What a couple of weeks it’s been for Hunter Mahan.
Last week, he was playing in the final grouping on Sunday at Muirfield, with just 18 holes possibly separating him from his first major championship. Then, despite a relatively disappointing round, he still finished tied for ninth, his second consecutive top-ten finish at a major.
This week, he got back into action on the PGA Tour for the first time in nearly a month. At the RBC Canadian Open, Mahan held the 36-hole lead at 13-under, playing absolutely lights-out golf, and was preparing to tee off when weather forced a delay of nearly an hour and a half.
What happened in that time, though, is just a little thing that will change the Mahan family’s life forever.
While Mahan was warming up on the practice range, his agent Chris Armstrong got a call that Hunter’s wife, Kandi, was in labor at a Dallas hospital. Armstrong passed along the news to Mahan, who immediately withdrew from the tournament and headed to the airport to be with his wife at home.
Mahan is playing some of the best golf he’s played all year, but this one should be a no-brainer. This was just the third time of Mahan’s career where he’s held the 36-hole lead, and the first prize of over $1 million is huge no matter who you are, but no amount of money or any trophy could replace being there for your first child’s birth. With five victories on Tour and over $24 million in career earnings, plus endorsements, the tournaments will still be there when he’s ready to come back.
Plus, there may be just a bit of fate involved here. Mahan knew this could happen at any time, but Kandi’s due date wasn’t set until later in August. It’s obviously far too soon to know if he’ll even be there, but now he doesn’t have to worry about potentially withdrawing from the PGA Championship at Oak Hill.
It’s not really surprising coming from Mahan, but it’s always nice to see a professional athlete who clearly has his priorities in line. The Mahans welcomed their new daughter, Zoe, into the world tonight, and hopefully the happy family will have some time to rest and enjoy each other’s company in the coming days and weeks.
Family is forever. Golf, even for this kind of money, can wait.