Already ahead of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, we’ve learned that the field for the PGA Tour event isn’t particularly strong and that players have had a tough time even getting there.
Brian Morris fits both of those narratives. He’s far from a household name, and his journey to the first tee almost defies belief.
As detailed in a compelling feature by PGATour.com’s Helen Ross, Morris is the 53-year-old head pro at Ocean View Golf Course in Devonshire, Bermuda, who will be playing his first PGA Tour this week on a sponsor’s exemption. He’s also battling Stage 4 cancer, with a prognosis far more daunting than any golf shot.
“I used to be terrible with nerves,” Morris tells Ross. “But since I got diagnosed with cancer, it’s like hitting a tee shot doesn’t really… like I embrace it now because I’m able to do it. I probably shouldn’t be according to the doctors and how my cancer was growing and stuff.
“I’ve been past my expiration date, you know?”
Although Morris has had modest playing success as a club pro – he tied for 12th last month in a New England PGA event – his appearance this week is more a reflection of his persistence. Two years ago, he had surgery to remove a malignant brain tumour and has since learned the cancer has spread to his esophagus, stomach and neck. Due to various treatments, he says he has a hard time standing for more than a half hour, which is why he’ll be permitted to take a cart at Port Royal.
Although he tells Ross his goal is to shoot the lowest score possible when he tees off on Thursday at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, he says the mere chance to play at the game’s highest level has been an immeasurable gift.
“I’m going to enjoy people cheering for me,” he tells Ross. “I’m going to enjoy people writing about me. And I just hope that [this] story and whatnot gets out there to people that have cancer or have a sickness that think that it’s all doom and gloom, because it’s not.”
[Image courtesy of PGATour.com]