BERTHOUD, Colo. — Three weeks after withdrawing from the first Korn Ferry Tour event when golf started up, Fairmont native William McGirt makes his returns to the course at the TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes.
“I’m excited to get back to competition. It’s been a long 22 months of surgeries and rehab,” McGirt told The Robesonian. “I feel like I’m playing pretty well but not having hit a competitive shot in 22 months, I’m not sure what to expect. This week is more about knocking off some competitive rust and see how my body will react under the gun and how it will hold up.”
McGirt, who hasn’t played professional golf due to a torn labrum in his hip that was surgically fixed in 2018, has been granted a major medical extension through the PGA Tour that gives him 29 starts. This week’s event is on the Korn Ferry Tour, a developmental tour under the PGA Tour. Before earning his PGA Tour card in 2011, McGirt spent the 2010 season on the developmental tour.
“I’d like to play well enough to play four rounds but this week is as much about seeing how my body holds up,” McGirt said.
McGirt tees off the first hole on TPC Colorado at 7:34 a.m. on Wednesday. He is paired with Steve Marino and Charlie Saxon. The course plays longer than 7,990 yards, which normally would be a hard task for a medium-length hitter like McGirt.
“We are at 5,000 feet (above sea level) so the ball will travel a little farther but it’s still extremely long,” he said. “The fairways are fairly generous but you have to try to get your angles right for your approach into the greens. The fairway bunkers are extremely penal. They have high stacked sod faces similar to Open Championship courses so they are basically layups. Trying to get the proper angle requires you to hug some of these bunkers.”
Starts on the Korn Ferry Tour count as rehab starts for McGirt, who turned 41 years old on June 21. He is granted five rehab starts.
His last action on the course came in the 2018 season at The Northern Trust before his hip surgeries. McGirt posted two top-15 finishes on Tour in the final two months. His only win on the PGA Tour came at the 2016 Memorial.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.