HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP)Morgan Hoffmann left the RBC Heritage feeling like a winner, even if he didn’t make the cut.
Hoffmann played his first PGA Tour event after being sidelined in 2019 by muscular dystrophy. He had not teed off on tour since the Shriners Hospital for Children Open in October that year.
And while the 32-year-old Hoffmann will miss the final two rounds at Harbour Town Golf Links after shooting 1-over par after 36 holes on Friday, he was pleased to be back on the course.
”I definitely wanted to prove to myself that I could do it again,” Hoffmann said following his second-round 72. ”I know that I can and just need to sharpen up.”
Hoffmann is playing on a major medical exemption. He’s got three more tournaments left to try to secure playing privileges. If not, he’s ready to put in the work to keep his career going forward.
Hoffmann was out early Friday on the course, fans calling his name and shouting encouragement as he walked past.
”Way to go, Morgan,” a fan yelled from a condo terrace along the 18th hole.
Hoffmann acknowledged he wasn’t sure what to expect at the RBC Heritage. The course, he said, was as pure as he remembered and the fellowship among competitors was warm and friendly.
”How awesome the camaraderie and welcoming back was,” he said, with a smile. ”It was really special.”
Hoffmann played his college golf at Oklahoma State and won the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s top freshman in 2009. He turned pro two years later and won $1 million or more in earnings in three of four seasons between 2014-17.
In late 2017, Hoffmann announced his diagnosis. Two years and just 24 events later, Hoffmann had to step away from competition.
A Golf Digest article detailed his treatments, which included eating a raw diet with no processed or packaged foods. At one point, Hoffmann ate only grapes, about 800 a day.
”I think there’s many paths to health and it’s really exciting to give that advice to someone and not just say, `Oh, there’s just this one way,’ because I found there’s so many,” Hoffmann said this week.
He said his diet regimen made an impact on his health, feeling strong enough to return to golf.
Hoffmann had a chance to make the cut on his final hole, the par-4 ninth. Knowing he needed a birdie, Hoffmann flew the green on his approach. He couldn’t get up and down, finishing at 1-over 143.
Hoffmann is aiming to play the Wells Fargo Championship next month at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farms because he’s comfortable with the course. After that, he’ll see.
Hoffmann believes he’s getting better, both on and off the course.
”Yeah, I’m excited about the progress,” he said.
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