Cheering For Kevin Hall At The Genesis Open

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall, deaf golfer and 2017 Charlie Sifford exemption to the Genesis Open.

As a guy who has been “profoundly deaf” since birth, I am cheering for Kevin Hall at the Genesis Open.

Hall, 34, is the Charlie Sifford exemption into the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The exemption is given annually to a minority golfer in hopes of increasing the games’ diversity.

Hall won the Big 10 Championship for Ohio State in 2004 by 11 strokes. He turned professional in 2005 after earning a degree in journalism (In another moment of serendipity, I also have a journalism degree.)

Since turning pro, Hall has toiled on the mini tours, and has come close in Web.Com qualifying but never broken through.

This is his chance. I would be very pleased to see him make the cut.

I can relate to stories Hall and his family recounted on ESPN.Com

She (Hall’s Mother) calls her son’s sense of humor “second to none” — and if his laughter that penetrated the interview room throughout his answers didn’t prove it, then some of his stories should.

Like the time he was playing a tournament in New York. He was about to tee off the 10th hole when, right in his backswing, he noticed some movement in the gallery behind him. Unbeknownst to him, it was a spectator whose cell phone rang and was indiscreetly trying to turn it off.

“People were like, ‘Why did Kevin stop?'” he recalled. “But I saw him move.”

Or the time he was playing in a pro-am and the first tee marshal was ferociously waving a sign that read, “QUIET.”

“I said, ‘Hey, I’m deaf. It doesn’t matter,'” he remembered. “He just slowly pulled it down. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to embarrass him.”

With that, Hall laughs again, an infectious laugh that fills the room.

Over the years, I have experienced a number of occasions when a partner apologized for the ringing of a cell phone that I did not hear. On some level, I think being deaf is an advantage. The little noises that seem to bother hearing people have no effect on me. With few such distractions, I think I am able to concentrate do a degree others cannot.

It was not until relatively recently that I learned that squirrels make noises. Or that fluorescent lights make noises. One thing I think I might be missing is birds. I no idea what most birds sound like. Except crows, seagulls and owls. I therefore like all three.

Kevin communicates via sign, a skill I never learned. I get by through lipreading.

Kevin Hall has a GoFundMe page. It would not be a bad thing to donate.

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