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July 28, 2005

Deaf OSU grad makes PGA debut

From: OSU - The Lantern, OH - Jul 28, 2005

By Nicholas Daubenmire
Published: Thursday, July 28, 2005

In 2004, Ohio State golfer Kevin Hall won the Big Ten championship. Over the weekend in Milwaukee, Wis., he became the first deaf golfer to compete in a PGA Tour event.

A June graduate, Hall drove, chipped and putted his way through the first two rounds of the U.S. Bank Championship. After entering the tournament on a sponsor's exemption, Hall started strong with a 2-under-par 68, but missed the cut by four strokes after a second round score of 74.

Inclement weather forced Hall to play 36 holes on Friday. An even-par second round would have qualified him for the weekend, but a double-bogey 6 on his second-to-last hole doomed any chance.

Hall said that even with the jump from college to the PGA, he would not change how he prepared himself and would try to remain as calm as possible. He said his objective for the weekend was to simply play within himself and enjoy the game.

"My major goal this week was to gain experience by playing with the best players in the world. I had another goal which was to make the cut in my first PGA event and I came close," Hall said in an e-mail. "It was disappointing to finish the way I did, but it was a great experience regardless. I had a heck of a time."

With a gallery as large as any throughout the tournament and continuous television coverage, Hall managed to compete with some of the best in the world.

Hall bogeyed the first hole after an errant tee shot, but controlled his nerves to stick a 165-yard shot on hole No. 3, landing him five feet from the pin. He made the putt for his first birdie as a PGA pro.

"I would have to say that my biggest fear in the tournament would have been showing up with all those people eager to see me play and I play like I've never played golf in my life," Hall said in an e-mail. "I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to putt at all."

The media frenzy was heightened when recollections of an unforgettable experience in Hall's development as a golfer proved true. While attending a golf camp, Hall had his swing examined by Tiger Woods. Afterward, Woods said, "See you on the tour someday."

"I actually did not think about that until all the reporters brought it up. It means a lot that Tiger's words came true," Hall said in an e-mail. "I feel like my time has arrived, it will just take a little bit for me to gain the experience I need to be a regular on the PGA Tour."

Hall said that there was some pressure throughout the weekend but not as much as one would think.

"I remind myself from time to time that in the end, golf is simply a game. The only pressure I have is the pressure I inflict on myself," Hall said.

Hall said that throughout the summer he has been practicing daily in the mornings with his father, but said that spending time with friends and relaxing is still important. Nevertheless he enjoyed his first try at the PGA Tour.

"It was a wonderful experience," Hall said.

© 2001 The Lantern The Student Newspaper at Ohio State University