Bob began taking lessons and playing golf at age 12 at the urging of his father who was not impressed by his baseball skills. For the next three years Bob competed a couple times a week with another young golfer named Jay Sigel.

Jay went on to become one of the greatest Amateur golfers of all time and one of the leading money winners on the Senior Tour once he turned 50. The scrap book Bob’s mother put together 50 years ago is much smaller than Jay's and includes the following articles:

  • Age 16: Pennsylvania State Junior Amateur held in the Pittsburgh Area. Lost in the finals on the 18th hole.
  • Age 16: Philadelphia Area Junior Boys Championship (one week later). Beat Jay Sigel in the finals on the 18th hole.
  • Age 17: Philadelphia Area Junior Boys Championship. Beat Jay Sigel in the finals.

Co-Captain Villanova University Golf team in 1964

Member of the first Basketball Championship Team at Malvern in 1960

(See articles below)

GAP Chat: A conversation with ... Bob McMahon

A glance at the Junior Boys’ Championship history at the turn of the 1950s causes a double-take.

R. Jay Sigel, a Golf Association of Philadelphia Hall of Famer and one of the most prolific amateur golfers of all-time, lost in the Final in consecutive years (1959-60).

The culprit? Robert McMahon, a good friend and fellow pupil of famed pro Sam Penecale. The Bala Cynwd, Pa. native bested Sigel by margins of 1-up and 6&5, respectively, at St. Davids Golf Club.

“Jay went on to have a remarkable career, both as an amateur and a professional. I’m proud of him,” McMahon, 72, of Media, Pa., said. “We came from those days when he was 12 years old at Bala Golf Club and rose through the Junior ranks quickly. I just had my better days when I played against him.”

McMahon and Sigel did indeed meet at Bala — a pair of bright-eyed youngsters taking Saturday morning lessons with pro Bob Marshall. The two spent summers competing and motivating one another on the golf course. A rising talent, McMahon made his GAP splash by dethroning defending Junior Boys’ Champion Robert Lindinger in 20 holes to gain the 1957 semifinals. He then fell to eventual runner-up Tim DeBaufre, 5&4.

In 1958, McMahon and Sigel continued to cultivate their abilities under Penecale’s watch at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. Both competed in the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Junior Championship at Alcoma Golf Club, where McMahon survived a four-hole playoff to grab the last match play spot. He advanced to the Final and bowed to George Mackanos of the host club, 2-up.

A week later, McMahon returned to the GAP Junior Boys’ Championship, where he upended Sigel on the 18th hole. Déjà vu in 1960; McMahon played “the best round of his life” to retain his Junior Boys’ title. A potent putter — McMahon converted four lengthy birdies during the Final — meant defeat once again for Sigel.

By virtue of his victories, McMahon represented GAP during the Mason-Dixon Matches in 1959-60. The Malvern Prep graduate attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open in 1961 at Merion Golf Club, but missed the cut with rounds of 74 and 80. McMahon reached the Sectional stage a decade later. A late night and an early tee time at Montclair Golf Club spelled disaster.

“I shot a 72 in the practice round with a couple of pros, then went out and partied with them a little bit,” McMahon said. “The next morning, I shot a 170, probably the highest score in the field. I couldn’t play and learned a great lesson.”

McMahon dabbled in GAP Majors as well. He gained match play in the Amateur Championship on a handful of occasions. McMahon’s best performance came in 1971, when he outlasted W.B. McCullough, III in 25 holes at Philadelphia Cricket Club to become a quarterfinalist. He then lost to eventual champion Don Morano.

Prior to that achievement, McMahon served in the U.S. Army as a platoon leader during the Vietnam War. He returned stateside in 1969 and entered the brokerage business. McMahon joined Medford Village Country Club for a brief stint and qualified for the New Jersey State Golf Association’s Amateur Championship in 1973.

Career and family prompted McMahon to gradually step away from competitive golf. He became a member at The Springhaven Club in 1981, occasionally participating in the GAP Team Matches and club events. A lingering back injury, though, worsened as the years passed; McMahon played his last full round of golf in 1996.

Although his time spent on a golf course decreased, McMahon’s penchant for public service never waned. He was elected to Media Borough Council in 1981 and then mayor in 1992, a title he holds today. McMahon also co-founded the Veteran National Education Program, which teaches U.S. history through the eyes of those who serve its armed forces. Add published author to the list of descriptors; McMahon penned “Who Are the Best…? The Sports Survey Book” in 1983.

Golf is a sport that opened doors for McMahon — and one he may reconnect with thanks to an improving bill of health.

“My goal is to practice with my grandson and play nine holes with him as a start,” McMahon said. “I want to be able to last nine holes without having a back issue or worrying about it the next day. That’s my goal for right now, so I’m giving it a shot, so to speak.”


Sports Writing:

Conducted surveys of players from Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League on the best and worst fans in each city. Published in several editions of Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, Detroit Free Press, Philadelphia Inquirer (32 publications nationally). Below is a video from the Diane Sawyer Show in 1983 on Bob’s book “Who Are The Best,” The Sports Survey Book that includes remarks from Howard Cosell during the 1983 World Series.

Video clip from Diane Sawyer Show



  • Coached Rob and Mark in Baseball
  • Coached Vicki in Softball, Recreation and Travel Leagues
  • Co-Founded with Keith and Wendy Ford and Pete Thomas The Media Area Girls Softball in 1994
  • Co-founded Girls 12 and 14 and Under Softball and Basketball Teams in Chester and Morton, 1995–96 Played in Del-Val League
  • Co-founded Springton Lake Middle School Fast Pitch team in 1996


View article - McMahon Tees Off in Final View article - Mackanos Edges Philly Foe at Alcoma View article - Mackanos Glad he Practiced a Bit View article - McMahon Snares Title View article - Sigel Beaten by McMahon in Junior Golf
View article - McMahon Survives Amateur Golf Marathon View article - College Duo Win Title View article - Tigers are Fated to be Great View article - Rating the Fans