A lot of news emerged from Riviera this week. Aside from Mac O’Grady (the most eccentric Tour player) and Tiger Woods (couldn’t even make the press conference), even little known golfers are making a splash.
No story at the Genesis Open speaks louder than Kevin Hall’s.
Since the age of 2, Hall has been hearing impaired. That never stopped him from golfing, and now thanks to a personal invitation from the Tiger Woods Foundation, his dream to play on the PGA Tour has come to fruition.
“I almost choked up. I needed to drink some water. I was so surprised but I was really shocked, you know? … It’s really an honor to have this great experience. It’s been a humbling experience and I’m ready to go.”
During Hall’s press conference, he shared a story about meeting Tiger Woods at a clinic in 1999. That moment gave him the inspiration he needed to pursue his goals and has since played on the Advocates Pro Golf Tour, SwingThought Pro Golf Tour, and of course Q-School.
Before his Tour life he played for Ohio State, where Hall became the school’s first African American to play golf on scholarship and was named a team captain during his junior and senior seasons. He lead the Buckeyes to a Big Ten team title (by 11 points) and captured the conference’s individual championship. Looks like he jotted down some notes when he met the Big Cat.
Hall was invited to play the Genesis Open due to the Charlie Sifford exemption, which brings diversity to tournaments by adding a minority player to the field. Kevin Hall could not be any happier and the grin he wore for the press was so wide it looked like it might fall off. Hall’s story is a family affair; his dad coaches him and his mom is his spokesperson.
Speaking through a sign language interpreter, Hall told reporters:
“It’s been a long time since I’ve played on the PGA [Tour] and I’m really excited to be here this week. I’m a little nervous, but I’m ready to go. I can’t wait.”
Hall’s words really say it all. An inspirational story for a great golfer, living his dream through the works of another great golfer. Without Tiger Woods, so much of what golf is today would not be a reality. It’s moments like these where you have to take a step back and appreciate the person behind the pro.