Kevin Hall, who led Ohio State to a Big 10 Championship this last spring will make his first PGA start this weekend at the US Bank Championship thanks to a sponsors exemption.
Hall, who lost his hearing at age 2 1/2 due to an illness may be the first deaf golfer to tee it up in a PGA event. It’s not a handicap, though, he says, and in fact may actually help him since he doesn’t get distracted by things that bother other golfers.
I know what he means. I’ve had a severe hearing loss since birth, and from what I can tell, I live in a blissfully quiet world. For example, during a round a couple of weeks ago, the cell phone of one of the guys in my foursome went off when I was just beginning my downswing.
Or so they told me. I didn’t hear it. In fact, I’ve never heard a cell phone go off.
The guy didn’t believe me when I said that it was ok—that I didn’t notice and it didn’t affect my swing. And I had a hard time convincing them that I was, in fact deaf. When I am able to read lips, my comprehension level goes up to nearly 90 percent, so most people don’t notice. In fact, I like to think that the only time people catch on is from my somewhat strange “accent”—a by product of being taught to speak without actually being able to hear the sounds.
And actually, I’m not sure that I would want my hearing back if it were somehow miraculously offered. Who wants to be bothered all the time by cell phones, chirping crickets, humming light fixtures and so on (all of which, I’ve never heard, but am told are bothersome).
So I’m pulling for Kevin Hall this weekend.