Fans and media are guilty of using terms like “survival,” “fortitude” and “courage” when describing an athlete’s feats on the playing field. For A.J. McInerney, those words carried life-and-death connotation on Sunday night in Las Vegas.
McInerney, a 23-year-old with conditional status on the Web.com Tour, and his girlfriend were among the crowd that was fired upon by gunman Stephen Paddock. On Monday morning, the former college golfer at UNLV confirmed he was safe on Twitter.
Saw a few people down and bullets hitting the ground everywhere. I'm lucky to be alive. Praying for everyone. #VegasStrong
— AJ McInerney (@AJ_McInerney) October 2, 2017
According to McInerney’s girlfriend, A.J. was a hero, sacrificing his body to shield her from gunfire.
McInerney also spoke at length with Global Golf Post’s Ron Green Jr. about witnessing the massacre.
“I saw people to the left and right of me get shot,” McInerney told Green. “I could hear the bullets hit people. You could see the bullets hitting the ground right beside you. I don’t know what a war zone is like but it felt like we were sitting ducks. … It was a pretty gruesome scene.”
The entire description is heart-pounding and harrowing, and definitely worth your time.
McInerney finished 97th on this year’s Web.com Tour money list, meaning he will have to compete in Q-School to regain status. And though we often bemoan the “horrors” of that event, Sunday’s tragedy put things in perspective.
“I know people who weren’t as lucky as me, and it kills me,” McInerney said to Green. “Fortunately for me, there was no physical damage, just emotional damage. I was standing next to people who weren’t as lucky.
“I can’t tell you how lucky I feel that not anything happened to me. I can’t quite understand why nothing happened. A lot of people weren’t so lucky and we have to keep those people in our prayers.”