SILVIS, Ill. – A lot has happened as Morgan Hoffmann spent more than two years in the jungles of Costa Rica, searching for his own holistic cure for the rare form of muscular dystrophy that once threatened to end a career. promising in professional golf.
News of significant changes to the Rules of Golf did not reach him.
Now back in the game, feeling great and eager to use his platform to share news of a new path to health, Hoffmann is familiar with more major changes announced by the United States Golf Association in 2019.
Put with the flag in the hole? Pretty sensible.
Legally anchor a club in danger? “Interesting,” he said with some skepticism.
Take a drop at knee height? “Weird,” Hoffmann said.
Until Thursday morning, however, Hoffmann was unaware that accidentally deflecting his own ball during a shot no longer constitutes a one-stroke penalty under Rule 11.1. So when his hack on a ball plugged into a greenside bunker on the par-3 16th of TPC Deere Run hit the lip, flew up, then back and bounced off the brim of his cap in the sand, Hoffman assumed he was hitting 4 on his next shot.
After nearly succeeding on his next attempt, he was understandably happy to find he tapped to save bogey.
“It makes sense that it’s not a penalty; I was glad it wasn’t,” he said after being told by his playing partners Cameron Champ and Cam Davis. “It was an absurd lie and I was happy to get away with bogey.”
Hoffman is playing in the John Deere Classic after receiving a sponsor exemption two days earlier when three-time Deere winner Steve Stricker pulled out. Replacing one of Deere’s perennial favorites meant Hoffmann also earned a spot in one of the featured bands on ESPN+, so every one of his shots was streamed on PGA TOUR LIVE. Hoffmann posted an opening round at 1 on Thursday and will need to rally Friday afternoon to make the cut. But he has already done it here.
In 2013, Hoffmann played his first 19 holes of the tournament in 4 overs. “I played the next 17 holes in something crazy to make the cut,” he recalled.
Hoffmann finished tied for 17th that year and tied for third three years later. “Good rally memories on this course,” he said.
With a medical extension having expired during last week’s Travelers Championship and no additional PGA TOUR departures currently scheduled, Hoffmann will need some serious rallying to find his way back to full TOUR status very soon. At worst it is exempted in the second stage of Q-School for making 100 combined cuts on the PGA TOUR and Korn Ferry Tour.
Yet, having seemingly overcome his health challenge in unorthodox fashion in the Costa Rican wilderness, Hoffmann is content to take each day as it comes.
“My outlook on life has changed so much,” he said. “It’s just wonderful to be back here.”