Million to ONE

“I’m a father, that’s what matters most. Nothing matters more.”

—Gordon Brown

Todays story is about Hunter Mahan.

Imagine for a moment…
You’re a professional golfer, leading one of the biggest tournaments in the world. Two days down, two to go. You have a 36 hole lead, first place, worth over a million bucks.

Saturday, Day 3. Practice Tee. Warming up.

Hunter Mahan

Hunter Mahan at work.

An unexpected call — your manager runs over, phone in hand. Kandi, your wife, has just gone into labor — three weeks early! What do you do?

If you’re Hunter Mahan, at the 2013 Canadian Open, you walk off the course and fly home. Hunter caught the first plane out of Ontario back to Dallas to be with Kandi for the birth of their first child, a million dollar baby.

Zoe Olivia Mahan was born at 3:26 a.m. Sunday morning.

“It wouldn’t matter what was happening,” Mahan later said.

Million to ONE. Pro golfer. Pro dad.

After a week of sleep deprivation and diaper duty, Mahan returned to the links. But now, with a wiser focus, “It just makes things matter a little bit more, and, at the same time, matter a little bit less,” the new dad remarked. “When I am done playing golf, I’d rather be noted for being a good husband and good father than anything else. Seeing your daughter every day, having a family — that is stuff that makes you happy to your core.”

Million to ONE. Pro golfer. Pro dad.

Hunter Mahan, father

Hunter Mahan

Mahan knows success is fleeting in the world of pro sports. Up one day, down the next. Just like on the course. But fatherhood and fleeting don’t belong in the same sentence. Hunter learned fast.

And it’s refreshing to hear that a few others know the rule, as well. Bill Paul, the tournament’s director, when asked about Hunter’s withdrawal, said, “It’s the only decision to make.”

Even Tiger chimed in, “He made the perfect choice. Actually, there wasn’t any. The birth of your first child, or any child, for that matter, that takes precedent over anything you do. That’s the most beautiful day that you can possibly have in your life, to be there to witness the birth of your child.”

Hunter admits, “This has been crazy,” but continues, “I haven’t met anyone who has said I made the wrong decision.”
Brandt Snedeker

Brandt Snedeker

So who won the tournament? Brandt Snedeker.

“Zoe will be getting a very nice baby gift from me,” Brandt said. “I can’t thank Kandi enough for going into labor early. I don’t know if I’d be sitting here if she hadn’t. But that is a way more important thing than a golf tournament. I missed a golf tournament when my first was born, and it was the best decision I ever made. I’m sure Hunter would say the same thing.”

Million to ONE. What would you do?

Walk off the course. Be a dad. Leave the million. Be with the ONE.

The Moment —YouTube video ABC News:

Hunter Mahan earned his PGA tour card in 2004. He had just graduated from Oklahoma State University, where he was a two time PAC 12 Conference Player of the Year and a two time All American. In 2007, he rose into the Top 50 Official World Golf Rankings.

Brandt Snedeker wins Canadian Open
Hunter Mahan: A Perfect Decision in a Summer Rife With Toxic Letdowns, Jason Gay – 8/3/13

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