PGA Tour Rookie Morgan Hoffmann, Charles Howell III Make Debuts Today at Sony Open
Jan. 10, 2013
For Morgan Hoffmann, the day has finally come.
Hoffmann, 23, will make his PGA Tour debut today at the Sony Open in Honolulu, HI at the tour’s first full field event of the season.
Hoffmann went from having no status on the Web.com Tour to earning his PGA Tour card by way of finishing in the Top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list in 2012.
Hoffmann is the first player to go from being a junior at the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, which was founded in 2008, on to college, through the professional ranks and on to the PGA Tour.
What makes Hoffmann’s feat all the more intriguing is that Hoffmann was able to earn his card despite playing in about half the events (13) as all the other Top 25 qualifiers.
To start 2012, Hoffmann had no clear idea how much he would play. To solidify his place on tour, he would have to earn his way the hard way, through Monday qualifiers, sponsor exemptions and his success week-to-week. He went that route through much of the year until the last two months of the season when he finally earned playing privileges for the remainder of the season.
From that point on, Hoffmann was one of the tour’s hottest players as he reeled off top 10 finishes in five of the last six events and finishing with a T3 at the Web.com Tour Championship to jump from No. 31 on the money list to No. 19 where he finished.
This week, Hoffmann will be one of 23 rookies making his debut, but though he is officially a member of the PGA Tour now, he’s played in two U.S. Opens with a T29 last season.
Waialae Country Club, a 7,044-yard par 70, will be a tough test to get the year going. It boasts some of the toughest fairways to hit on tour as players found the fairway only 47 percent of the time, the second hardest on tour in 2012.
Hoffmann isn’t the only one of Gilchrist’s students making his debut this week though either.
Charles Howell III, who teamed up with Gilchrist and the GGGA team in the offseason, will also make his first start of 2013 at the Sony Open.
Howell tied for second at the Sony Open last year and has six top-five finishes at Waialae. Howell has played in 364 PGA Tour events, has won twice and has earned $23 million but is perceived as a player who has not yet reached his true potential.
When Howell and Gilchrist teamed up, Gilchrist said he believed Howell’s best golf was in front of him and that he would love to see him play to that full potential.
Gilchrist, who was recently named to Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers list, has worked closely with Hoffmann and Howell during the off-season and sees great things from both.
“I feel great about Morgan and Charles kicking off their seasons nicely in Hawaii this week,” said Gilchrist. “We’ve put in a lot of preparation and hard work in the off-season to get each of them firing on all cylinders this year. I’m looking forward to what this season has in store for the both of them.”
Based at the Mission Inn Resort & Club, 40 minutes outside of Orlando, Florida, the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy is the leading full-time junior golf academy in the world. The Academy is committed to excellence in every facet of golf, fitness, personal development and academics, evident through exclusive relationships with Montverde Academy, an acclaimed private college preparatory school, and the American Junior Golf Association.
As part of GGGA’s partnership with the AJGA, the academy is the official title sponsor of the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series, an AJGA tournament series reserved for the world's top 12-15 year-old golfers.
The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy features a boarding program for junior golfers and the following programs: Full-Time Junior Program, Post-Graduate Program, summer golf camps and winter golf camps and golf lessons for adults, amateurs and professionals.
For more information about GGGA, the GGGA's full-time residential boarding program and other year-round opportunities to Train, Think and Play like a Champion, visit www.ggga.com or call 1-866-639-9099.