zach Johnson. He could have called Steve Stricker. He could have called — who’s the other co-captain?”

Me: “Webb Simpson?”

Kevin: “Webb Simpson! But he asked me. Felt I helped us get another point.”

Dang straight.

I almost forgot to ask: Did Schauffele make the putt?

“Not even close,” Kevin said. “Made his par.”

Not even close to Cousin Kevin’s double-eagle weekend. We thank him for his service.

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